History

The Arts Writers Grant Program was launched in 2006 as part of an arts writing initiative designed to support independent, progressive arts publications and individual arts writers.

In 2005, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts invited practicing writers and editors from a wide range of publications to discuss how best to meet the challenges facing arts writers today.

Recognizing that traditional mechanisms of support and advocacy for arts writing were becoming scarce and that criticism is an indispensable contribution to a vital artistic culture, the group determined that the program could make the greatest impact on individual writers with direct support, because such grants allow writers to buy time to focus on their writing, explore new topics, and conduct research.

The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writing Initiative

The Arts Writing Initiative originally had two components: grants to writers, and grants to non-profit arts publications. As part of the Warhol Initiative, the foundation offered capacity-building assistance to help invited publications achieve greater financial stability, increase their audience, and explore new forms of publishing, partnerships, and distribution strategies. Publications included in this program were:

  • Art Lies, Houston, TX
  • Art Papers, Atlanta, GA
  • BOMB Magazine, Brooklyn, NY
  • The Brooklyn Rail, Brooklyn, NY
  • Cabinet, Brooklyn, NY
  • East of Borneo, Los Angeles, CA
  • Esopus, New York, NY
  • Fillip, Vancouver, Canada
  • Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Ithaca, NY
  • Triple Canopy, Brooklyn, NY
  • X-Tra, Los Angeles, CA

Art Writing Workshop / AICA Mentorship: 2009–Present

The Art Writing Workshop—a partnership with the International Art Critics Association/USA Section (AICA/USA)—gives practicing writers the opportunity to strengthen their work through one-on-one consultations with leading art critics. Ten emerging writers are chosen each year and mentored by  leading art critics for one-on-one consultations.

Grantee Convening

From August 4–7, 2011, the Arts Writers Grant Program held a convening for its grantees at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to discuss critical issues in contemporary art and arts writing. Keynote speakers included artists, writers, curators, and scholars: Fia Backström, Marcus Boon, Melissa Lam, Aaron Levy, the Order of the Third Bird, A.L. Steiner, David Levi Strauss, Lynne Tillman, and Anne Wagner. Grantees reflected on their writing practices in small groups and gathered together for conversation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Slought Foundation.

Arts Writers grantees were joined by editors from journals supported by the Warhol Foundation’s Arts Writing Initiative, providing an opportunity for informal writer-editor conversations. Grantees from around the United States and the world were able to meet each other, often for the first time, and compare their experiences writing on diverse subjects, in a variety of forms and venues. Over 100 grantees—traveling from cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, as well as Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, Istanbul, and Vancouver—were present for the weekend’s events.  

 

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