The Founder of Craigslist Is Funding a Program That Pays Artists to Pursue Journalism

Marisa Mazria Katz, formerly of Creative Time Reports, will lead the new initiative.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Founder of craigslist and craigconnects Craig Newmark attends Russell Simmons' Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation's Annual Rush HeARTS Education Luncheon at The Plaza Hotel on March 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation)

Artist-journalists in need of funding should look no further than Brooklyn’s Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, which today announced a new grant program that will support artists working on journalistic projects dealing with society and technology. Called the Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism, the newest initiative from the nonprofit is funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the foundation of the Craigslist founder.

“Artists can help us see around corners,” the center’s director, Roderick Schrock, told the New York Times. “They can help us interrogate the world we live in. I think artists really have an ability to help the culture at large gain a better understanding of the relationship of society and issues we face.”

Eyebeam, founded in 1998 to support artists exploring technology as it relates to society, will provide commissions of $500 to $5,000, emphasizing work that attempts to tell stories in innovative ways. Among the topics of interest, according to the announcement, are data privacy, the 2018 and 2020 elections, the role of technology in society, political influence campaigns, interrogating harmful technologies, countering disinformation, and artificial intelligence.

Applications open today, and grants will be awarded on a rolling basis, in order to help the center to respond to the non-stop 24-hour news cycle. Eyebeam also hopes to support long-term projects, helping struggling media outlets foot the bill for costly travel and research expenses.

Marisa Mazria Katz. Photo courtesy of Creative Time.

Marisa Mazria Katz. Photo courtesy of Creative Time.

Marisa Mazria Katz serves as the editorial director of the program. She was the founding editor of Creative Time Reports, the New York public art nonprofit’s editorial arm, which teamed up with publications such as the Guardian and the New Yorker to offer artists’ perspectives on the news. With the Intercept, for example, Creative Time Reports published bird’s eye photographs taken under cover of night by artist Trevor Paglen of US intelligence agency facilities.

“I have seen firsthand how powerful artists’ work can be within the pages of major media,” said Mazria Katz in a statement. “Artists can be uniquely capable of creating journalistic pieces that shift dominant news narratives, and a project like ECFJ ensures that more of them will be supported in this groundbreaking work.”

“Sometimes artists can express truths much more effectively than anyone can with straight explanation,” added Craig Newmark. “We’re hoping that can [be] a means to counter disinformation used against us all.”

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