Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Grants Support Activist Artists

Robert Rauschenberg with his tongue stamped “Wedding Souvenir, Claes Oldenburg” at Oldenburg's wedding (1966). Photo: Dennis Hopper, via grey not grey.
Robert Rauschenberg with his tongue stamped “Wedding Souvenir, Claes Oldenburg” at Oldenburg's wedding (1966).
Photo: Dennis Hopper, via grey not grey.

A new grant program from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, titled the Artist as Activist, will offer two-year fellowship programs as well as small ongoing grants for travel and research to artists and designers whose practice focuses on social issues, reports the Art Newspaper. An open call for proposals is being run on the foundation website, and is open through October 13.

The Rauschenberg Foundation recently made headlines when a Florida judge ruled in favor of three of the organization’s trustees, awarding them $24.6 million (see “Judge Awards Three Pals of Robert Rauschenberg $25 Million“). Although this would seem to resolve the long-running legal dispute, the artist’s son, Christopher Rauschenberg, who runs the foundation, has announced plans to appeal the decision.

Luckily, the costly legal setback has not deterred the foundation’s charitable giving. Recipients of the organization’s new two-year fellowship will received up to $100,000, with travel and research grants being offered from anywhere between $2,500 and $10,000. According to a press release, the program’s “central goal is to ensure such artists have the kind of flexible support required to execute ambitious creative projects intended to move the needle on the critical issues of our times.”

“Robert Rauschenberg said that he lived in the gap between art and life. He used his artistic voice and creative force to help create a global conversation on issues,” said Christy MacLear, the foundation’s executive director. “In that vein we are looking for artists and organizations to expand that very legacy.”

“Art driven by a desire to make a direct impact in movements for change is not new,” added foundation philanthropy director Risë Wilson. “But there is a recent swell in the aspirations to work this way, which we recognize does not fit neatly into a box and can easily fall through the cracks of conventional funding mechanisms.”

A second open call, which will address efforts to suppress climate change, will launch November 10, with others to follow over the next six months.

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