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Mellon Foundation Awards Arab American National Museum $750K for Artists + Residents Program

posted on: Feb 14, 2020

Mellon Foundation Awards Arab American National Museum $750K for Artists + Residents Program

SOURCE: PRESS & GUIDE

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $750,000 over two-years to the Arab American National Museum (AANM) for its landmark Artists + Residents program.

Launched in 2016, Artists + Residents enlists national and international artists whose work centers on the complexities of Arab and Arab American representation and expression. Occupying a studio apartment and workspace directly across the street from AANM at the City Hall Artspace Lofts, 13615 Michigan Ave., resident artists delve into the everyday life of the highest concentrated Arab community in the United States.

“This generous award by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a tremendous honor, and we are beyond thrilled,” said Diana Abouali, Director of AANM. “Through this award, we will work with new and emerging artists, as well as more established practitioners, many of whom are overlooked in the larger discourse of American museums. We will encourage artists working in theatre, music, visual arts, dance, creative writing, and other mixed media forms to apply to our residency program and engage with our local communities,” Abouali said, “The award will also allow us to commission works from selected resident fellows to add to our growing collection of contemporary Arab American art.”

Funds from the grant will be used to support residencies with a wide range of focuses and mediums and will include everything from artist talks and workshops to large-scale productions and exhibitions. Resident fellows will stay in Dearborn for an average of four weeks. Previous fellows include musician, composer and founding director of the National Arab Orchestra, Michael Ibrahim; award-winning Iraqi American playwright/performer Heather Raffo; and the Detroit-based Palestinian author of the graphic novels Baddawi (Shortlisted: Palestine Book Awards) and The Opening, Leila Abdelrazaq.

“As the only Arab American museum in the country and an anchor cultural institution for our local and national communities, AANM’s role of providing a protected space to consider issues that are most pressing to our communities has become all the more important,” Abouali said, “ And as we advance AANM’s work over the next five years, we envision our museum to be a dynamic space that attracts and more deeply engages artists, researchers, critics, and the general public with our arts-based programming and collections. This award is an unequivocal vote of confidence for the work that the Arab American National Museum does, and in its potential to carry that work even further.”

AANM’s next group of residencies consists of six different artists across six months in 2020. Resident fellows include Baraa Ktiri (Documentary Series, January), Alia Taqieddin (Oral History & Music, February), Yasmine Nasser Diaz (Multimedia, March), Deena Mohamed (Graphic Novel, April), Denmo Ibrahim (Theatre, May) and Suhad Khatib (Painting & Multimedia, June).

“The 2020 cohort of fellows brings a rich variety of artistic experiences and projects to share with our community,” said Abouali, “We are excited to see what they will produce during their time with us.”

The Museum will be accepting applications from March 1 through April 10 for residencies that take place between July and December 2020. Residencies are available to all individuals with creative and critical projects related to the Museum’s mission of documenting, preserving and presenting the history, culture and contributions of Arab Americans. More info can be found at arabamericanmuseum.org/artists-resident.