The Future Art Awards Democratizing Philanthropy: Socially Innovative Grants
“This period in our human history will be documented in many ways. As an artist, I believe it is my responsibility to capture the emotions and events around me and society so that future generations may learn.”
– Chuck Styles, Featured Artist
As the world struck with the sudden onset of the global pandemic COVID -19, MOZAIK Philanthropy‘s ‘Future Art Awards, quickly came to the aid of artists.
The Future Art Awards immediately recognized that artists in the United States would be dramatically affected, economically, socially, and emotionally during this pandemic.
MOZAIK Philanthropy (formerly The Neda Nobari Foundation) had taken a “pause” to reflect their grant-making process and had just re-launched as MOZAIK Philanthropy, after ten plus years of seeding hundreds of grassroots organizations and giving $10 Million in philanthropic support to arts, entertainment, film, media, cultural and environmental initiatives.
MOZAIK Philanthropy was ready to try a new way to democratize the grant-making process and give more equity to individuals and organizations that may never have the opportunity to receive capital and funding to realize their potential.
Flow Funding is a way to champion smaller grants through community leaders and establishing their roles in the grant-making process of their own communities. The praxis helps these community leaders to become part of this philanthropic model of a new culture of giving that’s committed to advancing a just economy.
In April 2020, MOZAIK launched The Future Art Awards as an answer to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects it had on artists. The award was created to connect people through the inspiring energy of art in a time of confusion, social distancing, turmoil, and economic hardship. MOZAIK asked it’s 2019 flow funders in the arts to serve as judges in a blind review for The Future Art Awards.
Artists of all ages, art levels, all walks of life living in the United States were eligible to enter this art awards for a chance to be featured in an online art gallery show and a prize of $2K given to ten winners and 40 “special mentions” awardees receiving $1K each.
Daria Mashouf, Director of Development added, “We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to each and every artist who submitted their works in that spirit, bravely and boldly. We stand in admiration of your talents and in celebration of your submitted works.”
The selected works are a reflection of a world reimagined by these artists after COVID- 19.
The Future Art Awards winner’s work is riveting, thought-provoking and compelling. Each artist’s work strikes a chord deep in the viewer, COVID-19, a mass global communal experience of fear, trauma, separation, and the untold damage of the virus was a catalyst to these works, and their greatness is evident in the execution of the artist.
Lesley Thiel is a self-taught figurative artist known for her highly detailed photorealistic paintings, which focus on narrative portraiture and magical realism.
Art Description: A young girl stands alone and isolated in an environment that has been destroyed by fire and which still smolders. On her head, she wears a wreath of dead brush: a parody of the wreath of flowers that represents new life and renewal in classical art. Life has been destroyed, but out of it–a rich earth is created that will give new life.
“E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One)”
John “Jahni” Moore is a southern-born American visual artist who works primarily in paint and charcoal, but often makes use of assemblage as an homage to his southern, indigenous, and African roots.
Art Description: In this two-dimensional piece, the intense vibrancy of the central colors are brought into a type of suspended animation hanging in the balance of a blue coolness. The piece is backed by mandala-styled configured forearms and hands showing strength in diversity.
“Vision Test / Viewfinder”
Jennie E. Park is an artist and writer interested in interdisciplinarity, integrated approaches to healing, and structural social change.
Art Description: An optometrist asks, “Lens 1 or 2?” to ascertain visual acuity while flipping through a series of lenses, and viewfinders at scenic stops enable visitors to zoom into or scrutinize vast vistas. This kinetic sculpture references these practices or technologies of ascertaining, manipulating, and interrogating vision by presenting alternate interpretations of the same images, via four phrases.
Artist: Jennie E. Park | Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Solomon Robert Nui Enos is a Native Hawaiian artist, educator, and visionary who has been making art for more than 30 years.
Art Description: This is a photo of a mural created as part of the Pow!Wow! Festival in Honolulu. The title is a Neo-Dadaist expression of the sound of unfolding generations. It is the linked hands and the collectivist visual narrative that best summarizes this strange and potentially hopeful time, even amidst the terrible suffering.
D’nae Harrison is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist, who is currently focused on creating a public art initiative dedicated to improving the quality of life in distressed and impoverished neighborhoods.
Art Description: Shaded Oppression is a 4ft x 4ft mixed media painting created in response to the 2016 election results. The social commentary piece utilizes oil paint, fabric, and wood to depict a scene of several individuals masked by their government flag.
“Your Huddled Masses Yearning To Breathe Free”
NY-based composer, pianist, and visual artist Brian Mark hailed as an “attractive and intelligible” artist (Boston Musical Intelligencer). His work is “compelling” (London Jazz News), and “preserves the vibrancy and relevance of contemporary art music” (New York Examiner).
Art Description: This is a solo work for trombone and digital delay processing pedal that was written for Madison, WI-based trombonist Cole Bartels and was created as a direct result of COVID-19. The title is a verse taken from Emma Lazarus’s iconic 1883 poem “The New Colossus,” which was a tribute to the symbolism of Lady Liberty.
Cameron Miller-DeSart is a Los Angeles–based filmmaker (Kidnapped, Lazy Sunday) with a background in acting and a passion for the technical craft of visual storytelling.
Art Description: A narrative short film inspired by John Hughes’ love stories, NOVEL LOVE mixes in one additional plot point. A devastating global pandemic.
We meet our characters shortly after they’ve met one another and yet, a crackling energy pulses between them. As the film progresses, we get to see a growing love form, despite impossible circumstances forcing them apart.
“In The Crowd”
A native Southern Italian multi-media artist, Francesca Bifulc’s practice fluctuates between large-scale backdrop canvases and sculptural wooden compositions.
Juliana Haliti is a painter and sculptor who explores, her fear and anger towards the profligate human effect on the environment through complex collages and representations of the harmful circumstances surrounding it.
Art Description: Air Jars (Spring 2020 New Product Line), (1 Gallon) Glass, metal, and paper. “Air Jars” juxtaposes the basic hedonistic human instinct to buy pretty, new, and high end products against the dangerous, human caused and human killing infected air that exists in these places where these pandemic viruses originated.
Chuck Styles is a multidisciplinary artist based out of the Philadelphia area, whose artwork reflects both the reality of his childhood struggle and his desire for a better financial future.
Art Description: Inspired by the Battle of Iwo Jima, this artwork depicts our essential workers from top to bottom who risk their lives every day to help keep society functioning. Thank you to all the Delivery People, Individuals that work in Super Markets, Public Transit Workers, Law Enforcement, Doctors & Nursing Staff. You all are holding the world together, on the front lines.
There is a massive shift happening in the consciousness of the globe. The uprisings of the past month all across the globe and in particular in every major city in the United States has proven that, a new way needs to be imagined for our humanity to thrive on this planet.
“Now, more than ever before, as our heavy hearts reconcile with another kind of national crisis entirely – the brutality of over 500 years of colonial oppression – and a legacy of hate, racism, and intolerance that we must refuse to allow to define our future as global citizens, we feel we must look again to the arts for the unity and strength they bring us all in this dark hour,” said Keely Badger, Executive Director.
Through the power of art, a cultural advance will take place. A shift in worldview will take shape and this modern way of democratizing philanthropy will bring the opportunity to keep creating art to so many new and innovative artist.
MOZAIK Philanthropy is leading the way in 2020 in socially innovative grant making.
STAY SOCIAL WITH MOZAIK PHILANTHROPY And Learn More About The Future Art Awards