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Knight Foundation Launches Fellowship To Support Artists Using Tech To Innovate

Shift Space will be available online at shiftspace.pub on Thursday, March 24. ​​​​​​​

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today the recipients of the 2021 Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship, a new initiative to support artists working with innovative approaches to technology and new media. Administered by United States Artists, the Fellowship's first year will award five artists with unrestricted grants of $50,000 each.

The fellowship funds artists who are using new and emerging technologies - such as artificial intelligence, digital media, augmented and virtual reality, digital fabrication, immersive installation, software and coding - in thoughtful, creative or poetic ways to expand the field.

The five fellows are:

  • Black Quantum Futurism (Philadelphia, PA) - Created by interdisciplinary artists Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips, the collective explores Black temporalities and community futurisms through writing, digital projects, installations, performance, music, film, visual art, printmaking and creative research projects.
  • Rashaad Newsome (Oakland, CA) - Rashaad is a visual artist who blends several practices including collage, sculpture, film, photography, music, computer programming, software engineering, community organizing and performance. He focuses on constructing a new cultural framework of power that celebrates Black contributions to the art canon and creates innovative and inclusive forms of culture and media.
  • Rodolfo Peraza (Miami, FL) - Rodolfo is a multimedia artist whose work focuses on public spaces - virtual and physical - as well as data visualizations on matters related to internet culture and the footprint it leaves on society.
  • Sondra Perry (Newark, NJ) - Sondra is an interdisciplinary artist working in the mediums of video, computer-based media and performance. She explores themes of race, identity, family history and technology.
  • Stephanie Dinkins (Brooklyn, NY) - Stephanie is a transdisciplinary artist and Kusama professor of Art at Stony Brook University. She creates platforms for dialog about AI as it intersects with race, gender, aging and the future.

"For decades, artists have found novel ways to leverage technology in their art," said Victoria Rogers, Knight's Vice President for Arts. "We're thrilled to champion the work of these five gifted artists, whose practices experiment with new ways to bring to light and address today's issues."

The five fellows were nominated by a geographically diverse group of artists and arts professionals and chosen by Knight, United States Artists and a national panel of field leaders, including Google's Global placemaking lead Josette Melchor, Creative Technologist and Founder of Afrotectopia Ari Melenciano and Director of NEW INC Stephanie Pereira.

"I'm so pleased to have been a part of selecting this inaugural group of fellows, whose exceptional talent speaks to the breadth of artistic practice as it intersects with technology," said Stephanie Pereira, Director of NEW INC. "Working seamlessly across media, the fellows are redefining how artists can create and present work in galleries, with community and on the web."

Still emerging and constantly evolving, the field of art and tech represents an exciting space for experimentation and research. By extension, it also requires ample time, space and resources, posing unique challenges for both artists and institutions. The Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship seeks to establish new channels of support for artists through unrestricted funding to support their work, while also building a network of practitioners and professionals in the field to provide new opportunities for collaboration.

One of these networks is Shift Space, a publication exploring new media landscapes and spotlighting the inaugural Knight Arts + Tech Fellows. Guest edited by artist and researcher Salome Asega, and produced by United States Artists, the publication features stories about each of the Fellows in this year's inaugural cohort as well as on the field at large. Contributors include leading writers, artists, and critics Rahel Aima, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Legacy Russell, and more. Shift Space will be available online at shiftspace.pub on Thursday, March 24.


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