Iowa City arts organization Public Space One (PS1) is one of five organizations nationally to be awarded an inaugural VIA | Wagner Incubator Grant of $40,000 in operating support over the course of two years. The Boston-based VIA Art Fund and Wagner Foundation partnered to create the Incubator Grant Fund in 2019 with the “aim of creating a robust and inclusive national arts ecosystem by awarding unrestricted funding to small nonprofit visual arts organizations throughout the United States, with a particular focus on regional diversity.”
This grant will support PS1’s program The Center for Afrofuturist Studies, a residency program and platform to re-imagine the futures of marginalized peoples by generating dynamic working spaces for artists of color. The CAS is curated by PS1 board member Anaïs Duplan and since 2016 has hosted 14 artists, writers, and curators for fully-funded Iowa City residencies that include community engagement in the form of public programs, youth workshops, and opportunities to informally connect with the local community.
The award comes at a decisive moment in PS1’s growth, and over the next two years will support the continuation of the CAS residency program in addition to the development of new resources and collaborations including the CAS reading room, a platform for digital projects, and programmatic partnerships with other organizations.
VIA Program Director Tali Cherizli said:
“The first cohort of VIA | Wagner Incubator grantees exemplifies the richness of our cultural landscape. While each organization is utterly unique, all are united by a mission to create innovative contemporary arts programming that resonates at home while steering discourse further afield. This integration of the local with the global infuses our national arts ecosystem with various models for artistic excellence, ensuring that artists based in both rural and urban communities have the platforms they need for developing experimental work.”
Wagner Foundation Program Director Caroline Hart added:
“Each of the organizations selected in the inaugural year of the Incubator Grant Fund individually represent the transformative role that cultural institutions can play in their communities. We are proud to support five extraordinary cultural spaces that serve as vital gathering places where communities can build stronger civic bonds, discover their own voices, and listen to the voices of others.”
The other four inaugural VIA | Wagner Incubator Grant Fund awardees are Burnaway (Atlanta, GA), Coleman Center for the Arts (York, AL), Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN), and SPACE (Portland, ME).
VIA Art Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit philanthropic arts organization founded by an international coalition of individuals and private foundations who believe in the central role art plays in society. Wagner Foundation is a 501(c)(3) noprofit private foundation working to build just and robust community where all people have equitable access to opportunity and the ability to live a life of purpose.
Public Space One is an artist-led, community-driven contemporary art center that aims to:
• provide an independent, innovative, diverse, and inclusive space for making and presenting art
• produce unique programs that stretch boundaries and present diverse perspectives
• provide resources for artists and cultural educational opportunities, and
• advocate for the importance of art in everyday life for any and everyone.
PS1’s programs include the presentation of year-round gallery exhibitions and artist projects; the IC Press Co-op, a community-access educational print and book arts studio; the Center for Afrofuturist Studies; a community-access media studio (formerly PATV); and community space for gatherings, performances, and creative endeavors.