National Grant to Support USF Museum of Art to Display Poor Man’s Art

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TAMPA, FL – The USF Contemporary Art Museum, part of the Institute for Research in Art at the University of South Florida’s College of the Arts, received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to Help the Poor awarded for art projects folk art.

This project will present a social history of the experiences of underrepresented and underserved communities in the United States since 1968. The artists represented in Poor People’s Art individually and collectively tell a story of intersecting injustices related to race, class, immigrant status, health systems, food insecurity and gender issues.

USFCAM’s project is among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million selected during this second round of funding from Grants for Arts Projects in fiscal year 2022.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations across the country with these grants, including the USF Contemporary Art Museum, which offers all of us the opportunity to live an artistic life,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson. “Art contributes to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities and our local economy. Art is also critical in helping us understand our circumstances from multiple perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

In connection with the grant program, USFCAM will present the exhibition Poor People’s Art: A Short Visual History of Poverty in the United States, January to March 2023.

Spanning more than 50 years, the exhibition is presented in two parts: Resurrection (1968-1994) in the museum’s West Gallery and Revival (1995-2022) in the East Gallery.

Resurrection includes paintings, photographs, film, sculpture, posters, books, and ephemera produced by a radically inclusive group of American artists, from Jill Freedman’s photographs of Resurrection City, the tented enclave that housed the followers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the erected National Mall in 1968 to John Ahearn’s plaster sculpture Luis Fuentes, South Bronx (1979).

Revival offers contemporary engagement across a range of approaches, materials and perspectives. It includes a video by photographer Dawoud Bey from The Birmingham Project from 2013, as well as the sculpture Companion Species: Calling Back, Calling Forward (2021), Seneca Nation artist Marie Watt’s meditation on the collaborative nature of the culture of the native americans.

USFCAM
Left, Anonymous, No More Hunger USA Placard, 1968. Political History Department, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Right, Marie Watt, Blanket Stories, Great Grandmother, Pandemic, Daybreak, 2021. Reclaimed blankets and cedar, 108″ x 38 ¼” x 40″, Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

Conceived as a declared opposition to poverty, racism, militarism, environmental degradation, health injustices, and other intertwined injustices, this exhibition shows how artists in the United States since 1968 have visualized poverty and its myriad consequences.

Poor People’s Art is curated by Christian Viveros-Fauné, CAM Curator-at-Large, and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts award; the Stanton Storer Embrace the Arts Foundation; the Lee & Victor Leavengood Foundation; the patrons of the USFCAM Art for Community Engagement Fund; and the Florida Department of State Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

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