East Bay Community Foundation announces $165,000 in awards for artists, proposed works focus on racial justice and culturally affirming multi-disciplinary works

We are honored to share that the East Bay Fund for Artists (EBFA) has selected 18 local artists to create new work in the East Bay, granting a total of $165,000 to this years’ recipients. The East Bay community continues to grapple with the interlocking toll of the health and economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the uprisings calling for racial justice, true public safety, and fully funding communities. It is in this context that we reaffirm the essential role of artists to help us all make meaning of these events and to anchor their communities through culture. 

Since 2004, the East Bay Fund for Artists has supported more than 300 new works created by 360 individual artists, providing a total of $3.5 million for local artists and arts organizations in the East Bay. EBCF Senior Program Officer Debrah Giles currently leads the Foundation’s program strategy and grantmaking focused on Arts and Culture for social and racial justice, including the East Bay Fund for Artists.

This year’s proposed projects speak specifically to the importance of social justice and the realities of communities hardest hit in the last year’s layered crises. 

“We’ve been under a weight of hate, madness, and destruction. This fund activates a space for cultural expression that is deeply rooted, undiluted, and unapologetic about the experiences and vision of Black and Brown people,” explained Anyka Barber, Oakland arts leader and EBFA consultant. “The projects speak directly to the ongoing challenges with racial equity, healing from trauma, shifting norms, and centering and cherishing Black and Brown life, its value and contributions.”

This year’s selections will include a wide array of disciplines and voices, including choreography, playwriting, youth voices, food, ancestral song, dance, and even a residential home as a mural site celebrating the women of the Black Panther Party. Artists proposed ways to creatively navigate current safety protocols, some designing digital components for local communities and broader audiences to experience their work. This year’s proposals also included a large number of murals, reflecting the shift of physical space and how we interact and move through our communities differently during quarantine.  

Over last year the Fund has recommitted to its core purpose to support a wide range of artistic disciplines and to support artists that represent the East Bay’s racial and cultural diversity. A critical component of the Fund is supporting artists to create new work in the East Bay, where many artists, especially in financially tight times, may not otherwise have the resources to explore new works. Typical arts funding goes directly to a program or part of the artistic production. These grants range up to $16,000 to directly support the individual artists.

The 2021 East Bay Fund for Artist grants were awarded to the following 18 organizations and individual artists throughout the East Bay. We hope you will join us in celebrating the artists and their life and culture affirming work. We will continue to share updates as artists begin to share these works.

The latest grant recipients from the East Bay Fund for Artists are listed below.  More information about the East Bay Fund for Artists can be found here.


Artist(s)/Project Description

Dancers’ Group/ NAKA Dance Theater Debby Kajiyama and José Navarrete for the production of “Y Basta Ya!”
Alena Museum/ West Oakland Mural Project Jilchristina Vest for the production of “#SayHerName: The Women of The Black Panther Party Mural”
The People’s Conservatory Cava Menzies for the production of “The Legacy Project”
World Arts West Latanya Tigner for the production of “5th Quarter Bantaba”
Youth Spirit Artworks Franz Fischer for the production of “Tiny House Village Murals”
Fractured Atlas, Inc. Zakiya Harris for the production of “Embedded”
Dance Elixir Leyya Mona Tawil for the production of “Malayeen”
Oakland Public Education Fund Rachel-Anne Palacios for the production of “Tomorrow People Program”
TheatreFIRST/ We Rise Production Nicole Gervacio for the production of “Fighting for Our Motherlands”
Bay Area Mural Program Andre Jones for the production of “Against All Odds”
Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation Dana King for the production of the Huey P. Newton Memorial Bust
The Beat, Berkeley Performing Arts (BPA) Gregory Dawson for the production of “The Human Project”
Dancers’ Group/ Grown Women Dance Collective Tonya Amos for the production of “A Ballad for John Henry”
Neighborhood Solutions Torman Jahi for the production of “Bring on the Drums – Community Human Contact Edition”
Sozo Impact/ Alphabet Rockers Kaitlin McGawfor and Tommy Shepherd the production of “Transformative Justice: Songs for Children”
POOR Magazine Derrick ‘Rtystk’ Shavers for the production of “Ancestor Mural Project”
Richmond Friends of Recreation Frederick Franklin for the production of “Vegan Art: For the Health of It”
Alena Museum Taylor Price for the production of “Unsung Heroes: The Women of the Black Panther Party”