Sixty artists and cultural practitioners in disciplines ranging from performing arts, visual arts, music, film, media, and literature will receive $2.6 million in Far South/Border North grants. Each grant will be provided to develop artistic content that increases local awareness of public health, energy and water conservation, climate mitigation, civic engagement, and social justice within Imperial and San Diego counties.
Far South/Border North is a California Creative Corps arts program for San Diego and Imperial counties led by the City of San Diego and implemented through a bi-county regional collaborative.
“With over 250 submissions in the first round from artists and cultural practitioners representing San Diego and Imperial counties, we are thrilled to see the overwhelming response,” said Christine E. Jones, Chief of Civic Art Strategies with the City’s Arts and Culture. “The grants are aimed at promoting healthy communities through creativity, and we look forward to supporting the grant recipients with the development and implementation of campaigns over the next year to bring awareness to urgent issues shaping our region today.”
The Far South/Border North round one grant opportunity was administered through a regional open call, multistep review process involving an external evaluation of eligible applications by a panel of San Diego and Imperial County-based arts, cultural, and social field volunteers. Applications were reviewed with consideration given to professional capacity and readiness, project design and implementation capability, community building and public engagement experience, and creative and technical skills to support health equity.
For the round one funds, each recipient will receive $43,333, which includes $35,000 for artist and cultural practitioner fees and $8,333 to advance their campaign. Grantees selected are emerging, mid-career, and established artists and cultural practitioners based in San Diego or Imperial County, reflecting a broad spectrum of diverse artistic practices, with 77% working or residing in an area designated as being in the lowest quartile of the California Healthy Places Index.
Round two of the Far South/Border North grant program will open on Tuesday, June 13. This round will focus on grant applications from organizations and local and tribal governments to hire artists and cultural practitioners.
“The Far South/Border North round one cohort reaffirms the unique artistic and cultural perspectives and practices thriving in our region today—from social practice artists and cultural practitioners working in Oceanside to Calexico and across San Diego and Imperial County,” said Felicia Shaw, San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition Executive Director. “As an implementation partner, we collectively see this regional, open-call grant process as an opportunity to catalyze visionary artists and cultural practitioners in intersectional work that fuels positivity and contributes to health equity within our most disproportionately impacted communities.”
Recognizing artists and cultural practitioners’ critical role in supporting our communities, The Conrad Prebys Foundation recently committed $1.4 million to Far South/Border North, boosting the $4.75 million California Creative Corps grant from the California Arts Council, a state agency, to a total of $6.15 million for the program.
“The goals of this program simply could not be more aligned with the strategies that The Conrad Prebys Foundation just announced,” said Prebys Foundation CEO Grant Oliphant.
“We believe a great arts community celebrates and lifts its artists and turns to them for inspiration and hope. Artists bring an invaluable perspective to the urgent health, climate, and democracy challenges that define our times and will shape our shared future, and we are delighted to support them in that work.”
“This partnership among philanthropy, public agencies, nonprofits, and individuals gives us a glimpse into what an ecosystem approach looks like,” said Megan Thomas, President, and CEO at Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties. “By building relationships that combine the experience and initiative of communities with the capacity and resources of larger institutions, we see a growth in funding for our region in a way that respects and builds on the strengths of the people who live and work here.”
Far South/Border North implementation partners include Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties, San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition, and San Diego Foundation. The team also comprises five nonprofit social sector organizations that serve as social impact hubs to support artists and cultural practitioners throughout their creative process, including Alliance San Diego, A Reason to Survive (ARTS), Casa Familiar, Imperial County Food Bank, and RISE San Diego.