Mike Kelley Foundation 2016 Artist Project Grants Announced

Los Angeles, CA., April 6, 2016 — The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts today announced the first recipients of its Artist Project Grants— Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Clockshop, Coaxial Arts Foundation, Echo Park Film Center, LA Filmforum, Los Angeles Poverty Department, The Mistake Room, Pasadena Arts Council/KNOWLEDGES, and Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Launched in June of last year, the Artist Project Grants seek to further Mike Kelley's philanthropic work and honor his legacy by supporting innovative projects with visual artists at LA nonprofit institutions and organizations. The goal is to benefit both visual artists and arts organizations alike and to support compelling and inventive projects in any medium, particularly work that is under-known, or has proven difficult to make or to fund.

The 2016 grant recipients include both established and new organizations, and their projects represent a diverse mix of media and content. The supported works range from a series of new commissions by members of the Echo Park Film Center Co-Op, honoring their unsung efforts at this unique volunteer- driven organization, to a collaboration with artist Rosten Woo and Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) on how zoning codes disenfranchise Downtown communities.

“Since 1985, we’ve been making art that connects the experience of people living in poverty in the Skid Row community to the social forces that shape their lives, in other words, creating citizen artist witnesses," explained LAPD Founding Artistic Director John Malpede. “With the Kelley Foundation grant we’ll be addressing new threats to the area’s hard won affordable housing, inviting both new and oldresidents of a quickly gentrifying Downtown to examine, question, and imagine how decisions get madeand how our city gets created.”

The Mistake Room will bring Los Angeles-born, Guadalajara-based Eduardo Sarabia back to the city for an innovative survey show that will weave together the artist’s previous projects in a complex narrative video and installation environment. The project’s deeply self-reflective nature will provide Sarabia with a rare and risky opportunity—a chance to explore in-depth the meaning and relevance of his artistic work to date.

“This project will be the boldest endeavor I’ve ever undertaken, both formally and conceptually, bringing together ten years of work and five years of research in a new kind of 'total artwork,’” said Sarabia. “It's not an easy project, and without the fearless support of The Mistake Room and now the generous grant from the Kelley Foundation, I don’t think it would be feasible at all. I'm so grateful and excited."

Following an enthusiastic response to the initial call for Letters of Inquiry, the Foundation invited 64 eligible organizations to submit full applications. These were then assessed by an independent review panel comprising artists Paul McCarthy, Frances Stark and Pae White, writer and curator Carol Cheh, and MOMA Curator Yasmil Raymond in a competitive process.

“The guidance and vision of the review panelists in this first year of the the grant was invaluable," noted Mary Clare Stevens, Executive Director of the Foundation and former Manager of the artist's studio. “The selected projects reflect the incredible range of artistic and curatorial practices here in L.A. We are thrilled to recognize both the artists and the important work of the organizations.” Foundation board chair John C. Welchman added, “Mike set up the Foundation in 2007 to help arts organizations engaged in innovative programming or practices, often supporting work that took risks or had been overlooked. This first group of awards reflects that spirit.”

The grants cover project-related expenses and allow for a modest portion of the organization’soverhead costs. Perhaps most significantly, the grants include a dedicated fee for the artist(s). The grant-funded projects will take place throughout 2016 and 2017, and the Foundation plans to follow them as they unfold and share updates on its website.

For organizations interested in applying for the next round of Artist Project Grants, updated information on the 2017 competition will be posted later this Spring on the Foundation’s website (in the meantime,last year’s Guidelines remain on this site for reference only).

About the Foundation
The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts seeks to further Kelley’s philanthropic work through grants for innovativeprojects that reflect his multifaceted artistic practice. The Foundation also preserves the artist’s legacy morebroadly and advances the understanding of his life and creative achievements. The nonprofit Foundation was established by the artist in 2007. For additional information, please visit the Foundation page.

About the Artist
The work of artist Mike Kelley (1954-2012) embraced performance, installation, drawing, painting, video, sound works and sculpture. Kelley began his career in the late 1970s with solo performances, image/text works, and gallery and site-specific installations. He came to prominence in the 1980s with a series of sculptures composed ofcommon craft materials. The artist’s later work addressed architecture and filmic narratives using the theory of repressed memory syndrome coupled with sustained biographic and pseudo-biographic inquiry into his own aesthetic and social history. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of our time, Kelley produced a body of deeply innovative work in dialogue with American popular culture as well as both modernist and alternative traditions.