A Blade of Grass: Nurturing Socially Engaged Art

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Resource Details
Publication Date: 
April 2015
Ann McQueen
Animating Democracy
Pam Korza, Barbara Schaffer Bacon
Number of Pages: 
Animating Democracy resource
PDF icon ABOG_v2.pdf1.14 MB

A Blade of Grass (ABoG), launched in 2011 as a service organization, supports socially engaged artists working in partnership with communities to create social change. While it isn’t primarily a grantmaker, each year ABoG makes fellowship awards—$20,000 stipends for specific projects paired with strategic support, assessment tools, video documentation, and other tailored resources—to up to 10 artists or artist collectives. In 2013, ABoG inaugurated a second program of Distinguished Artist Fellowships to make larger multi-year awards to artists or artist collectives working at a significant scale. Mel Chin was the foundation’s first Distinguished Artist.

ABoG also seeks to foster dialogue and promote a deeper understanding of socially engaged art among foundations, donors and, especially, artists. It does this through an extensive calendar of public programs, most held at its New York offices, as well as online debates, journals, and reports posted on its website.

Operating as a public charity, ABoG also raises awareness by raising funds. The nonprofit, launched with a generous $5 million seed contribution from Shelley Frost Rubin who opened the Rubin Museum of Art with her husband Donald in 2004, actively works to engage other donors who share the founder’s commitment to social change.

In 2015, A Blade of Grass will support eight artists with $160,000 in fellowship stipends. An additional $400,000 will fund public programs and the documentation, assessment, and training of that year’s fellows.


Listen to a podcast interview by Ann McQueen with A Blade of Grass Executive Director, Deborah Fisher.

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