2017 Propeller Fund Awardees Announcement

Propeller Fund Announces 2017 Awardees

Image: Serial Dreamer Co-Op, 2017 Propeller Fund awardee

Propeller Fund proudly announces the ten grant recipients for 2017. Selected from upwards of ninety candidates, these self-organized, artist-led projects continue Propeller’s mission of promoting diversity and small-scale interventions in Chicago’s visual art world. Propeller Fund offers $50,000 (ranging from $1,000 to $6,000) annually to artists producing a wide range of public culture.

Propeller Fund recognizes that independent artist-organized events, everything from informal roundtables and workshops, collectively organized exhibition spaces to publishing endeavors, constitute a large catalyst for the creative activity and vitality of the Chicago visual art world. These projects are responsible for much of the complexity and richness in the art community.

Propeller Fund 2017 Award Ceremony and Reception

This year’s recipients will be recognized in an award ceremony on Thursday, October 19 at the Center on Halsted. Join grant recipients and the community to celebrate with food, drink, and music.

Thursday, October 19, 6–8pm
Center on Halsted
3656 N. Halsted Street
Irving Harris Family Foundation Reception Hall, 3rd FL
Chicago, IL 60613

Award Ceremony: 6:30pm
Awardee Reception: 7–8pm

Free and open to the public

Propeller Fund would like to thank this year’s jury: Aram Han Sifuentes, social practice fiber Artist, Writer, Curator, and professor (Chicago, IL); Gibran Villalobos, 2016 Propeller Fund Awardee Latinx Artist/Art Administrator Retreat (Chicago, IL); Ross Jordan, Curatorial Manager at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago,IL); Cameron Shaw, Director of Pelican Bomb (New Orleans, LA); Arnold J. Kemp, Artist and Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL). Thank you to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the funder of the Propeller Fund through its Regional Regranting Program.

2017 Awardees

The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food (Thomas Kong, Dan Miller, Nathan Abhalter Smith)
The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food is an experimental art space and repository for thousands of collage and assemblage works made by artist Thomas Kong over the past decade. Housed in an adapted storage room behind the convenience store Kong manages in Rogers Park, The Back Room began as a collaboration between Kong and artist Dan Miller in 2015, with assistance from Nathan Abhalter Smith. The Back Room has since invited artists and thinkers whose practices intersect with Kong’s in various ways to produce an ongoing series of public exhibitions, events and performances in the space. These projects each proceed from a horizontal engagement with Kong’s unique art practice and working context, and the projects are intended to develop conversations around the art field’s relationship to production, visibility, history, hierarchy and value.

Serial Dreamer Co-Op (Aymar Jean Christian, M. Shelly Conner, Roger Fierro, Phillip Lambert, Jordy Marilyn, Elijah McKinnon, Saya Naomi, Honey Pot Performance, Ashley Ray, Erik Wallace)

Serial Dreamer is a collaborative series following residents of a Chicago co-op in everyday lives and their dreams. The project is an experiment in queer series development in how to use one series to pilot multiple series by intersectional artists. Every episode focuses on a different character, serving as a pilot for a series by that writer.

International Chicago Underground Queer Transcendence Symposium (ICUQTS) (Jacquelyn Guerrero, Natalie Murillo)
ICUQTS is an interdisciplinary platform celebrating creative cultural engagement with local and international queer communities through exhibition of visual and performance art, music, panel discussions, and workshops during Chicago Queer Pride month in June 2018. Creating a symposium during such time will reach international audiences with the message that Chicago artists are thriving, collaborating, and resisting oppressive cis-hetero-normative ideologies across all artistic disciplines. Alongside Chicago-based artists, national and international artists will be invited to apply for exhibition opportunities that encourage discussion and engagement within the global queer movement.

An Art of Interruption: Restructuring Narratives of Poverty (Red Line Service) (Billy McGuinness, Rhoda Rosen)

Through three years of working with Chicagoans experiencing homelessness, Red Line Service (RLS) has cultivated a community of participants with an unusual and unexpectedly wide-ranging cultural expertise. Inspired by the breadth of perspectives within this community, McGuinness and Rosen will create an artist’s book that challenges stereotypical narratives of poverty, expands the boundaries of art criticism, and provides RLS participants the chance to engage in a sustained creative and intellectual process. Including essays of art criticism by Chicagoans in transition*, along with a manifesto that explains the nuances of their work and the crucial significance of art that engages directly with the impacts of income inequality, the book will function simultaneously as an artifact, an art object, and a guide to would-be social practitioners.
*McGuinness and Rosen use the word transition to affirm that homelessness is a temporary set of circumstances and not a state of being.

Alternatives to Calling Police During Mental Health Crises (Timmy Chau & Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Rebekah Frumkin, Maria Trucano-Harp, Euree Kim)
Alternatives To Calling Police During Mental Health Crises is a community-based movement to train folx in de-escalation techniques and protect mentally ill community members from police violence and the criminal justice system. The project is a fruit of collaboration of various artists, activists, and professionals of different backgrounds and aims to center the voices of marginalized people, suggest alternative solutions from first-hand experience, and discuss the issue as a community. Their hope is to imagine what a world without police may look like- where widespread policing and mass incarceration are replaced with crisis intervention, community response teams, and restorative justice.

2nd Floor Co-op (Fontaine Capel, Mia Lopez, Katherine Waddell)
2nd Floor Co-op is a one-year creative consortium, think-tank, work-share, and dream machine for select 2nd Floor Rear artist alumni. Four lead artists from past 2FR seasons will be selected to participate in a year-long cooperative residency. Residents will work together to develop original projects, generate content for 2nd Floor Rear’s website and social media, participate in a weekend-long retreat with a public component, and pave the way for 2nd Floor Rear 2019.

CHICAGO LOWRIDER FESTIVAL: Culture, Art, Community + Legacy | VOL. 1 (Matt Austin, Edward Calderon, Max Herman, Lauren M. Pacheco, Peter Pacheco)
Through photography, interviews, and scholarly essays, the relationship between the Lowrider subculture’s practices of constructing an embodied identity through car culture, muralism, and storytelling, and the notion of art types manufactured in urban Mexican-American communities of Chicago in a one-of-a-kind print publication. The publication will attempt to demonstrate an intrinsic link between Lowrider participant identities and their objects in order to forward the argument that the expression of identity is the telos of Lowrider art and culture.

Queer the Air (Coriama Couture, Miasarah Lai, Stephanie Jensen, Eddie Jerks, Rachel Jones)
Queer the Air is a docu-web series hosted by Coriama Couture, a Chicago-based artist and sex educator. The series is centered around interviews with Black queer folx, and covers everything from gender identity and relationships, to body image and self care.The show aims to provide a voice for those who are often left out of mainstream conversations surrounding LGBTQ+ issues. Coriama’s charm and matter-of-fact style wit, is guaranteed to keep viewers entertained. She celebrates the variety that exists among Black queer folx with guests from all different backgrounds and lifestyle choices. Queer the Air focuses on spreading #blackjoy. Watch it for the culture.

Youth as Engaged Cultural Workers: Displacement, Housing Justice and the Legacy of Student Uprisings on the Lower West Side (Paulina Camacho, Nicole Marroquin)
Youth as Engaged Cultural Workers places students in deeper context and relation to socio-cultural events involving the construction of Benito Juarez Community Academy in Pilsen. In and beyond the classroom, young public intellectuals drive the conversations, engage pressing concerns like displacement, dissent and police violence, and are the directors of the process, from creation to critique. The program expands to include audiences beyond the school, increasing exposure and processing feedback deepens their critical engagement, as the project is situated at the intersection of art and public scholarship.

The Space Between: Lives and Deaths in Prison (Jose Luis Benavides, Erica R. Meiners, Therese Quinn, Matthew Yasuoka)
$2,000 Research and Development Grant

The Illinois Deaths in Custody Project (IDCP), an initiative including artists, scholars, and community-based organizations, documents, archives, mourns and researches the deaths of all people in custody in Illinois. By inviting the online submission of death reports, eulogies, and other testimonies and documents, partnering with organizations doing related work and offering workshops that prepare participants to gain and share reports and stories about those dying while incarcerated IDCP harnesses digital tools to reshape the meanings, practices and boundaries of public mourning, and challenge the carceral state. IDCP’s lead artist, Jose Luis Benavides, will research and document (photography, video) the spaces, paths, institutions, and processes that constitute these experiences. This documentation will culminate in an exhibition in 2019.

More information about the awardees will be available soon on the project page.