Rauschenberg Foundation announces grants for art projects about incarceration

Skid Row artist and activist General Dogon posing with his custom bikes at the Los Angeles Poverty Department's Skid Row History Museum and Archive.
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

The Rauschenberg Foundation has named 10 winners of its annual Artist as Activist Fellowship, providing a total of $775,000 over two years so recipients can explore issues relating to incarceration.

Among this year’s recipients is the Los Angeles Poverty Department, a performance art group dedicated to homeless people and located in downtown L.A.’s skid row.

The group will use the grant to devise “informal community policing vehicles that maintain respect for the well-being” of skid row neighbors, the foundation said.


The foundation said that Oakland artist Favianna Rodriguez will “explore the intersections between mass incarceration and immigrant detention with the goal of devising a cultural strategy that envisions a world free of prisons.”

Chicago-based artist Maria Gaspar will use the grant to produce radio broadcasts and visual projections at Chicago’s Cook County Jail.

Other recipients are in cities including Baltimore, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Seattle. The artists and artist collectives were selected from a pool of 228. Each grantee will receive $50,000 to $100,000 during the two-year span.

The New York-based foundation was created by the late American abstract artist Robert Rauschenberg and is his headed by his son, Christopher. The organization oversees charitable projects as well as the late artist’s body of work.

Earlier this year, the foundation agreed to relax copyright restrictions on art belonging to the artist in an effort to make them more accessible to the public.