Rocket Grants award up to $6,000 to individuals and groups of artists for high quality, innovative and public-oriented artwork that happens outside of typical galleries, museums and arts districts. Artists are encouraged to address the community at large, to strengthen the arts community, or to choose a smaller, targeted audience. Rocket Grants also support proposals by artists or groups who are interested in expanding studio practice in new ways, and developing new audiences.
This is the fifth year for the awards, in which a total of $54,000 will be distributed to artists living within an 80-mile radius of metropolitan Kansas City. Completed and in-progress projects from the 2010 through 2013 funding cycles can be seen at rocketgrants.wordpress.com. The program is funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and is implemented by a partnership between the Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, and the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas.
Rather than create a new artist-run space, Byproduct will create temporary, experimental cultural centers through the use of laundromats, helping to foster conversations between the art community and the general public about socially engaged art practices. Byproduct will run intimate tutorial workshops, conversations, and small-scale, site-specific projects in laundromats over the course of a year.
Awein Wol is a refugee from South Sudan who lives in Olathe, Kansas. Having survived genocide as a child, her dream is to run a Sudanese restaurant and cultural center. This project will provide an artist-outfitted food cart, helping Wol to introduce her cuisine and heritage locally, and save money to launch a cultural center. Awein’s DreamCart will serve entrees with essays describing Kansas City Sudanese residents’ life experiences.
Those Things That Protrude is a public art installation on the north wall of the artists’ building in the Crossroads Art District, using a form of "yarn bombing" - graffiti/street art created using non-permanent fiber materials. The work is intended to remind people about the presence of art and artists in a rapidly gentrifying part of town, and to connect with a non-typical art audience.
This multi-media project uses recorded audio interviews of teens in the juvenile justice system. Recalling life-altering events as the premise for each story, the team will create Act I of an animated film, and present it on social media networks. “Choose your own adventure” options for the story’s moral ending will come from local community feedback.
Writers will pair with immigrant communities that retain ties to their native cultures and are newly navigating Kansas City culture. The team, will speak with members of their host communities and interpret those interactions. These writings will be presented at public events in gathering places most important to the host communities, and will include a sample of native foods, art and music.
Cyclotrope Cinema uses basic animation, repurposed bicycle parts, and human-powered video projection to create a platform for learning to make animated film loops and then exhibiting them. The team will hold workshops and a public exhibition next spring at unique outdoor venues in Topeka, Kansas, and will create a DIY guide for the Cyclotrope player, to be accessible free online.
In this project, the artist and a sustainability assistant will document their navigation across geographic, cultural, and economic boundaries in the Kansas City metro. Beyond the simple act of planting trees, their goal is to negotiate institutional access and build acceptance of metaphorical challenges to patronage, privilege, inclusivity, and environmental justice.
A standard blue dumpster in the alley near the artist’s Lawrence, KS apartment, has been transformed into a vessel for a small, but vibrant, gift economy. This project will explore the dynamics of an unlikely alternative to our market-driven culture to inspire reflection on how gifts of labor and time can help bind a community together.
Across from Firehouse Studios in St Joseph, MO, sits a vacant lot - just under half an acre - which the artists are turning into Spark Farm Park (with sculpture). In its bones, Spark is a sculpture park and educational model for permaculture and urban farming. In its heart, it is an oasis of creativity, beauty and sustainable local living. Visitors will be able to view sculpture by area artists and community members, while harvesting and learning about food.
This is a transdisciplinary art project celebrating the precarious fabrication of gender artifice and exaggeration. It will consist of documentary footage and reconstructed audio/visual material gathered from research in India among the hijra community, live performances, workshops, and programmed discussions on issues of gender construction, sexuality and ritual.
This project aims to reframe political reform as a local activity by collecting stories of progressive change in the Kansas City area and making them available via the web to educators, citizens and artists. Resistant History will map sites of change in the history of our region through the creation of a group of films, a collection of documentation, and a series of downloadable neighborhood “tours” that engage the viewer in the urban environment.
This is an artist-run curatorial collaboration designed to nurture critical dialogue, expand the scope of art being shown in the area, and cross-pollinate regional and national artists in Kansas City. It involves a new collective exhibition space, a “critique night” series, experimental curatorial practices and an online presence.
Levy will work with videographers, actors, non-actors, artists and musicians in Lawrence and Kansas City to create a faux documentary that examines difficult subject matter with wit and humanity. This project will consist of an initial 20- to 30-minute video episode, followed by five additional 15-minute episodes, featuring a story that humorously explores envy as a motivating force in a regional arts community.
The artists will build a mathematically derived display system that will act as a postmodern Cabinet of Wonders. This display will travel to public spaces around Kansas City, and will juxtapose the work of regional (and a few national) artists together with that of scientists and other researchers. Each exhibit will be curated based on three thematic groupings, or “sets”.
The presentation of this project will occur over the course of one week. Each night, Parks will facilitate the creation of a unique projection art piece on the outside of a different community center or secondary school across the Kansas City Metro. These events will involve local residents in helping to create material and performances to celebrate their local community.
This project aims to inspire eight emerging Kansas City area artists to consider experimenting with new art making practices, collaboration, and marketing. It will engage new art audiences by producing affordable art multiples and maintaining a dynamic, active online presence, and will initiate active distribution in a way that will bolster the region's art market and provide further financial support to local artists.
This project features an empty nomadic chicken coop, symbolic of the disconnect between humans and the animals that enter the food chain as livestock. The project will include an exhibition of local artwork at the Lawrence Percolator reflecting on our relationship with animals and the food we consume. At the closing of the project, invited speakers will discuss their experiences caring for chickens, to be followed by discussion and a community meal to be prepared by local chefs.
This will be a multimedia performance utilizing video, stop-motion animation, an original score, and local senior citizens as actors and oral historians. The project examines the ways in which we construct identities and meaning through storytelling, congregated living and age-segregated recreation. Blurring truth and fiction through an absurd framework, participants will be given the opportunity to both become someone else, in the way that drama allows, and also reveal their true character through the sharing of personal histories.
"Prop 8 On Trial" is a multimedia performance examining the 2010 trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, challenging the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage.
“The S'mores Grant Project” is a micro-grant opportunity available to artists working in the public realm. Funds are raised by selling s'mores from a street vending cart.
“Johnny America” is a small literary ‘zine with a strong handmade visual and design aesthetic.
“WE!” is a collaborative, multimedia dance performance that strips away the safety net of the proscenium theater and sandwiches both dancer and viewer into a close-proximity, private performance space.
Through the “Endless Boundless” program, children will be immersed in interactive, interdisciplinary art workshops culminating in a community presentation of their collaborative efforts.
“The Center for the Advancement of Transmodern Awareness” is a multi-use space dedicated to promoting the evolution of culture by creating of new systems of social exchange.
"Deep Ecology 1" is a functional beehive sculpture that invites contemplation on humankind's role in the earth's ecosystem.
Creation of a publication (“ASP/SPA/PAS”) designed to engage members of the art, philosophy, and scientific communities in critical dialogue.
“Product Placement” is a series of site-specific, sculptural, public art interventions/happenings.
The artists will create a new video project involving collectives and artists in the Kansas City area collaborating extensively with national artists who will be flown in for the project.
“WorkArtOut” identifies the institutionalized body in a performance installation, featuring video of Whittle making art in gyms across America.