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Call for Artists - MOZAIK announces an online competition

Los Angeles -- MOZAIK Philanthropy, a national foundation committed to democratizing philanthropy, has announced the MOZAIK Future Art Awards, an online competition inviting artists to share a work that can shed light on the global pandemic and help us imagine alternative futures.

For more than a decade, MOZAIK (formerly, the Neda Nobari Foundation) has worked toward social and environmental justice by seeding over 200 grassroots organizations, through $10M in philanthropic support, for the inception of arts, education, media, environment, and film initiatives, internationally, nationally, and across California. MOZAIK’s mission is to explore and model new practices in philanthropy with disruptive, creative, and catalytic potential. In 2020, the organization invited communities to help govern its grant-making decisions, democratizing access to the foundation’s philanthropic equity, while exploring new modes of participatory, inclusionary and socially innovative grantmaking. This approach encourages the dynamic flow of financial and social capital spontaneously through the hands of new funders in an effort to democratize philanthropy.

The Future Art Awards was created to keep people connected to the essential power of art during this period of social distancing and upheaval. All entries should represent a thought-provoking response to the current pandemic, although the works do not necessarily need to have been created during the crisis. “We are living through a unique moment in human history where the power of art bears witness to the struggle, resistance, and resilience of the times”, said Keely Badger, MOZAIK’s Executive Director. “Art has always transformed culture; it shapes us, deepens us, and it sustains us. We believe there is no greater time in human history to curate creative perspectives that offer us a vision of what could come next — a future, re-imagined”.

The inclusive contest is open to all professional and amateur U.S. artists, and entries may be submitted through May 17th, an extension of the deadline to allow more artists to participate.

All mediums are welcome, including visual/media arts, sound arts, performance, and social practice. People of Color, Native people, Queer people, Women, and other historically marginalized or underrepresented people are encouraged to submit their art. Winners will be announced at the end of May, with cash gifts of $2,000 awarded to each of ten winning submissions. A juried virtual exhibition showcasing the featured works will follow in June 2020. "We recognize the realities of this deeply challenging time for everyone, especially those working within the arts community. As a foundation we want to support the national arts community through this initiative. We hope to continue programming additional opportunities for artists over the coming months", MOZAIK Development Director Daria Mashouf added. To deepen MOZAIK’s commitment to flow funding as a model for diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy, the organization has invited its 2019 flow founders in the arts to serve as judges for the Future Art Awards.

The judges will be:

Tom Franco, Fine Art Sculptor

Tom is the co-founder and sole director of the Firehouse Art Collective since 2004, which is a progression of four community art spaces providing art studios, communal housing, and event spaces in the East Bay Area, California (namely Berkeley and Oakland). In 2020, Firehouse will expand to Los Angeles and Reno, Nevada. ·

Libre Gutierrez, Visual Artist

Libre’s interest in artistic expression started at a young age with influences in the 90s graffiti scene in the streets of his native Tijuana. Today, his renowned murals, sculptures, and artist workshops span 26 countries and 5 continents, including a number of urban art projects across Los Angeles.

Shiva Balaghi, Cultural Historian

Shiva specializes in the arts of the Middle East and its diasporic communities. For nearly two decades, she taught at NYU and Brown University. She is currently Senior Advisor to the President and Provost of the American University in Cairo for Arts and Cultural Programs.

Marxel Leobez, Multi-media Artist

Marxel’s work addresses themes of connectivity via gender, race, sex/sexuality and pop culture. His depictions of various subjects are brought to life through vibrant color, varied texture, materials, and personal symbolic iconography from his mixed Latin and European ancestry.

Dawn Mendelson, Artist and Managing Director of Piece by Piece

Dawn has been creating and teaching mosaic art for over 20 years, specializing in the pique assiette style. She is the managing director of Piece by Piece, a non-profit organization that brings mosaic art to inner-city communities, including South Central Los Angeles.

Atossa Soltani, Systems Change Strategist

Atossa is a campaign strategist, storyteller, and systems thinker who has been working for indigenous rights and rainforest protection for three decades. She is the founder and board president of the nonprofit organization Amazon Watch and recently helped launch Artists for Amazonia.

Votan Ik, Indigenous Rights Artist

Votan’s work blends the knowledge of his ancestry, graphic design, street art, and issues facing native peoples today. He is also the owner and founder of NSRGNTS, a collective and band that uses indigenous oral tradition, resistance, and Native accomplishments to add strength to indigenous resilience.

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