On Tuesday, artist Carrie Mae Weems was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. The award, a sum of $625,000, is also known as the “Genius Grant”.
Born in 1953, in Portland, Oregon, Weems is a visual artist whose life’s work is an amalgam of photographs, video and film focusing on the portrayal of race, identity and politics in African American life.
In interviews, she has said that she is concerned about the exclusion of images of the Black community, particularly Black women, from the popular media.
The grant is among several others she’s received of late. This year, she received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; the State Department’s Medal of Arts; and the Gordon Parks Foundation award.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Weems talks about one of her projects geared towards getting inner-city kids involved with the arts. “The Institute of Sound and Style introduces kids to different aspects of popular culture. It’s a summer program, we run for four weeks over the course of the summer. We give them at least the minimum wage, and we train them in various aspects of the arts, giving them the skills that they need — and introducing them to the skills and ideas that they need to fashion another life for themselves. And it’s truly one of the most exciting things that I’m involved in. It’s really a fabulous project, and I tell you, I get as much out of it as the kids. So that’s what I’m working on, that’s my heart’s desire. And we take donations,” she says.
Read more at The New York Times.