Instagram has now officially announced the next stage of its #BlackVisionaries funding program, which, in conjunction with the Brooklyn Museum, will see Instagram allocate $650,000 in grants to Black artists, Black designers, and Black-owned small businesses.
As explained by Instagram, to empower, center, and invest in aspiring Black voices within art and design, we are debuting the 2022 #BlackVisionaries program together with the Brooklyn Museum. As part of this debut, Instagram is awarding $650,000 in grants to Black artists, Black designers, and Black small businesses.
For the last three years, Instagram has collaborated with the Brooklyn Museum and Antwaun Sargent (writer, curator & #BlackVisionaries Creative Chair) to uplift and support historically excluded creative voices. And today we work together to uplift, center, and invest in Black voices and organizations working in art and design.
Last year, the #BlackVisionaries program awarded five Black designers, including a Black-led small design business, $205,000 in grants. This year, Instagram will award 10 #BlackVisionaries grants in partnership with the Brooklyn Museum. This includes five $100,000 Visionary Small Business Grants for Black-led organizations in the US focused on design.
With the support of Meta Open Arts, we’re also awarding five $30,000 Emerging Visionary Grants for individuals focused on art and design based in the U.S. Instagram and the Brooklyn Museum will also award mentorship to each grant recipient together with Mobile Makers, a nonprofit organization that offers youth design and skill-building workshops in Chicago and Boston communities.
Grant recipients will be selected by a committee of artists and designers led by Antwaun Sargent, including Elle Decor Editor-in-Chief Asad Syrkett, Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth Carter, and Head of Design at Instagram Ian Spalter.
“Most folks who don’t have traditional pathways into spaces like the arts and design just need opportunity,” says Sargent. “A grant like this could mean a world of opportunity.”
Black creators have a significant cultural impact, which is not always recognized by social platforms, while Black-owned businesses have also been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Indeed, according to data from the Federal Reserve, 41% of Black-owned businesses in the US were forced to shut down early in the pandemic, while only 17% of White-owned businesses shuttered during the same period. Research also shows that Black-owned businesses are 20% less likely than white-owned organizations to obtain a loan from a large bank, while Meta’s own ‘State of Small Business’ report shows that businesses in majority-minority neighborhoods continually face poorer business outcomes and higher closure rates.
Those impacts extend to all sectors, and it’s important that, where possible, platforms like Instagram look to provide support for the arts and small business communities that often power engagement within the app.
As such, this is both a logical and compassionate initiative, which will help provide much-needed assurance for many brands.
Applications for this year’s #BlackVisionaries program will open on June 28th, and you can apply here.