Instagram was thrilled to announce the launch of Black Design Visionaries on June 16, 2021, in collaboration with Brooklyn Museum. This program is to “empower”, “center” and “invest” in the black design community. It’s based on Instagram’s design values, i.e, simplicity, craft, and the belief that everyone is worthy of great design. Chicago Mobile Makers, The Hidden Genius Project, and The Inneract Project are the three organisations who are going to guide and mentor the Black designers. As per Instagram’s @design, “We will award three $10,000 grants to aspiring Black designers between the ages of 18 and 30, as well as one $100,000 grant to a small, Black-led design business no more than 10 years into its practice.” The series of four grants which will be totaling to $130,000 will help in uplifting the aspiring and up-and-coming black designers of the United States.
Justina Blakeney, Ruth E. Carter, Rick Lowe, Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, Heron Preston, Ian Spalter, Toni L. Griffin, Bobby C. Martin Jr., Asad Syrkett, and Antwaun Sargent are the ten “trailblazing designers and design thought leaders on the #BlackDesignVisionaries grant committee.” Justina Blakeney is the founder and creative director of Jungalow, Ruth E. Carter is an Oscar-winning costume designer, Rick Lowe is an artist and professor at the University of Houston, Sarah Elizabeth Lewis is the founder of Vision & Justice Project and an associate professor at Harvard University, Heron Preston is an artist and designer, Ian Spalter is the head of Japan’s Instagram, Toni L. Griffin is the founder of urbanAc, director of The Just City Lab and professor in practice at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Bobby C. Martin Jr. is co-founder of Champions Design, Asad Syrkett is editor-in-chief of Elle Decor, and Antwaun Sargent is a writer, curator, and designer at Gagosian Gallery.
Here’s the part I of ASL interpretation by Deon Harrell, Antwaun Sargent, and Kristen Joy Watts in conversation with Ian Spalter and Maya Bird-Murphy of Chicago Mobile Makers about Black Design Visionaries. The live room was created with Antwaun as an opening launch for the black designers.
The last date for the application was June 16, 2021. Brent Reaney, Claudia Lucia, Jaxon Photo Group, Justin Bettman, Naima Green, Quil Lemons, and Stephanie Mitchell were behind the Grant committee portraits. The design field needs to be inclusive. So, Kudos to Instagram and Brooklyn Museum for coming up with this exceptional idea of Black Design Visionaries! As Antwaun Sargent stated, “Design has a profound impact on the shape of our daily lives. Because of that, it is vitally important that design is inclusive for all.”