Space Gallery announced $65,000 in funding for Maine artists on Friday as part of its 2018 cycle of the Kindling Fund, which rewards artists who take risks and experiment with projects that engage the community, create dialogue and encourage collaboration.

This is the fourth year Space has administered the Kindling Fund. It is one of 11 national grant programs supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts. This year’s grants range from $3,959 to $5,000 and represent direct funding to 13 artists and their collaborators.

The projects that were selected include the creation of an experimental artist smart phone app, a photography and writing project profiling people of color in Maine, multiple artist residency programs, and a site-specific project at Portland Fish Exchange called “Chasing the White Whale” combining theater, multimedia projections, a visual arts installation, music and a story about the opioid epidemic as it relates to Maine’s fishing community.

“The Kindling Fund offers a level of support to artists who might not have access to other granting opportunities in the state,” said Elizabeth Spavento, who administers the Kindling Fund for Space and handles the art center’s visual arts programming. “One of the strongest things the Kindling Fund does is it prioritizes individual artists and individual artist’s ideas.”

Grantees are Yoon S. Byun, Mali Mrozinski/Doublet Design, Cody Ross, Jenna Crowder/The Chart, Michael Gorman, Deborah Wing-Sproul, Alexis Iammarino, New Fruit collective, Juliette Walker and Devin Shepherd, Sarah Baldwin, Jessica Hankey, Pilar Nadal/ Pickwick Independent Press, and Myron M. Beasley.

Spavento said artists from across Maine applied for grants. “We have tried to expand our outreach, and we are happy to report, this is the first year we received an equal number of applications from outside Portland as we did for Portland-centric ideas,” she said. “Word is getting out that this is a statewide opportunity.”

A panel of three jurors selected the projects from 40 applications. This year’s jurors were Katy Vonk, a Minneapolis- based visual artist, librarian and Visual Arts Fund administrator at Midway Contemporary Arts; Xander Marro, a Providence, Rhode Island-based artist, arts nonprofit director and co-founder of the feminist arts collective Dirt Palace; and Derek Jackson, a Portland artist and 2017 Kindling Fund grant recipient.

The gallery’s executive director, Kelsey Halliday Johnson, said the Kindling Fund offers “new possibilities” for artists in Maine. “In a larger cultural moment where direct funding opportunities for artists continues to be at risk, this year’s important projects demonstrate the vibrancy of contemporary practice throughout the state,” she said in a statement. “The self-organized artist projects supported by this year’s Kindling Fund play a critical role in both pushing artistic boundaries and reflecting on the changing world we live in.”

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