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New round of People's Liberty grants available as first year starts to wind down

People's Liberty staff offers "answer time" sessions to prospective applicants for all of its grant programs


The next few months will be busy at People’s Liberty, with new grantees announced, current grantees premiering project results and two grant application deadlines.
 
Last week, the organization announced the three winners of their Globe Grants for 2016, an opportunity that gives projects $15,000 and three months to create some kind of innovative installation or programming in the People’s Liberty Globe Gallery space on Elm Street across from Findlay Market. The 2016 group of grantees features a photography exhibit of African-American men as Kings, a “toy library” for both children and adults and a chain-reaction space-filling machine art installation reminiscent of Rube Goldberg. Winners Nina Wells, Julia Fischer and Michael DeMaria should provide some captivating experiences in the space in its second year of installations.
 
The first year has one exhibit left: Deep Space, a nontraditional installation by Amy Lynch, Joel Masters and J.D. Loughead that provides an environment for creativity rather than presenting its finished products. It aims to be an “indeterminate space, a nebulous nurturing envelopment where creativity can thrive unencumbered.”
 
Deep Space will open with an event during Over-the-Rhine’s Final Friday on Oct. 30, finishing out the first full cycle of one of the three main People’s Liberty grants. The first two Globe Gallery projects were Jason Snell’s Good Eggs (March-June) and C. Jacqueline Wood’s Mini Microcinema (July-Sept. 3).
 
People’s Liberty launched a little over a year ago to provide opportunities for “new philanthropy” in Cincinnati. Founded by Eric Avner and Amy Goodwin via the U.S. Bank/Haile Foundation and Johnson Foundation, the philanthropic lab invests in individuals and human talent rather than the traditional model of foundations making grants to nonprofit organizations.
Aurore Fournier
“I think this model gives us the opportunity to advance someone’s career,” says Aurore Fournier, a program director at People’s Liberty. “Sometimes we can even help them figure out what they want to do next.”
 
She expects People’s Liberty to continue expanding its marketing to reach an even wider pool of potential grantees.
 
“We want to strive toward even more great applicants,” Fournier says. “We want people to come from all over the I-275 beltway area.”
 
Fournier encourages everyone with an idea to apply for two upcoming grant opportunities. The first, due Wednesday, Sept. 9, is the Project Grant, which gives each winner $10,000 to complete a short-term project in Cincinnati.

The previous round of projects ranged from a cultural dance event to real-time arrival signs at Metro stops. Several of that group of grantees have their own milestones coming up this fall.

Alyssa McClanahan and John Blatchford just published the first issue of their Kunst: Built Art magazine with a series of events in Over-the-Rhine. Mark Mussman’s first class of Creative App Project students will premiere their finished Android apps at the Globe Building on Sept. 14. Giacomo Ciminello’s Spaced Invaders had a successful first test in Walnut Hills recently.
 
The Project Grantees aren’t the only ones making progress.

The first two recipients of the full-year $100,000 Haile Fellowship are also coming to the culminating stages of their projects. Brad Schnittger will soon launch the MusicLi platform to help connect local artists to music licensing opportunities, while Brad Cooper’s Start Small tiny homes project is due to break ground in October.
 
The application for next year’s Haile Fellowship will be open until Oct. 1, with a variety of opportunities for applicants to consult with People’s Liberty staff about their ideas.
 
Fournier sees the Haile Fellowship and Project Grants as a way for individuals not only to realize their ideas but to learn and grow in the process.
 
“This is not just a learning experience for us,” she says, “but also a learning opportunity for the people we fund.”
 
People’s Liberty staff members are proud of the work they’ve done and the people and projects in which they’ve invested so far. The five-year project will continue until 2020, when the team and funders will take some time to reflect on their work, its impact and what might be next.
 
“We’re extremely happy with the results,” Fournier says. “The opportunities are endless, and I think only time will tell with People’s Liberty.”
 

Read more articles by Nancy Yerian.

Nancy Yerian is an independent public historian interested in local history and the power of museums. She graduated from Smith College with a major in American History and a concentration in Museum Studies.
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