The Rockefeller Foundation Announces The Artist Impact Initiative in Partnership with Creative Time and Pioneer Works

The Rockefeller Foundation launches The Artist Impact Initiative with Creative Time and Pioneer Works. This initiative is supported by two grants from The Rockefeller Foundation in order to provide support to a diverse range of New York City-based artists to advance ambitious projects that address the global challenges impacting local communities. The initiative has two fellowship programs supporting 20 artists for one-year fellowships over a two-year period, providing them with $50,000 each, and additional support to develop their projects.

Creative Time launches the Research & Develop (R&D) Fellowship, designed to support interdisciplinary research and development of projects by artists with an established record in socially engaged art. Pioneer Works launches The Working Artist Fellowship, designed for mid-career and emerging artists interested in exploring new approaches to advancing social cohesion through creative solutions.

The organizations are pleased to simultaneously announce the inaugural cohort of ten fellows: Creative Time welcomes Guadalupe Maravilla, Carlos Motta, Linda Goode Bryant, Stephanie Dinkins, and Emily Johnson into their R&D Fellowship; Pioneer Works welcomes Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne, Erin Johnson, Irreversible Entanglement (Keir Neuringer, Camae Ayewa a.k.a. Moor Mother, Luke Stewart, Aquiles Navarro, Tcheser Holmes), Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Carrie Wang into The Working Artist Fellowship. With this initiative, it is the shared ambition of The Rockefeller Foundation, Creative Time, and Pioneer Works to position artists as leaders in processes of social change, recognizing art-based initiatives as an innovative and highly effective means of elevating dialogue and fostering collective action to address the most pressing issues of the 21st century. “Artists have always been leaders of social change. With this fellowship, The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support artists in the NYC community who foster dialogue and inspire action on the most critical issues of our time,” said Sarah Geisenheimer, Vice President of Convenings & Networks at The Rockefeller Foundation. The R&D Fellowship will act as a catalyst for an artist with a well-defined concept, perhaps already underway, and connecting them to an interdisciplinary network of collaborators and advisers to develop their work in the public realm at a meaningful depth or scale. Creative Time will provide access to an interdisciplinary group of advisors relevant to each proposed project to support project research and initiate collaborations. The R&D Fellowship is facilitated by Creative Time’s Curator. Creative Time will also offer unlimited access to its new programming space to artist fellows.

“At Creative Time we have long held the belief that artists’ voices and visions are instrumental to social change,” said Justine Ludwig, Creative Time Executive Director. “It is imperative that we support socially engaged artists through experimentation, and the process of the work”.“Socially engaged art projects take years to develop, but that period of R&D is rarely resourced,” said Diya Vij, Creative Time Curator. “Institutions are interested in the transformative outcome but this is process-based work. It takes time. The Creative Time R&D Fellowship allows us to support artists financially and intellectually as they build interdisciplinary projects that move art outside the silos of the art world and into public life.”The Working Artist Fellowship will serve as an extension and enhancement of the existing Pioneer Works Residency Program, allowing Alumni Residents to continue developing or fully realize new work. Pioneer Works will provide a range of resources including teaching and public engagement opportunities, production resources, mentorship, and advisors to support artists who want to deepen and expand their connection to socially-engaged modes of creating.

“The Working Artist Fellowship builds on Pioneer Works's commitment to supporting artist residencies, empowering them to produce experimental, groundbreaking works that both respond to and reflect upon our times,” said Mara Manus, Pioneer Works Chief Executive Officer.

“In 2020, when the financial burden taken on by artists completing residencies significantly worsened and became impossible to ignore, especially in New York City, we began offering a stipend to our residents. Since we’ve been able to make modest increases over the past few years,” said Christina Daniels, Pioneer Works Director of Residencies and Classes. “We are beyond excited to partner with The Rockefeller Foundation on the Working Artist Fellowship. This feels like five more steps in the right direction: to be able to offer such robust funding to Alumni Residents via a dedicated living wage award and a healthy production budget.”

Artists who are working in socially-engaged practices, creating new pathways and modalities to address critical challenges and foster social change, have been historically overlooked within the creative sector often lacking consistent funding and resources. With the creation of these fellowship opportunities, New York City-based artists who are driving community engagement and dialogue through their work will be recognized and positioned as vital urban leaders who bring unique skill sets, modes of working, organizing and creating, to address critical issues that impact the lives of New Yorkers.

The Artist Impact Initiative is established through a passionate belief in, and commitment to, three simple goals:

  • To demonstrate the social impact of contemporary art practices and center artists as leaders. The initiative will advance art projects that are designed to address pressing social challenges in New York City communities, inspiring public engagement on issue areas aligned with The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission. Artists will be positioned as leaders whose work is a powerful and innovative means to elevate dialogue and inspire action to address the most pressing issues of the 21st century.

  • To expand the capacity of 20 New York City-based artists to produce socially-engaged art, amplify their impact, and extend their reach. The Initiative will financially empower twenty leading New York City-based artists to either conceptualize new projects or work on existing projects that can be accelerated through the support of the fellowship. It will also provide Artist Fellows with support structures that will amplify their work and expand their audiences through exhibition, convenings, mentorship, communications, and network opportunities.
  • To positively impact New York City by lifting up people and communities across all five boroughs. The Initiative will support artists who are fostering dialogue, ideas, and innovation through their work, inspiring positive local action that uplifts New York City communities and increases human capacity to adapt to present and future challenges within a dynamic social, environmental and political landscape.


  • Guadalupe Maravilla – Combining sculpture, painting, performative acts, and installation, rooted in activism and healing, Guadalupe Maravilla’s (b. 1976) work draws from diverse visual cultures and is autobiographical, touching on his undocumented migration to the United States during the Salvadoran Civil War. Across various media, Maravilla explores the physical impact of systemic immigrant abuse on the body, reflecting his own battle with cancer. He holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and an MFA from Hunter College, New York. His pieces are in the permanent collections of major institutions worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and more. Maravilla has garnered numerous awards and fellowships, such as a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and Soros Fellowship. He has exhibited solo shows at prestigious venues and participated in group exhibitions internationally. Currently, you can view his solo exhibition "Guadalupe Maravilla: Mariposa Relámpago" at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston’s Watershed until September 4, 2023. In the coming months, his work will be featured in the 12th Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art and the 35th Bienal De SĂŁo Paulo.

  • Carlos Motta – An artist based in New York. He has an upcoming mid-career survey exhibition at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in 2024. He presented survey exhibitions at Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá (MAMBO) (2023) and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus (2022). His work was included in Signals: How Video Transformed the World at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (2023) the 58th Carnegie International (2022), Film at Lincoln Center’s Art of the Real (2021), and the 11th Berlin Biennale (2020). His work is in the permanent collections of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Guggenheim Museum, Museo Reina SofĂ­a, Madrid, amongst many others. He was a Penn Mellon Just Futures Initiative Grant grantee (2023), a Rockefeller Brothers Fund Grant grantee (2019), was awarded The Vilcek Foundation Prize for Creative Promise (2017), The PinchukArtCentre’s Future Generation Art Prize (2014), and a Guggenheim fellowship (2008). He is an associate professor of Interdisciplinary Practice in Fine Arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

  • Linda Goode Bryant — An artist, filmmaker, and Founder and President of Project EATS–a living installation transforming vacant lots and rooftops into neighborhood-based farms catalyzing creativity and cultivating greater food sovereignty across New York City. She is also the Founder of Just Above Midtown gallery–a laboratory that foregrounded the work of African American artists between 1974–1986. She won a Peabody Award for the film Flag Wars (2003) and in 2020, she was a recipient of an Anonymous Was a Woman Award and a United States Artists Berresford Prize. She is a former Guggenheim Fellow. In 2021, Goode-Bryant created the installation “Are We Really That Different” in collaboration with architect Liz Diller for the exhibition, Social Works, at Gagosian Gallery (NY). In 2022 she was lead faculty for the RAW Material Academy Session 9 and Exhibition, in collaboration with the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia. She worked in collaboration with Thomas J. Lax, Curator and Lilia Rocio Taboada, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance, in organizing the Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, October 2022 – February 2023.

  • Stephanie Dinkins – An artist and educator whose research centers emerging technologies, documentary practices, and social collaboration toward equitable social and technological ecosystems. She is interested in exploring the intersections of love and data, stories that uphold and challenge the status quo, and technologies that prioritize societal care. Her work in AI and other mediums uses emerging technologies and social collaboration to work toward technological ecosystems based on care and social equity. Dinkins' experiences with and explorations in artificial intelligence have led to a deep interest in how algorithmic systems impact communities of color in particular and all of our futures more generally. Dinkins' experiments with AI have led full circle to recognize the stories, myths, and cultural perspectives, aka data, that we hold and share form and inform society and have done so for millennia. She has concluded that our stories are our algorithms.Dinkins exhibits and publicly advocates for inclusive AI internationally. In 2023 Dinkins was named an influencer on Time Magazine's list of The 100 Most Influential People in AI. She is the inaugural recipient of the LG-Guggenhiem Award for artists working at the intersection of art and technology. She is a Sundance Artist of Practice Fellow (2021/22), a United States Artist Fellow (2021), and a Knight Arts & Tech Fellow(2021), Lucas Artists Fellow in Visual Arts at Montalvo Art Center, CA (2019- 2022). Her work has also been generously supported by Onassis Foundation (2021), Nokia Bell Labs (2019- 2021), Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, FaceBook (META) FAIR (2021 - 2022), Creative Capital (2019), Soros Equality Fellowship (2018), Data and Society Research Institute Fellowship (2018), Sundance New Frontiers Story Lab, Eyebeam, Pioneer Works Tech Lab, A Blade of Grass, NEW INC, Blue Mountain Center, The Laundromat Project; Santa Fe Art Institute and Art/Omi. Wired, Art In America, Artsy, Art21, Hyperallergic, the BBC, The Nod Podcast,, and a host of popular podcasts and online publications have highlighted Dinkins' art and ideas.

  • Emily Johnson – An artist who makes body-based work. She is a land and water protector and an organizer for justice, sovereignty and well-being. A Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award, she is based in Lenapehoking / New York City. Emily is of the Yup’ik Nation, and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as portals and care processions, they engage audienceship within and through space, time, and environment- interacting with a place's architecture, peoples, history and role in building futures. Emily is trying to make a world where performance is part of life; where performance is an integral connection to each other, our environment, our stories, our past, present and future.Emily hosts monthly ceremonial fires on Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Arts Center and Karyn Recollet. She was the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council Diplomat at Santa Fe Opera 2018-2020, and a lead organizer of First Nations Dialogues. She was a co-compiler of the documents, Creating New Futures: Guidelines for Ethics and Equity in the Performing Arts and Notes for Equitable Funding, was a member of Creative Time’s inaugural Think Tank, and serves as a co-lead consortium member for First Nations Performing Arts.


  • Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne – Artists whose work examines the shifts in behaviors, desires, language and economics catalyzed by computational systems and the internet. In their collaborations they have simulated international organizations, run a real dating service in NYC, and read the entire Enron email archive. Recent works include Synthetic Messenger commissioned by STRP Festival, The New York Apartment commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Good Life commissioned by Rhizome. They are 2023 Creative Capital awardees and their work has been widely discussed in the media, in outlets such as Art Forum, The New Yorker, Marie Claire, The Ellen Show, Art in America, The World Almanac, Slovenian Public Radio and India Today. In 2015, the UN filed a complaint with the US Department of State about their work.The two propose Offset, an ongoing artistic research project into emerging carbon markets. It will take the form of a series of unconventional carbon offset mechanisms, installation works and virtual outcomes.

  • Erin Johnson – A visual artist and filmmaker based in New York. Her immersive installations and short films explore notions of collectivity, dissent, and queer identity. In her shape-shifting videos, constellations of artists, biologists, and film extras address the imbrication of science and nationalism.

    Johnson has proposed a year-long project that involves collaborating with individuals and organizations involved in both formal and informal waste recycling. The project will include interviews, writing workshops, and filming sessions with waste pickers, policymakers, climate activists, biologists, and labor organizers. These efforts will culminate in an experimental documentary that delves into what municipal waste management has excluded, suppressed, or forced out; and the ways that the aforementioned resist and reimagine laws, technologies, and economic mechanisms related to waste.

  • Irreversible Entanglement (IE) — A liberation-oriented free jazz collective formed in early 2015 by saxophonist Keir Neuringer, poet Camae Ayewa (a.k.a. Moor Mother), and bassist Luke Stewart, who came together to perform at a Musicians Against Police Brutality event organized after the slaying of Akai Gurley by the NYPD. Months later the group added trumpeter Aquiles Navarro and drummer Tcheser Holmes (a duo who also performed at the MAPB event) for a single day of recording at Seizure’s Palace in Brooklyn. Though free jazz with voice is an uncommon approach in the modern day landscape of the genre, the spirit and subject the band channels and explores represent a return to a central tenet of the sound as it was founded—to be a vehicle for Black liberation.IE proposes Speak Easy, the working title for a collective initiative that will continue to build a foundation for community abundance in the IE Universe through regular access to the Pioneer Works facilities and expertise from the Artist Impact Initiative Program. Speak Easy will showcase the vast communities represented by each member in the collective, under the banner of the “IE Universe,” incorporating the various multi-disciplinary pursuits therein. We aim to utilize New York City as an international city and creative hub, a launchpad for connecting communities locally and internationally.

  • Kameelah Janan Rasheed – A learner grappling with the poetics-pleasures-politics of Black knowledge production, information technologies, [un]learning, and belief formation. Most recently, they are a recipient of a 2022 Schering Stiftung Award for Artistic Research; a 2022 Creative Capital Award; a 2022 Betty Parsons Fellow – Artists2Artists Art Matters Award; and a 2022 Artists + Machine Intelligence Grants - Experiments with Google. Rasheed is the author of four artist’s books and is an adjunct instructor at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a Critic at Yale School of Art, Sculpture, and a Mentor-in-Residence with NEW Inc. Rasheed is represented by NOME Gallery in Berlin, Germany.Exploring the poetics, politics, and pleasures of diasporic Black play and games, PLAY PLAY, riffs of the Black vernacular "play play" to create a generative platform to explore the liberatory qualities of play. This platform functions across four domains: research (historically and contemporarily, how does diasporic Black play show up?); design (how can we design new games and opportunities for play?); activation (what might a Black arcade in the middle of Brooklyn look and feel like?); and publishing (how might we use publishing to share these moments of play beyond a specific geographic region?).

  • Carrie Wang – An artist and educator based in New York. Combining art, technology, and research, she makes performances, videos, and participatory experiences to explore the humanization of machines and the mechanization of humans. As an educator, she has designed and taught classes and workshops covering topics like creative coding, making artistic chatbots, and countering digital surveillance. She currently teaches at NYU in the Interactive Media Arts department.Wang proposes Collective AI, a socially engaged art project intended to empower young people from underserved communities to actively participate in critical dialogues concerning the risks involved in the development and utilization of AI language models. The project unfolds through a series of hands-on, process-driven workshops designed for participants to co-construct knowledge about ethical AI by coming together to collectively build AI chatbots in an explorative, transparent, and decentralized way. In addition to the workshops, the project will produce documentation and artistic artifacts that can be shared with the public, expanding the time and space for more people to join discussions shaping the future of AI.


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Since 1974, Creative Time has commissioned and presented ambitious public art projects with thousands of artists throughout New York City, across the country, around the world—even in outer space. The organization’s work is guided by three core values: art matters, artists’ voices are important in shaping society, and public spaces are places for creative and free expression. Creative Time is acclaimed for the innovative and meaningful projects they have commissioned, from ​Tribute in Light,​ the twin beacons of light that illuminated lower Manhattan six months after 9/11, to bus ads promoting HIV awareness, to Paul Chan’s production of Waiting for Godot in New Orleans​, and much more. In partnership with a variety of well-known cultural institutions and community groups, Creative Time has commissioned art in unique landmark sites from the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Governors Island, and the High Line, to neglected urban treasures like the Lower East Side’s historic Essex Street Market, Coney Island, and New Orleans’s Lower 9th Ward. Creative Time is committed to presenting important art for our times and engaging broad audiences that transcend geographic, racial, and socioeconomic barriers.


Pioneer Works is an artist and scientist-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit cultural center in Red Hook, Brooklyn that fosters innovative thinking through the visual and performing arts, technology, music, and science. We provide visual and performing artists, musicians, scientists, technologists, community organizers, and educators the resources and platform they need to expand their practices. Our approach encourages experimentation and empowers curious minds across diverse communities, knowledge bases, and frames of reference; in so doing, Pioneer Works aims to accelerate culture through the free exchange of ideas and information for all.