The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation Announces 2019 Grantees

Vital support to be given to 57 cultural leaders in artistic activism, grass-roots organizations, and community-based institutions throughout New York City.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Scoring the Stacks , 2019. Installation at Brooklyn Public Library.  Photograph courtesy of the artist. [image description: photograph taken in Brooklyn Library from second floor depicting the opposite balcony, where text printed on the balcony walkway says “having abandoned the flimsy fantasy of certainty, i decided to wander”]

Kameelah Janan Rasheed,Scoring the Stacks, 2019. Installation at Brooklyn Public Library.

Photograph courtesy of the artist. [image description: photograph taken in Brooklyn Library from second floor depicting the opposite balcony, where text printed on the balcony walkway says “having abandoned the flimsy fantasy of certainty, i decided to wander”]

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation is pleased to announce the grant recipients for 2019, following the fourth annual art and social justice open call. Fifty-seven organizations across the five boroughs of New York City have been selected for their commitment to social justice through activities like artistic activism, arts education, programming in community-based museums, and emerging artistic practices.

For more than 20 years, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation has championed access to the arts and culture as well as social justice organizations. The Rubin Foundation continues to support organizations who use art as a tool for advocacy and creative change, inclusive community engagement, and the promotion of greater civic participation and public discourse. The contributions provided will assist in educational programs, activist initiatives, and artist residencies, as well as support for exhibitions, performances, artistic production, special projects, and operations.

The organizations selected demonstrate the art and social justice initiative's values - equity, accessibility, and fair pay to artists, activists, and cultural producers - that will result in a range of programming approaches, forms of socially engaged art, organizational scales, and missions. Awards this year once again recognize smaller organizations at the forefront of innovating cultural production that impact civic life both socially and politically, many of which bring artists to the table to take part in institutional decision-making.

This year's applications included projects and programs that address a range of pressing, contemporary issues including LGBTQ rights, distributive justice, sanctuary, court diversion for youth, feminism, disability rights, food justice, and domestic violence, among others. Grantees include Fourth Arts Block, Disability/Arts/NYC, JACK, Alice Austen House, Photo Requests from Solitary (A Project of Solitary Watch), Wendy's Subway, and Forward Union, to name a few. 

The 2019 Rubin Foundation art and social justice grants awarded continue to recognize the importance of community-based museums as neighborhood anchors, like El Museo del Barrio, Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art, Museum of Chinese in America, Queens Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling. 

A number of artist residency and workspace programs have received support: FiveMyles for its winter residency for artists; Residency Unlimited for their New York City Artist Safe Haven Prototype; BronxArtSpace's studios for Bronx-based artists; Culture Push's Fellowship for Utopian Practice, and Friends of Materials for the Arts' artist-in-residence studio.

The Foundation is also contributing to a number of professional development programs for emerging arts professionals, such as the Caribbean Cultural Center's African Diaspora Institute's Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship, No Longer Empty's NLE Curatorial Lab, and Art Beyond Sight's Art and Disability Residency Toolkit.

A number of funded organizations address court diversion and recidivism prevention, including Recess, the Incorrigibles Project, Young New Yorkers, and Musicambia.

"This year's awards recognize organizations both large and small that have modeled new ways of working collaboratively, across disciplinary lines, connecting New York City's public with experimental and emerging artistic practices that intersect with activist efforts," states Sara Reisman, Executive and Artistic Director of the Foundation, "As in previous years, we are supporting organizations that facilitate creative programs of the highest artistic caliber, with an unwavering commitment to social and political engagement and a proven capacity to involve historically overlooked audiences."

2019 Grant Recipients

A.I.R. Gallery

Anthology Film Archives

Art Beyond Sight

BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance

Brooklyn PublicLibrary 

Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) 

Cave Canem Foundation

Creative Time, Inc.

CUE Art Foundation

Culture Push

Dance Theatre Etcetera

Dancing in the Streets


El Museo del Barrio


Forward Union

Fourth Arts Block


Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.

Freshkills Park Alliance

Friends of Alice Austen House

Friends of Materials for the Arts



ISSUE Project Room


Heidi Latsky Dance

The Laundromat Project

Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

More Art

Movement Research

Museum of Chinese in America


BOMB Magazine

No Longer Empty

Nuyorican Poets Café



Photo Requests from Solitary (A Project of Solitary Watch)

Queens Museum

Queens Theatre


Residency Unlimited

Social Practice Queens (SPQ)

Socrates Sculpture Park

Studio in a School

The Studio Museum in Harlem

Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling

Center for Urban Pedagogy

Feminist Press

Theatre of the Oppressed NYC

Triangle Arts Association

viBe Theater Experience

Visual AIDS

Wendy's Subway

Working Artists and the Greater Economy

Young New Yorkers

In addition to providing integral financial support, the Foundation will continue to bring together grant recipients and the public for workshops, panels, and events at The 8th Floor - the Foundation's exhibition and programming space. These events will offer a platform for dialogue and exchange between organizations to strengthen their work, and build a sense of community while promoting social justice through art.

About The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation

The Foundation believes in art as a cornerstone of cohesive, resilient communities and greater participation in civic life. In its mission to make art available to the broader public, in particular to underserved communities, the Foundation provides direct support to, and facilitates partnerships between, cultural organizations and advocates of social justice across the public and private sectors. Through grantmaking, the Foundation supports cross-disciplinary work connecting art with social justice via experimental collaborations, as well as extending cultural resources to organizations and areas of New York City in need.

Anjuli Nanda