For the 2023 edition of the New York Fair, 1-54 was pleased to collaborate with ARTNOIR on a series of events as part of the VIP programme. ARTNOIR is a female-majority and black + brown owned, NYC based global collective and 501(c)(3) with a mission to celebrate and highlight the work of creatives of color while catalyzing cultural equity across the arts and culture industries.
ARTNOIR began as a group of friends organizing “field trips” to museums, galleries, and art fairs around the globe but has evolved over the years. What is the mission and the scope of the collective today?
Our mission is to close the racial equity gap in the art world specifically by supporting emerging artists, collectors, and curators of color, connecting them in community, and leveraging the power of our collective to create safe spaces for black and brown people to explore and expand the boundaries of creativity. Two of our signature programs are the Jar of Love Fund, unrestricted micro grants for artists, curators and cultural producers of color and a scholarship program with CUNY MFA Studio Art Programs. The ARTNOIR ‘field trips’ have expanded in scope and reach as well. They remain a core part of how we achieve our mission and they reflect everything we love and bring to the culture.
Does today’s art world feel more accessible than it did when ARTNOIR first began?
This new state of the art world, where you see a somewhat strong presence of artists and cultural agents of color not only getting recognized and celebrated but occupying key roles at different institutions, has been brewing for a while. It’s fair to point out that when ARTNOIR started to take form 10 years ago, a handful of POC artists and curators/directors were already breaking “the ceiling.” Still, more recently, particular events, including the pandemic and the George Floyd case, it felt that long-due access was imminent, and the people demanded this to become the norm moving forward finally; therefore, we are hoping that this “access” isn’t performative and instead reassured and long-lasting.
Many of the collective’s founding members come from non-arts backgrounds. How did you all become interested in art?
Although we do not necessarily all have traditional art backgrounds, we collectively share the tenets of being community leaders, attentive hosts, care deeply and have a passion for the arts. We found solidarity in entering what sometimes can be intimidating institutional spaces and invited others to join, hence engaging our communities with each other and thus the wider art world. We also all are driven by a unified purpose of upholding our people and breaking down barriers to create space and access points for black and brown creativity to be celebrated.
Did you discover any emerging artists over New York art week, whose career you’re excited to follow over the coming years?
There were a number of artists that we discovered during New York Art week that we are excited to follow, be engaged with, become a steward of their work, and hopefully collaborate with in the future. Antonio Obá is a Brazilian artist who investigates the construction of Black bodies in historical and political narratives. The second artist was Turiya Magadlela , a South African artist who sews and embroiders nylon pantyhose in addition to other fabrics with charged history in order to utilize them as a vehicle to spark a dialogue around related gender and society. Edozie Anedu is a young artist exploring coming of age and identity through ancestry. The future looks real bright for many of these artists.
How will we see ARTNOIR growing and evolving in the next few years?
As we mentioned earlier, this year ARTNOIR turns 10! What an incredible ride it has been for us and this labor of love that we all feel is just the beginning of our 100 -Year Plan. Props to Ouigi. We are excited to continue to expand the reach of ARTNOIR by deepening our relationships with artists of color globally, supporting curators & producers of color and our communities of art enthusiasts. We plan to grow our scholarship efforts, redistribute more fiscal resources to our art community and increase our art based programming focused on families – making our experiences more intergenerational. Rumor also has it that our co-founders and incredible curators , Larry & Danny, will join forces to curate a group show to honor our 10 year milestone. We look forward to supporting the next generation of artists who will bring their authentic stories and artistic practice to the world in new and exciting ways.
Learn more about ARTNOIR Here.