Seed and Bloom: Detroit $1.5 Million Grant Program Empowers BIPOC Artists to Flourish

(photo: Art by Halima Afi Cassells: Halima is the founder of The Free Market of Detroit and an award-winning, interdisciplinary, community-engaged artist.)

The Gilbert Family Foundation and United States Artists announced a new initiative, Seed and Bloom: Detroit, designed to empower Detroit-based Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists. This program aims to nurture their artistic endeavors into thriving businesses embedded within Detroit neighborhoods.

The inaugural cycle welcomes a cohort of ten artists offering them a three-year journey. Each artist will receive $150,000 in flexible funding, distributed over the three years, along with professional guidance from Artspace and Strategic Planning Partners. United States Artists will work closely with each participant to define their goals and pave the way for growth, sustainability, and success. Furthermore, the program will adapt and offer additional resources based on the specific needs of the cohort.

“Artists act as both entrepreneurs and innovators,” highlighted Laura Grannemann, Executive Director of the Gilbert Family Foundation. “Their creations not only challenge us to reimagine beauty, humanity, and society, but also foster deeper connections within our city.” Through Seed and Bloom: Detroit, the foundation aims to expand access to neighborhood-based art by supporting artists and their organizations with financial assistance, professional guidance, and more.

This initiative aligns with the Gilbert Family Foundation’s mission of promoting greater access to the arts for all while fostering a more equitable arts and culture scene in Detroit. By empowering BIPOC artists deeply rooted in the community, Seed and Bloom: Detroit empowers these individuals to further their impact within Detroit’s neighborhoods.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Gilbert Family Foundation in launching Seed and Bloom: Detroit,” said Judilee Reed, President and CEO of United States Artists. “When artists are adequately supported, they ignite inspiring possibilities that benefit their communities in countless ways. We are excited to collaborate on a project prioritizing the long-term success of Detroit artists.”

Asia Hamilton, founder of Norwest Gallery, expressed her gratitude, stating, “We are truly grateful to be recognized and supported by the Detroit community and the Gilbert Family Foundation. This incredible opportunity allows us to expand our work, building a legacy for future generations of artists.”

The first group of Seed and Bloom: Detroit grantees includes:

  • jes allie, BULK Space
  • Juanita Anderson, Indija Productions
  • Halima Afi Cassells, The Free Market of Detroit
  • Amelia “Fiera” Duran, Garage Cultural
  • Asia Hamilton, Norwest Gallery of Art / Norwest Community Collaborative
  • Danielle Eliska Lyle, Neighborhood Bodega
  • Michael Manson, House of Jit
  • Tiff Massey, Tiff Massey Studios
  • Ryan Myers-Johnson, Sidewalk Detroit
  • Yvette Rock, Live Coal

A panel of prominent figures in the arts and culture scene selected the cohort, including Shannon Maldonado (Yowie founder), Shani Peters (The Black School Co-Director/Managing Director), Omari Rush (CultureSource Executive Director), and Nathaniel Wallace (Michigan Central Head of Civic Partnerships).

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