NBAF launched an Artist Project Fund in April 2020 to support Black Artists in their efforts to get back to work and continue projects stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting them in scaling their art across digital platforms. In 2020, we awarded small stipends to over 80 artists, providing resources to help navigate through difficult times and supported our artist community in continuing to create despite the challenges.

In 2021, the Artist Project Fund has evolved to take support beyond a relief stipend to further nurture amazing talent but on a longer trajectory. The focus is to strategically serve as a small arts generator, supporting the growth and development of artists by providing them with both financial and business support resources to be successful in marketplace and ensure projects thrive and contribute to economy.  NBAF intends to provide much needed exposure via programs and activations to help artists develop new audiences, strengthen their voices and advance their careers.  Please take a look at the 2021 group of Artist Project Fund recipients and their upcoming projects.

Meet the $5000 Recipients

Ashley Haze

About the Artist

About the Artist: Ashlee Haze is a poet and spoken word artist from Atlanta by way of Chicago. She has been a part of the Atlanta Poetry circuit for over a decade. Ashlee Haze is a 3- time Queen of the South poetry Slam Champion and 2- time National Poetry Slam semi-finalist. Ashlee is the host of Haze’s Higher Learning, an educational podcast for creatives. Her book “Smoke” was released April 20, 2020.

About the Project

Project Title: REVERE: A Portrait of the Black Woman as Divine

About the Project: Poets for the Revolution: A Virtual Protest is virtual performance of poetry and music centered on “the revolution” or poems about civil and human rights and the emotions African-Americans are collectively experiencing. Principle photography was completed Nov 16, 2020 at City Winery ATL and Artist Project Funding will go towards interview production, post production, and marketing of the final project. This project features five Atlanta-based poets and two musicians. The intention of this project is to give language to the collective revolution we are experiencing by providing well-crafted poetry to the masses. By incorporating guitar and harmonica, the goal is to present poetry that addresses our rage and our grief as folks who live in society’s margins. It is Ashlee’s hope that her community feels seen and are able to find comfort in the work that they share. The participating poets have composed work that challenges the status quo and brings to light the areas in which we most need healing. The goal of this work is to provide a balm in the form of reflective art that both acknowledges and eases collective pain..

About the Artist

About the Artist: Condua Nana is a Ghanaian-American dance educator and choreographer in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a dance educator at KIPP STRIVE Academy and the artistic director and owner of The Adinkra Project. He has a B.A. in English from Morehouse College and an M.A. in English from Clark Atlanta University. His research interests include Black manhood across the diaspora and cultural connections between native Africans and African Americans’ cultures. He uses his literary background and passion for dance to cultivate art and opportunities that aim to educate performers and audience members. He is passionate about creating opportunities that bridge the cultural connectedness of Black people globally and creating opportunities for other artists to showcase their talents.

About the Project

Project Title: Love & Liberation

About the Project: Love & Liberation is a live production that will display stories of love and liberation that have taken place throughout the history of the African diaspora. During this production, audience members will learn the history of Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa and how Black people gained their liberation from systemic oppression, West African street dances that celebrate freedom, and the beauty of Black love in the U.S. Love & Liberation will display the artistic abilities of many of the artists in the metro Atlanta community. The production is focused on the story of how Soweto was created in Johannesburg, South Africa as a way to keep Black persons secluded and treated as second class citizens in the early twentieth century. This piece is inspired by those experiences but also adds a fresh look on how love stories are often formed from our shared experiences, especially from our struggles together.

            Condua Nana

Gibron Sheppard

About the Artist

About the Artist: 2019 CFDA future of fashion graduate, Gibron Whitney Shepperd was born in a multicultural/multi-ethnic home in Southern California. The oldest of four children, he spent much of his youth in the nature of Northern California with his family. These exposures have influenced his perspectives on design, creating an attitude of a bourgeois bohemian. He creates for a design world that is sophisticated and sensitive. Shepperd is currently living in Atlanta, developing a brand that is both smart and beautiful. Ginron’s book, “ Sons of Abraham: A Visual Memoir,” is a collection of 15 poems and short essays along with process work and family photographs that explore further Shepperd’s Spring/Summer 2020 of the same name. Sons of Abraham is a study of the multicultural and multi-ethnic background of Shepperd himself. Through the text, he speaks on his identity within the Black community, his style’s correlation through his paternal lineage, and the joys of citrus and colors. Filled with memories of his youth in California, you can begin to see the proverbial thread that ties everything together.

About the Project

Project Title: Sabbath Afternoon curated by Gibron Shepperd

About the Project: Sabbath Afternoon presented by Artist Project Fund Recipient and Fashion Forward Finalist, Gibron Shepperd will explore rest through an afternoon of intention and carefully curated leisure activities. As a guest you will receive complimentary light bites & beverages as you navigate the gardens and on-site art installation at the venue. You will then join us in a social distance fashion near the amphitheater for an outdoor reading experience. This immersive experience highlights Gibron’s pioneering work in fashion while paying homage to his upbringing as he grew up as a seventh-day Adventist.

About the Artist

About the Artist: Raised in Kenosha, WI — Tyrell Blacquemoss (TBN) is a prophetic dreamworker and descendant of a long line of African priests and Turtle Island medicine people. As a scholarly researcher with a Bachelor’s of Fine Art with an emphasis in Africana Studies and Indigenous Studies from Cornell University, TBN reclaims and continues their family legacy of the science and art of dreaming. TBN has traveled globally studying with shaman, elders, and healers of the following traditions: African diasporic and Western Herbalism, Conjure, Hoodoo, Rootwork, Southern Folk Medicine, Pachakuti Mesa (Peruvian shamanism), Sonoran desert Curanderismo, Toltec – Chichimeca dreamplanting, and diasporic African and Japanese energy healing. They are a 2019-2020 fellow in Freedom School’s National Health and Healing Justice Fellowship. TBN is currently based in Tucson, AZ, training as a birth worker training and an MFA candidate at Prescott College in Social and Environmental Arts Practice with Patrisse Cullors.

About the Project

Project Title: Diasporic African Dream Anthology (DADA) Tour

About the Project: Diasporic African Dream Anthology, or DADA, is a digital exhibition and ceremony space of visual, literary, and oral history weaving of Indigenous African dream practices moving through time, space, and diaspora, offering refuge, solace, and solutions to our present experiences. Beginning in January 2020, a call for submissions was released and 10 juried artists were accepted into the anthology’s first volume. The artists’ work has been curated into a digital anthology and the work will embark on a national touring exhibition that is both virtual and locally based. DADA reminds us ALL of the power of the African dreamers in diasporic communities who are still holding their/our connection to the continent of Africa, while simultaneously being immersed in the new lands where we have made home. Funded by NBAF, curated and digitally displayed in 2020, the Diasporic African Dream Anthology (DADA) will now have a three-event tour including (1) an online digital opening ceremony, (2) an exhibition in Pittsburgh, PA in collaboration with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Western Psychology Psychiatric Hospital and a Garden of Peace, and (3) an exhibition, reading list and library kit in collaboration with a Milwaukee Public Library and local organizers. DADA offers a way to dream practically and simply while experiencing artist’s renditions of the complexities of our dreams. The DADA Tour will also allow Black audiences members to share about their dreams in a public and affirming setting.

 Tyrell Blacquemoss

Meet the $1000 Recipients

Ashley Haze

About the Artist

About the Artist: Ashlee Haze is a poet and spoken word artist from Atlanta by way of Chicago. She has been a part of the Atlanta Poetry circuit for over a decade. Ashlee Haze is a 3- time Queen of the South poetry Slam Champion and 2- time National Poetry Slam semi-finalist. Ashlee is the host of Haze’s Higher Learning, an educational podcast for creatives. Her book “Smoke” was released April 20, 2020.

About the Project

Project Title: REVERE: A Portrait of the Black Woman as Divine

About the Project: Poets for the Revolution: A Virtual Protest is virtual performance of poetry and music centered on “the revolution” or poems about civil and human rights and the emotions African-Americans are collectively experiencing. Principle photography was completed Nov 16, 2020 at City Winery ATL and Artist Project Funding will go towards interview production, post production, and marketing of the final project. This project features five Atlanta-based poets and two musicians. The intention of this project is to give language to the collective revolution we are experiencing by providing well-crafted poetry to the masses. By incorporating guitar and harmonica, the goal is to present poetry that addresses our rage and our grief as folks who live in society’s margins. It is Ashlee’s hope that her community feels seen and are able to find comfort in the work that they share. The participating poets have composed work that challenges the status quo and brings to light the areas in which we most need healing. The goal of this work is to provide a balm in the form of reflective art that both acknowledges and eases collective pain..

About the Artist

About the Artist: Condua Nana is a Ghanaian-American dance educator and choreographer in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a dance educator at KIPP STRIVE Academy and the artistic director and owner of The Adinkra Project. He has a B.A. in English from Morehouse College and an M.A. in English from Clark Atlanta University. His research interests include Black manhood across the diaspora and cultural connections between native Africans and African Americans’ cultures. He uses his literary background and passion for dance to cultivate art and opportunities that aim to educate performers and audience members. He is passionate about creating opportunities that bridge the cultural connectedness of Black people globally and creating opportunities for other artists to showcase their talents.

About the Project

Project Title: Love & Liberation

About the Project: Love & Liberation is a live production that will display stories of love and liberation that have taken place throughout the history of the African diaspora. During this production, audience members will learn the history of Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa and how Black people gained their liberation from systemic oppression, West African street dances that celebrate freedom, and the beauty of Black love in the U.S. Love & Liberation will display the artistic abilities of many of the artists in the metro Atlanta community. The production is focused on the story of how Soweto was created in Johannesburg, South Africa as a way to keep Black persons secluded and treated as second class citizens in the early twentieth century. This piece is inspired by those experiences but also adds a fresh look on how love stories are often formed from our shared experiences, especially from our struggles together.

            Condua Nana

Gibron Sheppard

About the Artist

About the Artist: 2019 CFDA future of fashion graduate, Gibron Whitney Shepperd was born in a multicultural/multi-ethnic home in Southern California. The oldest of four children, he spent much of his youth in the nature of Northern California with his family. These exposures have influenced his perspectives on design, creating an attitude of a bourgeois bohemian. He creates for a design world that is sophisticated and sensitive. Shepperd is currently living in Atlanta, developing a brand that is both smart and beautiful. Ginron’s book, “ Sons of Abraham: A Visual Memoir,” is a collection of 15 poems and short essays along with process work and family photographs that explore further Shepperd’s Spring/Summer 2020 of the same name. Sons of Abraham is a study of the multicultural and multi-ethnic background of Shepperd himself. Through the text, he speaks on his identity within the Black community, his style’s correlation through his paternal lineage, and the joys of citrus and colors. Filled with memories of his youth in California, you can begin to see the proverbial thread that ties everything together.

About the Project

Project Title: Sabbath Afternoon curated by Gibron Shepperd

About the Project: Sabbath Afternoon presented by Artist Project Fund Recipient and Fashion Forward Finalist, Gibron Shepperd will explore rest through an afternoon of intention and carefully curated leisure activities. As a guest you will receive complimentary light bites & beverages as you navigate the gardens and on-site art installation at the venue. You will then join us in a social distance fashion near the amphitheater for an outdoor reading experience. This immersive experience highlights Gibron’s pioneering work in fashion while paying homage to his upbringing as he grew up as a seventh-day Adventist.

About the Artist

About the Artist: Raised in Kenosha, WI — Tyrell Blacquemoss (TBN) is a prophetic dreamworker and descendant of a long line of African priests and Turtle Island medicine people. As a scholarly researcher with a Bachelor’s of Fine Art with an emphasis in Africana Studies and Indigenous Studies from Cornell University, TBN reclaims and continues their family legacy of the science and art of dreaming. TBN has traveled globally studying with shaman, elders, and healers of the following traditions: African diasporic and Western Herbalism, Conjure, Hoodoo, Rootwork, Southern Folk Medicine, Pachakuti Mesa (Peruvian shamanism), Sonoran desert Curanderismo, Toltec – Chichimeca dreamplanting, and diasporic African and Japanese energy healing. They are a 2019-2020 fellow in Freedom School’s National Health and Healing Justice Fellowship. TBN is currently based in Tucson, AZ, training as a birth worker training and an MFA candidate at Prescott College in Social and Environmental Arts Practice with Patrisse Cullors.

About the Project

Project Title: Diasporic African Dream Anthology (DADA) Tour

About the Project: Diasporic African Dream Anthology, or DADA, is a digital exhibition and ceremony space of visual, literary, and oral history weaving of Indigenous African dream practices moving through time, space, and diaspora, offering refuge, solace, and solutions to our present experiences. Beginning in January 2020, a call for submissions was released and 10 juried artists were accepted into the anthology’s first volume. The artists’ work has been curated into a digital anthology and the work will embark on a national touring exhibition that is both virtual and locally based. DADA reminds us ALL of the power of the African dreamers in diasporic communities who are still holding their/our connection to the continent of Africa, while simultaneously being immersed in the new lands where we have made home. Funded by NBAF, curated and digitally displayed in 2020, the Diasporic African Dream Anthology (DADA) will now have a three-event tour including (1) an online digital opening ceremony, (2) an exhibition in Pittsburgh, PA in collaboration with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Western Psychology Psychiatric Hospital and a Garden of Peace, and (3) an exhibition, reading list and library kit in collaboration with a Milwaukee Public Library and local organizers. DADA offers a way to dream practically and simply while experiencing artist’s renditions of the complexities of our dreams. The DADA Tour will also allow Black audiences members to share about their dreams in a public and affirming setting.

 Tyrell Blacquemoss