Black Box Press Foundation (BBPF), a Houston-based organization that supports artists as agents of social change, has announced its 2022 Art As Activism Grant awardees. Jurors Danielle Wilson, Lovie Olivia, and Jamal Cyrus selected Aaron Coleman and David Clemons to each receive a $5,000 unrestricted grant and a solo exhibition funded by the foundation. Both artists’ proposals explored the emotions of injustice and racial bias.
The Black Box Press Foundation Art As Activism fund was established to honor and continue the tradition of artists as political and social changemakers throughout history. The organization states on their website, “Social change doesn’t just happen, it materializes because people decide to make a change and take action.” By granting artists unrestricted funds, BBPF helps amplify artists’ visions and voices by meeting the individual needs of its awardees.
The inaugural awardees from 2021 were Nastassja Swift and Rashaun Rucker. Ms. Swift’s exhibition, Canaan: when I read your letter I feel your voice, was on view earlier this year at the Galveston Arts Center. The BBPF continues to partner with the Art League of Houston and the Galveston Arts Center as host venues for the grantee’s exhibitions.
Learn more about Mr. Coleman and Mr. Clemons via their biographies below, courtesy of BBPF.
Aaron Coleman is a multi-disciplinary artist and Associate Professor of Art at the University of Arizona. He received his MFA from Northern Illinois University in 2013 and BFA from Herron School of Art and Design in 2009. Aaron is a co-founder of the Sienna Collective for Students of Color in the Arts and in 2021 received the Provost Award for Innovations in Teaching as well as the College of Fine Arts Undergraduate Mentorship Award.
Aaron has exhibited internationally and received numerous awards, scholarships and fellowships for his work in lithography and mezzotint. His work can be found in the collections of The Janet Turner Print Museum, The University of Colorado, Wichita State University, the Ino-cho Paper Museum in Kochi, Japan, The Yekaterinburg Museum of Art in Yekaterinburg, Russia, the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Ewing Gallery Collection, and The Artist Printmaker and Photographer Research Archive among many other public and private collections.
David Clemons was born in El Paso, Texas and spent much of his life in Austin, Texas. Initially he began his undergraduate career attending Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, pursuing a combined degree program for Biology and Art. He attended the program for two years before returning to Austin to complete his BFA at the University of Texas in Austin, with a primary emphasis in painting. He earned his MFA in Metalsmithing in 2007 from San Diego State University. David taught in the art department at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas for the 10 years. During 8 of those years, he developed and headed the Metalsmithing and Jewelry Department.
He presently lives and creates work in Penland, North Carolina. His work embraces the craft of Metalsmithing and it’s collected history of techniques and objects. The resulting works rendered in metal, mixed media, and handmade artist books are objects positioned across a spectrum from vehicles to communicate ideas surrounding identity to forays into formal material and process-based work. He has work included in the collections of the Arkansas Art Center, National Ornamental Metal Museum, Yale Contemporary Craft Collection, and the Ollie Trout Collection at the University of Texas in Austin.