Artist Marta Blair's participatory project "Latin American Textiles—Floor Tape Mural (courtesy the artist and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council)

New York’s Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) will distribute over $1.3 million in grants to 255 Manhattan-based artists and arts organizations during 2022. In an announcement this week, LMCC also named 18 artists in residence at its new Arts Center on Governors Island.

The LMCC grants are administered through three programs: Creative Engagement, Creative Learning, and UMEZ Arts Engagement.

Funding for these grants comes from New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ).

Through Creative Engagement, the LMCC’s biggest program, 178 artists and arts nonprofits will receive grants of up to $9,000, totaling $896,250. The Creative Learning grants (also up to $9,000) will go to 23 teaching artists and small arts organizations. The council’s third program, focused on increasing diversity and artistic production in Upper Manhattan, awarded 54 artists and organizations with up to $10,000.

Rohina Malik’s play “The Mecca Tales” at Manhattan’s Voyage Theater Company, one of LMCC’s 2022 grantees. (courtesy Voyage Theater Company)

Awardees span artists of all disciplines, including musicians and performers. Marta Blair will create a participatory floor tape mural, inspired by traditional Latin American textiles, with residents of Washington Heights and Inwood. The photo collective Faces of Harlem will showcase portraits, some taken by local youth, of the neighborhood’s community. In Let’s Write About Braille, artist Donald Welch will hold creative writing activities for youth of all abilities.

Arts organizations offering dance and musical activities to the community feature large among the awardees. The list includes the Harlem Dance Club, the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York, and Harlem Hafla, which offers belly dance workshops and performances. The New York Poem Arts Center in Chinatown will offer free Tang Poetry stage performances conducted by Chinese American senior artists and residents. Voyage Theater Company features plays like Rohina Malik’s The Mecca Tales, which tells the story of five Muslim women who meet for the first time at the pilgrimage in Mecca, and Adam Kraar’s Don’t Look Back, a contemporary feminist retelling of the Biblical story of Lot’s wife, Edith.

In Washington Heights, Word Up Community Bookshop (Librería Comunitaria) will hold a literary arts festival for youth in upper Manhattan. Lists of all the grantees in the various programs are available on the LMCC’s website.

Other than its Arts Center Residency on Governors Island, which takes place over three sessions throughout 2022, the LMCC offers another residency, named SU-CASA, that matches artists with senior centers across Manhattan. Some 30 artists from a range of disciplines have been selected to provide programming for the elderly. Each will receive a $5,ooo stipend.

“The projects of our 2022 artists help us to re-engage with a core component of public life through opportunities to energize our neighborhoods, reignite our relationships and continue to expand our communities by gathering in place at our city’s beloved cultural venues, parks and plazas, senior centers, and sites across Manhattan and on Governors Island,” said Ana Fiore, LMCC’s director of artist services, in a statement.

Information on LMCC’s 2023 applications and guidelines will become available in the summer.

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...