Art + Design alumna Sharita Towne and Urban Planning faculty Lisa K. Bates awarded $100,000 Creative Capital Grant
Author: School of Art + Design
Posted: February 11, 2019

Artist and educator Sharita Towne & activist scholar Lisa K. Bates were recently awarded a $100,000 Creative Capital Grant for their project BLERG: The Black Life Experiential Research Group. The project is an interdisciplinary collaborative for inquiry and activism at the intersection of art, urban planning, and radical geography. In shifting through historical and contemporary Black geographies, the work provides clues to understanding how Black possibilities live, breathe, and reclaim space. The project "gives language, shape, and form to Black imagination through public art and intervention, augmented reality, print, and video, to breathe possibilities back into sites of Black Life in Portland and beyond."

Since it's founding in 1999, Creative Capital has helped over 500 projects representing more than 700 artists working in all creative disciplines realize their visions and build sustainable practices. They provide each funded project with up to $50,000 in direct funding and career development services valued at $50,000, for a total commitment of up to $100,000 per project.

Sharita Towne is an transdisciplinary artist and educator based in Portland, OR. As an artist, Towne’s interests lie in unpacking the inherited struggles of past burdens and in affording collective catharsis. Through collaboration, stereo-photography, printmaking, video, and community art projects, she has worked at memorials in Germany; in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria; Brazil; in gentrifying cities like Portland, Oregon and New Orleans; in schools, museums, and neighborhoods, and within her own family. She received a BFA from UC Berkeley and an MFA from Portland State University. She currently teaches at Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Lisa K. Bates is Associate Professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. As an activist scholar, she uses research, art practice, and spatial intervention to develop new visions of Black history, present, and possibility. She has a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2016 she was awarded the Dale Prize for urban planning scholarship that advances community self-determination and racial justice.