SECC’s Arts & Culture Capital Lab Launches the EIA Seed Fellowship

SECC’s Arts & Culture Capital Lab Launches the EIA Seed Fellowship

A pilot capacity building and micro-granting program for local artists and creative entrepreneurs

CHICAGO (December 2, 2020) – SECC is announcing the opening of a Call for Project Proposals and Rolling Application Process for its pilot Equitable Investment in the Arts (EIA) Seed Fellowship Cohort.  The one-year fellowship is open to qualified Chicago-based Creative Entrepreneurs and will provide technical assistance, capacity building and micro-grants between $3,000 and $20,000.   

All Fellows & Projects selected for funding must have the potential to contribute to community wealth building activity in a specific Chicago Community Area.

The official call for project proposals for the Equitable Investment in the Arts (EIA) Seed Fellowship opens on Monday, December 7th, 2020.   

VIEW THE EIA SEED FELLOWSHIP – CALL FOR PROJECT PROPOSALS

Applications for the EIA Seed Fellowship are accepted on a rolling basis and decisions about the first cohort of creative entrepreneurs are expected to be made in early February 2021. 

A year of intensive support will be provided to EIA Seed Fellows through a ‘virtual community accelerator for creatives’ that aims to be a catalyst for systemic change by creating equitable communities with arts-based economic generation. 

The new initiative will be led by Tiffany Mikell, a south side based Digital Artist and Social Impact Founder, who was hired by SECC in March 2020 to lead creative entrepreneurship programs, including the development of this new funding initiative for artists.

Program Director, Tiffany Mikell, speaking in 2020 at the Bridgeport Art Center

Since her hire, Mikell has been the driving force behind program development and branding sprints that streamlined SECC’s current portfolio of Arts & Culture Programming which includes the Neighborhood Incubator for Creative Entrepreneurship (NICE) – Resource Center, the Neighborhood Enhancement Grant (NEG) and the newly launched Equitable Investment in the Arts (EIA) Seed Fellowship — to be managed under one externally facing program pillar that is now called: The SECC Arts & Culture Capital Lab (ACCL) or ACCL for short.

ACCL’s mission is to invest in Artists and Creative Entrepreneurs as Community Wealth Builders while supporting capacity building and increasing pathways to economic self-sufficiency.  ACCL’s goal is to help local creatives make the transition from autonomous professionals to enterprise level innovators. 

This calendar year, over 300 artists across Chicago neighborhoods have been served by ACCL through its educational events and 1:1 Business Consultations delivered through the NICE Resource Center. Additionally through the NEG program, from July – October 2020, over $30,000 was invested in neighborhood beautification projects led by 8 community organizations across southeast side community areas.

A 2020 SECC Neighborhood Enhancement Grant Project led by The Revival and artist Rahmaan Statik!


VIEW THE EIA SEED FELLOWSHIP – CALL FOR PROJECT PROPOSALS

“At the Arts & Culture Capital Lab (ACCL), we view our role in the impact innovation ecosystem as providing local artists with the capital needed to grow, scale and sustain creative enterprises.

We’re excited to support projects, led by local artists, that will build community wealth — while also creating new models of impact investing through the EIA Seed Fellowship initiative. ”

~Tiffany Mikell, SECC – Program Director

Why This?  Why Now?

Art & Culture has been used as a tool for community development by the SECC for over 20 years, including a Neighborhood Beautification Fund that funded nearly 200 projects since 1999.  

In 2014, the SECC published findings from its regional study that concluded that in addition to building community pride, the arts were a critical economic driver for the south side of Chicago, particularly in community areas with a history of disinvestment.  

The SECC study underscored the disparities in funding and capital building opportunities for artists of color and low-income artists.  The study also highlighted an opportunity for impact by investing in cultural capital, capacity building for creative entrepreneurs and creative placemaking as a tool for community wealth building. 

As a response to this data, in 2019 – after a five year fundraising and planning period, the SECC launched the Arts & Culture Capital Lab (ACCL) with these core values:

  1. An artist is the one asset that exists in every neighborhood across the globe.
  2. Artists have incredible social capital which allows an activation of networks.
  3. Artists have both been trained and innately possess skills that allow them to re-imagine and re-purpose existing physical assets located in underserved communities.

The official call for project proposals for the Equitable Investment in the Arts (EIA) Seed Fellowship opens on Monday, December 7th, 2020.   

Applications for the EIA Seed Fellowship are accepted on a rolling basis and decisions about the first cohort of creative entrepreneurs are expected to be made in early February 2021. 

Step 1 of the EIA Seed Fellowship Application Process can be found here: https://fortheculture.fund/pop

The Call for Project Proposals can be found here.

All steps in the entire application process are outlined here: https://fortheculture.fund/steps

General questions and inquiries about the Equitable Investment in the Arts (EIA) Seed Fellowship can be emailed to accl@fortheculture.fund

Official partnership inquiries can be emailed to tiffany@secc-chicago.org.

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