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Grant gives artists funding to create change in New Haven community

$600,000 was awarded to 17 local artists and creative projects with hopes that they will make a difference in the Elm City.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — In an effort to promote community healing and racial justice, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven created a partnership with the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

$600,000 was awarded to 17 local artists and creative projects through the Racial Equity and Creative Healing (REACH) Through the Arts grant.

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The hope is for the artists to make a difference in the New Haven area. 

Two grant recipients are: community podcaster Rebekah Moore of #ThaTeam Podcast and local muralist Kwadow Adea of Adae Fine Art Academy.

"This grant really helps us allow for people in the communities to enjoy art, to have access to art, that maybe didn't before," Adea told FOX61.  

The REACH grant provided full funding on community initiative changes.

Luciana McClure, of the REACH grant advisory panel, said total funding was vital to see and assist community transition through art. 

"It was a collective community effort to rethink the way grants are done by the way they are reaching artists and creatives," McClure explained. "The artist needs to cover the cost. Then, they need to pay themselves and be able to survive while creating their work."

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McClure said the grant creating and selecting process took about six months, all recipient projects relied heavily on the grant and were all local minority artists.

Moore said receiving the grant left her speechless. She added that the money is an investment to create an avenue to help area high school students learn the art of podcasting and it will create mentorship and a necessary outlet for students. 

"They're going to be fully running their show, they're gonna be coming up with their topics, and their content," Moore explained. "You know, there might be some tears, there might be some laughs. It's just an outlet."

For Adea, he said it'll cover the cost to unite the community and create a three-story mural on the side of Hillside Family Shelter.

"I wanted to create a symbol of beauty on the walls and this area, a three-story mural of orchards, so you can see that there is hope," Adea explained. 

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He said a project of its magnitude could be costly, so having the REACH grant funding has been vital to creating art and the community to help imprint Elm City. 

Click here for a full list of the 2021 Racial Equity and Creative Healing (REACH) Arts Grant Awards and missions. 

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.comFollow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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