Not a Monolith amplified a diversity of Black voices and perspectives by providing local, emerging Black artists with outdoor canvases in prominent public spaces across the five boroughs, as well as mentorship from Black professionals in the art world. The title of the project referred to our goal to showcase a multitude of Black identities that are more complex, nuanced and abundant than the media’s traditional representations. This program offered an opportunity for the artists and communities of New York City to directly and meaningfully engage with Black Lives Matter and other social, racial and gender justice movements.
The artists were selected through an open-call process determined by a five-person advisory committee consisting of Black professionals with various expertise in the art world ecosystem: curator and cultural critic Larry Ossei-Mensah, artist and curator Kendal Henry, multimedia art and cultural producer Natasha Logan, interdisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome and artist Tatyana Fazlizadeh. The advisors also provided one-on-one guidance to the selected artists throughout the course of the initiative.
Each artist created two public artworks for a total of ten projects across all five boroughs of New York City. The artists were provided with a $12,000 stipend, one-on-one guidance from the advisory committee, free studio space courtesy of ChaShaMa, $2,000 in art materials from Winsor & Newton, and all installation and production costs covered by Meta Open Arts.
Not a Monolith was a robust collaboration that also includedd partnerships with local cultural organizations throughout the five boroughs, culminating in community events and/or mutual-aid efforts surrounding the final artworks. Artists developed their artworks in spring 2021 and executed their visions in public spaces in summer/fall 2021.
Meta Open Arts cultivates creative engagements that offer new ways of thinking about ourselves, our communities, and the world at large. Open Arts thrives on open collaboration across borders, disciplines, and media to embrace creativity in all its forms, partnering with arts organizations, artists, and designers to advance creative projects that bring people closer together and engage today’s most pressing topics and issues.
We The Culture was birthed out of Facebook’s $25 million investment in support of media and content partnerships with Black public figures and creators in film, television, fitness, sports, broadcasting, publishing and more. Aligned with Facebook’s mission to give people the power to build community, We The Culture is a creative community fueled by Black creators and dedicated to championing Black culture. We The Culture is a brand, a family of holistic high-touch content and partner programs and social channels. Through We The Culture, we’re continuing to take critical steps to turn the corner and show up for the Black community by elevating their stories in tangible ways. Follow us on socials at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Giphy.