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Instagram and the Brooklyn Museum Award 10 Grants to Black Artists, Designers and Small Businesses

Photo by: Elias Williams
Photo by: Elias Williams

To uplift, center and invest in Black voices and organizations working in art and design, Instagram is awarding $650,000 to 10 Black artists, designers and small businesses across the United States. Presented in partnership with the Brooklyn Museum, the #BlackVisionaries grants include five $100,000 Visionary Small Business grants and five $30,000 Emerging Visionary grants, awarded with the support of Meta Open Arts.

As part of the museum’s commitment to the local community, one of this year’s Visionary Small Business grant recipients is based in Brooklyn.

These artists, designers and small business owners think in expansive, experimental ways. Their work spans disciplines, including poetry, visual design, spatial design, sculpture, photography, film, experiential design and education. But a commitment to community unites them. They join the 2021 Black Visionaries in creating community, creating culture and creating change.

“All of the selected Visionaries truly personify a conscious engagement with today’s cultural moment. There are a vast number of social factors at play that have invoked this certain urgency for Black artists to think about their practices in a way that can help nurture and empower the community.”

— Antwaun Sargent, writer, curator and #BlackVisionaries Creative Chair

Grant recipients were selected from nearly 2,000 applications by a committee of Black artists and designers, led by Antwaun Sargent, including Elle Decor Editor-in-Chief Asad Syrkett, Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter and Director of Metaverse Design at Meta, Ian Spalter. With the support of Mobile Makers, a nonprofit organization offering design and skill-building workshops for creative youths, each recipient will also be connected with a community of mentors.

Follow Instagram’s @design to Learn more about the 2022 Black Visionaries grant recipients.

Meet the 2022 Black Visionaries

Visionary Small Business: Black Fashion Fair (@blackfashionfair)

Black Fashion Fair is a conceptual retail, educational and cultural experience focused on the discovery and furtherance of Black designers and Black-owned brands. By cultivating retail spaces and experiences, Black Fashion Fair supports the ideas and continued growth of Black designers and Black-owned brands.

“Black designers should not only be recognized when there is a spotlight placed on them, but also when there isn’t. We have been able to create impact without any of the traditional industry resources or access. This grant will allow us to grow and become a repository for Black fashion.”

- Antoine Grégory, Founder & Creative Director @blackfashionfair

Emerging Visionary: Christopher Joshua Benton (@christopherjoshuabenton)

Christopher Joshua Benton is an American artist based in Boston and working in film and installation. Christopher works closely with communities to instigate collaboration and share stories of power, labor and hope. Inspired by his years living in the United Arab Emirates, his research investigates traces of the homeland in the diaspora.

“My work spotlights the beauty, innovation and richness of black and brown diasporic people – and the contributions that these communities contribute to the everyday practices we enjoy. If art is a lens to see and understand our surroundings, my goal is for people to better see themselves, understand their place on the planet and feel with the people around them.”

- Christopher Joshua Benton

Visionary Small Business: Pacific (@pacific_pacific)

Pacific is a multidisciplinary creative studio and publishing house based in Brooklyn. Founded by Elizabeth Karp-Evans and Adam Turnbull in 2017, the studio’s work is centered on creating design and communication systems that innovate and build community at the intersection of art, publishing, placemaking, technology and culture. They seek to cultivate long-lasting creative relationships that result in community and individual growth, new modes of social exploration and engagement. They also work to put enduring objects in the hands of the public.

“There is no good design or bad design, only design that is successful (or not) in engaging you to think, question, discover and process. This philosophy is about accessibility; everyone should be able to understand our design, which means there is no one way to design.”

– Elizabeth Karp-Evans, Principle

Emerging Visionary: Cornelius Tulloch (@corneliustulloch)

Cornelius Tulloch is a Miami-based interdisciplinary artist and designer. With work transcending the barriers of photography, fine art and architecture, he combines creative mediums to tell powerful stories. His interdisciplinary practice is inspired by Black and Caribbean cultures, histories and everyday life.

“People tried to discourage me from pursuing a career in art, and when entering architecture school, others told me that ‘Black people can’t be architects.’ But now I stand here as both. These statements fuel me to continue impacting both industries in meaningful ways, celebrating Black stories and perspectives.”

- Cornelius Tulloch

Visionary Small Business: Dark Matter U (@darkmatter_u)

Dark Matter U (DMU) is a BIPOC-led, anti-racist design justice network seeking the radical transformation of education and practice toward a just future. An ever-growing democratic network, its core team includes Jerome Haferd, Venesa Alicea-Chuqui, Germane Barnes, Bryan C. Lee Jr., Justin Garrett Moore, Jennifer Newsom, Quilian Riano and Tya Winn.

“Dedicating material resources and funds to support and uplift BIPOC voices is central to the mission of Dark Matter U, and the only way to change the design fields. Design is culture. And furthermore, as interdisciplinary designers and architects, we believe that design and Black/POC imagination is literally crucial to the creation of a new society.”

-Jerome Haferd, architect, public artist and educator

Emerging Visionary: Anaïs Duplan (@an.duplan)

Anaïs Duplan is a trans* filmmaker, poet and author who often works in video poetry and lecture performances. In 2016, Anaïs founded the Center for Afrofuturist Studies (, an artist residency program for artists of color in Iowa City, where he received his MFA, and where he remains a curator.

“My work is committed to the creative strategies used by Black and brown artists to vie for personal and social liberation. In my practice, I take up an investigation of these strategies through video poetry and virtual performance.”

– Anaïs Duplan

Emerging Visionary: Albert Hicks IV (@alberlaurentiv)

Albert L Hicks IV is one half of Ayem, a design and research studio he founded alongside Marcus Washington Jr. Ayem is an emerging design and research based platform interested in how communities, spaces, and objects shape culture, language and perspective. As they develop Ayem, their ethos remains true to their own identities.

“In design, historically, there is an invisible barrier that prevents cross cultural ideas and collaboration; a direct reflection of global society. Ayem believes that understanding, appreciating, and including other perspectives can become the gateway to powerful imaginations and can help to empower voices that aren’t recognized.”

– Albert L Hicks IV

Emerging Visionary: Jaline McPherson (@jaline.creates)

Jaline McPherson is a designer, artist and writer who seeks to elevate stories of Black cultural landscapes and ethnobotanical histories. Her most recent research used plants, reimagined public spaces and magic to create an abundant future for the first Black Freedman’s town in the U.S. She believes that design and storytelling can help redefine healing and joy for Black and brown communities.

“The fields of landscape architecture and the built environment are far too often dominated by a white majority who are tasked with designing many of our public spaces and environments. Therein lies a unique opportunity to challenge traditional methods of landscape design and expand upon new strategies for designing with communities of color.”

– Jaline McPherson

Visionary Small Business: Strada (

Paul Hill was 22 when he founded Strada, a New York-based art gallery and online marketplace creating equitable opportunities for emerging artists. Strada’s physical exhibitions are platforms for artists who have been overlooked. Born and raised in Harlem, Hill is also recognized for creating community-based solutions to complex problems. His first app, Pronto!, served as a database for volunteers and donors fighting for Black Lives Matter.

“I really want to create a place that, at first glance, is a really innovative space — pioneering a new path within this antiquated system and opening up the doors for people to join in and contribute to making this change.”

– Paul Hill

Visionary Small Business: The Black School: Design Studio (@theblackschool)

The Black School, founded by Joseph Cuillier and Shani Peters, teaches Black history and creativity using a three-part ecosystem: art workshops, a festival and a full-service design firm and consultancy specializing in community-centered graphic design. Creative Director Joseph Cuillier and Education Director Shani Peters use a community-engaged approach to design products, environments, experiences and systems.

“I think community — and a strong community — is the best hope we have going forward in this country and beyond. For me, community is power. But it’s not just power how we conventionally think about it. It’s a strong power. It’s a soft power. It’s care, it’s love, it’s safety, it’s protection, it’s self determination. It’s all of those things. It’s what sustains us, and I think it’s going to be what delivers us.”

– Joseph Cuillier

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