Ford and Mellon Foundations Expand Initiative for Disabled Artists

The Disability Futures initiative, a fellowship established by the Ford and Andrew W. Mellon Foundations last fall to support disabled artists, is expanding. The foundations announced on Friday that they will commit an additional $5 million to support the initiative through 2025, which will include support for two more cohorts of 20 fellows.

The fellowship, which was created by and for disabled individuals, was conceived as an 18-month initiative. It provided 20 disabled artists, filmmakers and journalists, selected from across the United States, with unrestricted $50,000 grants administered by the arts funding group United States Artists.

But Margaret Morton, the director of creativity and free expression at the Ford Foundation, said it was clear from the beginning that it couldn’t just be a one-off venture.

Projects undertaken by members of the first cohort will be showcased at the first Disability Futures virtual festival, on Monday and Tuesday, with programming from some of the country’s leading disabled artists, writers, thinkers and designers. It is free and open to the public.

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