From an April 22 event celebrating Black fashion in Los Angeles to a first-of-its-kind art restitution program, the 2023 recipients of UCLA’s Chancellor’s Arts Initiative grants take up important issues of cultural visibility and responsibility.
Overall, 15 projects were selected for seed funding, making the new cohort the largest group of honorees since the initiative began in 2021. The program, administered by the Chancellor’s Council on the Arts and the office of the vice chancellor for research and creative activities, is intended to foster the advancement of the arts and arts-related scholarship at UCLA.
“It’s important to situate research and artistic practice together in service of UCLA’s priorities and values,” said Roger Wakimoto, UCLA’s vice chancellor for research and creative activities. “This year’s funded projects are responsive, creative and highly visible works that raise important issues in communities, culture and that reflect the excellence of UCLA.”
For 2023, the program awarded more than $136,000 to projects in fields that range from anthropology and English to design media arts and theater. Grants range from $5,000 to $15,000 per project. The projects, which span film, music, visual art and digital media, tackle issues of race, language, memory, belonging and climate change.
In previous years, grants have helped fund events such as a 2021 live performance of “Blood on Gold Mountain,” commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Chinatown Massacre in Los Angeles; major installations including “The Sea Around Us,” by design media arts professor Rebecca Mendez; and films including “Body Parts,” a feature documentary released in 2023 by award-winning filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan.
The 2023 recipients come from departments in the academic units that make up UCLA’s Chancellor’s Council on the Arts: the School of the Arts and Architecture, the Herb Alpert School of Music, the School of Theater, Film and Television, and the UCLA College divisions of humanities and social sciences.