Two Local Artists Working in Partnership with The Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre Win Major Grant for Racial Justice Project in Monticello
Hurleyville, NY — The Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre (HPAC) announced today that it has been awarded the highly competitive Artist Employment Program (AEP) grant from Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY) in the amount of $407,800 over two years. Funds will be used to establish The Black Library, a library and community art space in the Village of Monticello celebrating Black history and culture. The project was initiated by Monticello-native artists Douglas Shindler and Michael Davis.
The Black Library will carry a diverse collection of books by Black authors, exhibit visual art by Black artists, offer educational workshops for children and adults, and host talks and community discussions. Welcoming local residents and visitors of all backgrounds, the project will promote greater understanding of Black history and culture, advocate for racial justice in Sullivan County and beyond, and act as an incubator for the next generation of local artists.
“This award is truly amazing and an opportunity for us to create an important space for education, dialogue, and creativity that can make a positive impact on our community,” says artist Douglas Shindler, who along with collaborator Michael Davis is already hard at work building out a two-year plan for the project and seeking a permanent space for the Black Library in Monticello. Shindler and Davis are launching a book donation drive this month, and a public discussion and Q&A about the project is scheduled for July 21st from 4-7pm at Gallery 222 in Hurleyville, NY.
Designed to support employment opportunities for artists, the AEP grant program is funding 98 collaborations involving a dynamic group of 300 artists employed by community-based organizations, municipalities, and tribal governments across New York State. CRNY has awarded a total of $49.9M in funding to support artists’ salaries and benefits, with an additional $11.7M in funding provided to the organizations holding employment.
Artist Employment Program recipients were selected through a two-stage process by a group of twenty external peer reviewers alongside CRNY staff. From an initial pool of over 2,700 written applications, 167 were shortlisted for interviews with reviewers. To view the list of 98 Artist Employment Program participants, visit https://www.creativesrebuildny.org/participants/.
Book donations can be dropped off at Ethelbert B. Crawford Library, 479 Broadway Monticello, NY, 12701, from July 1-September 30, 2022.
“If we are to truly rebuild our amazing state, we must celebrate artists’ contributions not only to the economy but to what makes us human,” says Creatives Rebuild New York's Executive Director Sarah Calderon. “The incredible work being funded through CRNY’s Artist Employment Program underscores the importance of direct support for both individual artists and the organizations that hold their employment.”
“The Hurleyville Performing Arts Centre’s mission is to celebrate the diversity of the Catskills through the arts, and this project could not be more aligned,” says HPAC Chief Development Officer Tal Beery. “We are grateful for this generous opportunity from CRNY and honored that this important project was selected.”
“Douglas Shindler and Michael Davis have worked closely with HPAC over the last few years in a number of capacities as presenting artists and as service employees, and we could not be happier to support them through this project,” says HPAC Executive Director Erin Dudley.
Douglas Shindler (he/him) is a Monticello, New York-based painter and photographer whose work addresses themes of violence, street life, sport, and community.
Michael Davis (he/him) is a Guyanese-American photographer also based in Monticello whose photographs capture moments of aggression, honesty, vulnerability, and strength.