Instagram has announced the next stage of its #BlackVisionaries funding program, which, in conjunction with the Brooklyn Museum, will see Instagram allocate $650,000 in grants to Black artists, Black designers and Black-owned small businesses.
“For the last three years, we’ve collaborated with the Brooklyn Museum and Antwaun Sargent (writer, curator & #BlackVisionaries Creative Chair) to uplift and support historically excluded creative voices. And today we work together to uplift, center and invest in Black voices and organizations working in art and design.”
Last year’s #BlackVisionaries program saw five Black designers awarded $205,000 in grants, with this year’s program taking a big step up, and offering more support for underrepresented communities.
“We will award 10 #BlackVisionaries grants in partnership with the Brooklyn Museum. This includes five $100,000 Visionary Small Business Grants for Black-led organizations in the US focused on design. And with the support of Meta Open Arts, we’re also awarding five $30,000 Emerging Visionary Grants for individuals focused on art and design based in the US.”
Black creators have a significant cultural impact, which is not always recognized by social platforms, while Black-owned businesses have also been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Indeed, according to data from the Federal Reserve, 41% of Black-owned businesses in the US were forced to shut down early in the pandemic, while only 17% of White-owned businesses shuttered during the same period. Research also shows that Black-owned businesses are 20% less likely than white-owned organizations to obtain a loan from a large bank, while Meta’s own ‘State of Small Business’ report shows that businesses in majority-minority neighborhoods continually face poorer business outcomes and higher closure rates.
Those impacts extend to all sectors, and it’s important that, where possible, platforms like Instagram look to provide support for the arts and small business communities that often power engagement within the app.
As such, this is both a logical and compassionate initiative, which will help provide much needed assurance for many brands.
Applications for this year’s #BlackVisionaries program open on June 28th, and you can apply here.