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Artist Relief Organization Award Recipients

Sipp Culture was awarded a total of $580,000 in philanthropic funding to support Artist Relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, $500,000 of which came through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This fund is the result of ongoing advocacy efforts of the Intercultural Leadership Institute; a collaborative effort of Alternate ROOTS, First Peoples Fund, the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the Pa’I Foundation and Sipp Culture. This collaboration has raised more than $6 million in 2020 to support artists and organizations that are part of their collective networks.

AL: $31,000 awarded to 18 artists

AR: $31,350 awarded to 19 artists

LA: $49,850 awarded to 36 artists

MS: $52,000 awarded to 36 artists

TN: $32,850 awarded to 18 artists

Organizations Awarded

Birmingham Black Repertory Theatre Co logoMISSION: The Award winning Birmingham Black Repertory Theatre Company (BBRTC) is a non-profit Whose main goal is to produce bodies of performance art by & for people across the African Diaspora in order to showcase & introduce Black works to the Birmingham Community through: Staged readings, main-stage & black-box performances, & workshops with industry professionals.

“We are producing 2 digital production to hire & create quality theatre with Black Queer artists at the center. One in Two, and ” . . I thought you’d never ask”

Carlton V Bell Artistic Director, Birmingham Black Repertory Theatre Company     

MISSION: Providing supportive programs to support youth of all ages, the organization aids in promoting community recreational activities that inspire youth to make positive choices in their life. The objectives are focused on ensuring that today’s youth receive village wholesomeness and community pride alongside housing popular leisure and social activities in a safe, adult supervised setting. Founded and aspired as a family-driven organization, Dancing Cloverleafs prides themselves on being the “hanging out spot” within the communities they serve in. Offering a diverse cultural environment that believes in exemplifying leadership and in teaching the values of self-respect, self-assuredness self-awareness, honesty, social responsibility, community responsibility and self-sufficiency. Dancing Cloverleafs assists youth participants with building confidence, expressing leadership, and delivers avenues for youth to meet other youth to share ideas, dreams, talents, and goals. Grounded by a mission to empower youth to be prideful of their uniqueness and confident in being great, the organization offers a hub of performing arts, recreational and social activities including peer-to peer supportive group sessions.

“We as an organization are beyond ecstatic to be the recipient of this award. The COVID-19 Pandemic has cast such a dark cloud on the participants outlook of everyday life, however the receipt of this award is a light that leads the path to a future of getting back to normalcy for the organization. Thank you.”

Terrance Subber Director, Dancing Cloverleafs


MISSION: Elaine Community Opportunity Seekers (ECOS) was founded in 2012 to bring the unincorporated communities in the greater Elaine area together, to encourage community revitalization, promote racial healing, preserve the history and heritage of the region, bridge the gap between generations, and create economic opportunity.

“Receiving the Sipp Culture’s Artist Relief Fund Award has allowed us to end the year with a virtual production and refurbish murals in the Main Street area.”

Alenora Williams Chair, Elaine Community Opportunity Seekers

MISSION: ELLA (East Lake Language and Arts) Library nurtures the expression and exchange of knowledge and culture through story sharing to connect the people, both in our neighborhood of East Lake, and the greater Chattanooga, TN area. We use different modes and mediums of artistic expression to help bring stories, issues, and lived experiences to life. We believe that story sharing inspires social change and helps our community gain understanding of themselves and others.

“Thank you!! We have two projects this funding will help us with, and allow us to finish converting our community space so we can safely have community members using it! We are so grateful to still be able to meet the needs of our community even though they are not in the way we were expecting.”

Jazmine LeBlanc Director, ELLA Library

MISSION: Foxfire Ranch is Black land that has been stewarded by the Hollowell family for more than a century. We are a working farm and an entertainment & event venue that hosts concerts, retreats, and private events year round. At Foxfire Ranch we center rest, relationship building and connecting with one another. This is a space to retreat from the onslaught of daily living, and for dreaming and laughter. Foxfire is an invitation to reconnect with the freedom not to move, or perhaps to move much more slowly. To nurture the spaces for the personal, the intimate, the encounters with strangers who become friends, or at least become not so estranged.This is a space where cell phones slow down, the internet is little finicky, the food feeds your soul and your body remembers.

“The evolving vision for Foxfire Ranch is one that honors the foresight and sacrifices made 100 years ago to procure, protect and develop the land; while contemplating a growing need for spaces that support social and cultural movements into the future. This award from the Artist Relief Fund is a seed for us to continue co-creating experiences, programming and workshops committed to healing, connection, truth-telling, deep learning, reconciliation and celebration.”

Annette Hollowell Manager, Foxfire Ranch

MISSION: Our mission is to provide music lessons for beginners, aspiring artists and musicians. We also provide a space for professional artists, musicians, and music educators to teach and share their expertise with aspiring artists and musicians. We take pride in providing effective and credible instruction designed to build confidence, character, creativity, camaraderie and professionalism in the field of music.

“A tremendous blessing that will strengthen our technological support for virtual learners, provide needed sound equipment, instruments, and support community outreach!”

Latongya Garner Owner/Director, Garner Music Academy LLC


MISSION: Our mission is to build and strengthen the mind, body and spirit through dance by curating dance productions, teaching and hosting master dance and wellness classes around the world.

“This award is major for us! We now have provisions for the artist we contract! Now, we are finally able to build and establish the solid foundation our organization has needed to make an even greater impact in our community!!”

Tyra Jackson Founder & Co-Artistic Director, Innergy Inc.

MISSION: J ROSS MUSIC LLC is a Music Company that provides production, education and performance services. Through Performance, we tour the world with a live Black Music experience. With education, we inspire future artists in the pedagogy of soul. We uplift fellow artists by producing the sonic image to their life story.

“Words can’t describe how thankful we are for this award. This season has been extremely tough for our organization, but we have persevered, passionately looking for support to keep this black art form of music alive. This award will be felt deeply within the souls of our community as we can continue to create art reminding us of who we are. The timing of this award is simply perfect. We will forever be thankful.”


MISSION: The Memphis Black Arts Alliance is dedicated to improving the quality of life and economic wellbeing of Greater Memphis through the preservation, celebration and advancement of African American arts, literature and culture. We inspire, educate, and engage artists and audiences towards the creation of just and equitable communities through forward-thinking experiences.

“Artistic expression has unlimited power, and the Sipp Culture support has empowered MBAA to empower the Greater Memphis community.”

Lar’Juanette Williams Executive Director, Memphis Black Arts Alliance Inc.

MISSION: Our mission is to create opportunities to cultivate artistic expression, collaboration and community engagement.

“We remain hopeful that an effective vaccine is soon forthcoming, but for now the COVID numbers are going up and shutdowns and restrictions are likely to increase. These funds are the lifeline that will help ensure Cultural Crossroads survives to open our doors and welcome our community and our visitors back into our space to share our stories and heal together when it is again safe to do so.”

Felicia Harrid President, Board of Directors, Mississippi Cultural Crossroads

MISSION: Helping individuals and families SEE THEIR VALUE and KNOW THEIR WORTH by utilizing art as the gateway to holistic healing. We provide THERAPEUTIC HEALING ART services by strengthening communities mental health one paint stroke at a time.

“Plant the Seed. Watch it Grow” This is a quote that remains on our board in our studio. MY-T-BY-DESIGN where we imperfectly paint with purpose is a metaphor based off the scripture Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Life isn’t perfect, but through the process we are all creating our own masterpiece on purpose. We empower people no matter what walk of life you come from to BELIEVE IN YOU. Every day we strive to plant good seeds that strengthen our community by helping to heal hearts and minds through art. Thank you for planting a seed into our organization so that we may continue God’s work through art during these unprecedented times. These funds provided will not only help us keep our lights on but also be a beacon of light as we continue to serve our community in a mighty way.”

Lakisha Bradley Founder, Executive Arts Director, MY-T-BY-DESIGN Therapeutic Art Studio

MISSION: No Dream Deferred creates theatre programming that is culturally relevant to our New Orleans audience.

“The support provided by Sipp Culture Artist Relief Fund, not only ensures our mere survival, as a culturally specific theatre in the south, but it cements our ability to remain true to our mission of supporting local BIPOC theatre-makers in our art-making, so that we as a community, arise from this pandemic portal whole and well.”

Lauren E. Turner Co- Founder/ Producing Artistic Director, No Dream Deferred NOLA

MISSION: The F.I.L.E.S. Arts Project (TFAP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to strengthen traditionally underserved communities through arts education, thus bridging the gap between all communities, leading to life-long pursuits of excellence in every area of life

“This award will allow The F.I.L.E.S. Arts Project to provide all children the opportunity to develop their creative abilities and experience the arts. Due to the COVID crisis, the award will allow us to meet the growing demand for online education and adapt our current program for virtual instruction through media platforms such as Zoom, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and others.”

Kat Files Founder, The F.I.L.E.S Arts Project

MISSION: To empower youth and their families in rural Mississippi through arts education and enrichment and to build community using the arts as a catalyst.

“This award will provide capital for critical repairs and maintenance for housing to accommodate visiting artists. There is little or no housing for visiting artists in Gloster.”

Margaret Porter Troupe Executive Director, The Gloster Arts Project

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