George Soros’ Open Society Foundations Announced Its 2023 Soros Art Fellows

The mid-career artists selected will use the unrestricted funding to fund socially-engaging projects around the globe.

Open Society Foundations is making its largest contribution to art thus far with its 2023 Soros Arts Fellowship. This year, mid-career artists working on 17 seperate projects will receive $100,000 each in grants for projects focused on the climate crisis, Indigenous knowledge and sustainability.

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Cannupa Hanska Luger is one of the 2023 Soros Art Fellows. Denver Post via Getty Images

The cohort is the largest yet for the nonprofit’s art fellowship, which launched in 2018. Since then, more than $3 million in unrestricted funding has been granted to twenty-nine artists. The most recent round of grant-making will be funneled to fellows who “are taking action to heal a planet in crisis through community-led solutions for environmental justice,” said Tatiana Mouarbes, Open Society’s Team Manager for Culture, Art, and Expression, in a statement.

Jordan Weber, a regenerative land sculptor and activist, is one of the 2023 grantees. His project focuses on East Detroit, where Weber plans to transform a square acre of forest into an air remediation zone, a trauma-informed community center and an environmental justice classroom. He will also include a site for tree transplants to counter pollution from local automobile plants, which have been linked to lung disease in nearby communities.

Meanwhile, Cannupa Hanska Luger, a New Mexico-based artist, will use the grant money to create a publication and series of films focused on how Indigenous technologies and culture are critical to future sustainability. Luger, who was born on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, has exhibited at institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art.

An international cohort of fellows

Open Society fellows hail from from around the globe. The founder of the art and research center, Hangar, Monica de Miranda, whose work was shown at last year’s Venice Biennale, will organize a film and programming series centered on the impacts of gentrification in Lisbon, Portugal and systemic inequality.

For Palestinian artist Nida Sinnokrot, the grant funds will be utilized to “reclaim public memory” through the creation of site-specific sculptures. With the aid of the public, he plans to build a mintar, referring to stone structures used in Palestine during harvest seasons. Sinnokrot is additionally a co-founder of Sakyia, an international residency program, and a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Art, Culture, and Technology Program.

Fellow Bilia Bah will create a participatory theater production to create discourse on issues like climate change and unregulated water drilling across Conakry, Guinea. In the Bantayan Island of the Philippines, fellow Martha Atienza will develop collaborative and environmental-focused projects with local fishing communities.

What is Open Society Foundations?

Open Society is a philanthropic network launched in the 1990s by investor George Soros, who earlier this year announced his plans to hand over the organization’s reins to his son Alexander Soros. The organization, which paused its art fellowship in 2021 and 2022 due to the pandemic, also supports fellowships in government leadership, leaders for racial justice and those addressing issues in the U.S. criminal justice system. It has given out more than $19 billion since its creation.

George Soros’ Open Society Foundations Announced Its 2023 Soros Art Fellows