Partners in Action Impact Round 2020 Award Recipients

Sanctuaries, part of the 2018-2019 Partners in Action cohort, leads a workshop at ROOTS Weekend: Jacksonville. Photo: Toni Smailagic


At the beginning of the year, we announced that this would be an evaluation year for Partners in Action program. Though the global pandemic hindered our ability to gather at Highlander Research & Education Center, we were able to hold space virtually for two days in June with past recipients and key supporters of the last five cycles of the program.

Despite this year’s challenges, Alternate ROOTS is still committed to distributing resources directly to our members as evidenced by the launch of our Solidarity Fund and Partners for Change program and with an increased amount of Artistic Assistance awards (more on that below!).

As we work to meet this moment and support our members and artists – we were also able to fund four high-ranking projects from the Partners for Change selection process with one-time grants. We’ve created an Impact Round of Partners in Action to house this cohort of partners during the off-cycle year of the program.

This cohort will run parallel with the Partners for Change cohort for 18 months to deepen and amplify the work of our artists in the South as we are radically reimagining the paternalist and oppressive system of philanthropy and grantmaking. We will still proceed with an official re-launch of the Partners in Action program at the end of 2021 as planned.

Meet our partners!

Erin Washington [Atlanta, Georgia & Montgomery, Alabama] Soul Center is looking to deepen the impact of our public programs and BlkArts Academy to create more robust community offerings. We will host four quarter-length classes in the Blk Arts Studio taught by working professionals in Atlanta (Playwriting, On-Camera Acting, Performing Gender Workshop, Improvisation, Commedia Dell’ Arte, Business 101 for Artists, Producing Workshop, Blk Arts History, Sound Design, Set/Costume Design, Lighting Design).

Kerry Lee [Atlanta, Georgia] Atlanta Chinese Dance Company educates and entertains Chinese and non-Chinese audiences about Chinese history and culture through the art of Chinese dance. They will build upon ongoing work by deepening existing partnerships and forging new ones. We’ll present two culminating productions during the program period. The first features a cross-cultural collaboration with an Asian born, Atlanta bred hip hop choreographer. The heart of Chinese dance is about reflecting local stories, and this Chinese dance/hip hop piece tells a unique story by and about the new global South. They will also be seeking opportunities to bring their tour-ready production Ribbon Dance of Empowerment: Chinese Dance through the Eyes of an American to other Southern communities outside of metro Atlanta. Intertwining Chinese dance with personal storytelling by and about our dancers, it amplifies the voices of Chinese Americans in the South.

Kim Pevia [Southeast, North Carolina] To support the evolution of a series of cultural arts workshops that include intergenerational knowledge transfer and conversation and the creation of a podcast series that produces and amplifies this work, giving the Indigenous artists in the southeast region of NC, the rare opportunity to tell their own story.

LaQuita Staten [Norfolk & Portsmouth, Virginia] Java, Djembes, and Jelis uses music, theatre, storytelling/story sharing, literary, and visual arts to break down the barriers of miscommunication that lead to the marginalization of people with different abilities (ie. Autism Spectrum, ADD, ADHD, Blindness, Chronic Medical Conditions, Limited Mobility, among others)

Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.