The South is a place of great opportunity

But the region’s artists and cultural organizations are often overlooked and receive little institutional support. We hope this project will illuminate the incredible ways that Southern artists and cultural workers have found to create and share work, shape movements, sustain ourselves and our communities, and ultimately save lives. In response to our analysis, which shows stark divestment in Southern arts and culture when compared to the rest of the nation, we want to inspire funders and other resourced institutions to move more resources to grassroots efforts throughout the region.

About The Authors

Our research and writing of this report was deeply personal. As queer/prismatic/nonbinary Southern arts practitioners of color with rural roots, we know that all too often the stories, work, and wisdom of the most marginalized fall under the radar. Given the tumultuous social, political, environmental, and economic realities in which our communities are now operating, we believe that this research is critical, timely, and holds many lessons for the arts and culture field and beyond.

Maria Cherry Rangel

The daughter of Moroccan and Mexican agricultural workers and musicians who worked the land of many Southern states, I am a New Orleans-based cultural strategist, resource organizer, and equity coach. My advocacy has ensured that millions of dollars have been redirected to Southerners, communities of color, and LGBTQ communities. As Director of Strategic Initiatives for Foundation for Louisiana, I utilize my expertise in organizational growth, arts and culture, racial justice, and LGBTQ organizing to inform FFL’s future.

Ron Ragin

I write, sing, compose, and make interdisciplinary performances that integrate sound, text, and movement. My creative interests include music of the African Diaspora, embodied ancestral memory, improvisational creative processes, liberation aesthetics, and the development and maintenance of spiritual technologies. I grew up in Perry, Georgia and received my earliest musical training at the Saint James Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. As a researcher, coach, and strategist, I partner with artists, nonprofit organizations, and grantmakers, drawing on my creative/production practices as well as decade-long work in cultural philanthropy as a researcher and program officer. I make my home in New Orleans.

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