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Philadelphia, PA – Moore College of Art & Design is honored to announce the selection of artist Alicia Grullón as the 2020 recipient of the Jane and David Walentas Endowed Fellowship. The prestigious biannual fellowship underscores Moore’s ongoing commitment to social engagement by offering opportunities to thoughtful artists who bring their vision for the future of cultural production to the Moore community and the larger artistic community of Philadelphia. 

Grullón, a native of New York City who still resides there, is a multidisciplinary artist who uses video, photography, social sculpture and performance to bring attention to issues like immigration, climate change, and racial and economic disparities. She will use this fellowship to contribute to the creative and intellectual life of Philadelphia, and to Moore’s artistic and academic community. 

"I feel very grateful to be receiving this fellowship. I am looking forward to the relationships I will build and the conversations we will have at this historic moment in our lives," she said.

Grullón is interested in community-centered agriculture and how art can help to re-establish dispossessed people's relationship to land as a means of undoing settler-colonial structures. Her ongoing embodied research focuses on activating public spaces to prioritize healing and archiving oral history in order to disrupt historical patterns that undermine the health and civic participation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) peoples. Pictured, left: Alicia Grullón, the 2020–2022 Walentas Endowed Distinguished Fellow. Courtesy of the artist, photograph by Dexter Miranda.

“We are excited, honored and extremely fortunate to embark upon a second iteration of the Jane and David Walentas Endowed Fellowship at Moore, and with a socially conscious and multidimensional artist such as Alicia Grullón,” said Cecelia Fitzgibbon, president of Moore College of Art & Design. “We look forward to the wide range of artistic expression Alicia will bring to her work with us, and to maximizing on Alicia’s impact within the Moore community and in Philadelphia as the fellowship program matures.”

Grullón argues for the inclusion of disenfranchised communities in political and social spheres. Her research questions during her residency with the Hemispheric Institute for Politics and Performance at New York University included “How can we approach embodied research and archives, particularly in relation to storytelling, land rights and decolonization?” and “How can the narratives of climate migrants who have died in detainment culminate in performances as living documents?”

The fellowship, launched in 2018, was endowed by Jane Zimmerman Walentas, who graduated from Moore in 1966, and her husband, David. 

Alicia Grullón’s works have been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including The 8th Floor, Bronx Museum of the Arts, BRIC House for Arts and Media, School of Visual Arts, El Museo del Barrio, Columbia University, Socrates Sculpture Park, Performa 11, Old Stone House and Art in Odd Places. Her art activist work led her to be one of the initial and current organizers for The People’s Cultural Plan (The PCP), a collection of artists and cultural workers addressing inadequacies with the city’s first proposed cultural plan. Grullón has served as a mentor for New York Foundation of the Arts’ Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program and as Artist Catalyst for The Laundromat Project from 2016–2018. She is an adjunct at The School of Visual Arts and the City University of New York. She is also currently artist-in-residence at the Hemispheric Institute. Her work can be viewed at her website, aliciagrullon.com.

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