The Current is an annual, unrestricted award providing financial and institutional support to a Black artist living and working in the Tacoma area. In recognition of artistic excellence and future promise, the awardee will receive a $15,000 unrestricted gift. Additionally, the awardee has the option of receiving various forms of support from the institution: all would include the full support of the Museum’s facilities, staff expertise, and labor. This dual investment champions the awardee directly and proliferates resources for the artist’s community, providing resources and strengthening networks that make creating art easier for Black artists.
Like its name, The Current flows with the gravitational pull of our community’s voice; this emergent funding requires communicative partnerships grounded in real-time needs and answers. As an institution, TAM must always be compelled to act, to provide support in the necessary ways, and do so urgently. It reminds us that the process of this award is that of a current; it will flow and bring us in to commune, collaborate, and create. It is not static or rigid. For TAM to continually reinvent and reimagine, we will constantly have to re-engage ourselves in the process and our commitments to artists and the community. Like a current — always steadily moving and prepared to shift. The Current is an opportunity to honor the ongoing contributions of Black artists in the South Sound by generating recognition, providing connectivity, and strengthening our region’s creative ecology.
The Current is designed and carried out by Victoria Miles, Artist Award Manager at Tacoma Art Museum. Direct collaboration and thought partnerships play a significant role in the award’s goal of centering Black artists and community members In Fall 2021, Miles convened a Collaborative Committee of five regional Black artists and arts administrators to guide the development of the program. In July 2022, the committee will convene a selection jury, who will announce the inaugural recipient of The Current in November 2022.
Media Releases & Updates
- November 8, 2023— Tacoma’s Kristina Batiste named 2023 Awardee of The Current, An Artist Award
- November 8, 2022—Tacoma’s Darrell McKinney Named Inaugural Winner of The Current, An Artist Award
- September 29, 2022—Finalists Named for First Black Artist Award, The Current, at Tacoma Art Museum [pdf]
- August 9, 2022—The Current, An Artist Award | Selection Process
- May 18, 2022—The Current Collaborative Committee Outing
- April 19, 2022—Three Lessons from “How We See Us: On the Refusal of Limitations on Black Creativity”
- November 5, 2021—The Current – An Artist Award for Black Artists in the Greater Tacoma Area
- February 23, 2021—Tacoma Art Museum Announces Annual Award for Regional Black Artists to Begin in 2022 [pdf]
Questions? Contact Artist Award Manager Victoria Miles at VMiles@TacomaArtMuseum.org.