Meet groundbreaking U.S. Latinx artists

The United States supports and values artists from all the diverse cultures that make up the nation.

Headshot of Elia Alba (© Michael Palma Mir/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation)
Elia Alba (© Michael Palma Mir/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation)

Recently, the U.S. Latinx Art Forum, in collaboration with the New York Foundation for the Arts and with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation, announced a new fellowship program — the Latinx Artist Fellowship — to correct imbalances in how arts funding is distributed among different demographics.

Each year, 15 artists of Latin American or Caribbean descent who live and work in the U.S. will be awarded unrestricted cash grants of $50,000 to pursue their chosen artistic projects.


Coco Fusco with arms folded (© Geandy Pavón/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation)
Coco Fusco (© Geandy Pavón/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation)

“We feel that by uplifting artists and their work we can help shift the landscape,” Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, a program officer at the Ford Foundation, told the New York Times.

Artists selected for this year’s round of grants include painters, photographers, filmmakers and choreographers at various stages in their careers.

Elia Alba is a multimedia artist who practices photography, video and sculpture. Born in Brooklyn to parents who emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States, Alba “explores the social and political complexity of race, representation, identity and the collective community” in her work, she says.

Interdisciplinary artist Coco Fusco addresses intercultural nuance about cultural otherness through her performance art, video and writing.

Headshot of Guadalupe Maravilla (© Guadalupe Maravilla/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation)
Guadalupe Maravilla (© Guadalupe Maravilla/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation)

“I am about to begin shooting my first fiction film. This is the most ambitious project I have ever undertaken,” she says. “Thanks to this award, I can cover my costs and ensure that all the actors, technicians and support staff on the project are paid on time.”

Guadalupe Maravilla also credits the grant for allowing him to expand his practice.

His performances, installations and drawings trace the historical and contemporary concepts of immigrant culture, especially those of the Latinx communities. These ideas are informed by his own background as an immigrant — at the age of 8, he immigrated to the United States with his family from El Salvador.

Maravilla told the New York Times that he would use the funding to hire a studio assistant for the first time. “An award like this is really empowering to artists,” he says. “The money’s going to go fast, but it’s going to allow me to flourish, to take a giant leap forward.”