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National Endowment for the Arts grant to support Obsidian journal

Cover of the newest edition of the journal Obsidian Illinois State University has received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help support the journal Obsidian through its new initiative #ObsidianArtReach.

#ObsidianArtReach is a project supporting the publication, distribution, and promotion of Obsidian. Focusing on literature and arts in the African diaspora, Obsidian is edited by Associate Professor of English Duriel Estelle Harris, and designed by the University’s Publications Unit.

“There is a need, now more than ever, to have platforms for the work of African artists and scholars globally,” said Harris, who has been part of Obsidian’s editorial board since 1990. “This grant, along with the support of the University, will help provide a voice for the African diaspora.”

The grant is funded through the NEA Art Works program, which focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

The journal has been around since 1975, but found a new home at Illinois State in 2015. Harris and Publications Unit Director Steve Halle redesigned the publication to increase emphasis on African artists and scholars of African arts internationally.

Recent contributors to Obsidian artists such as filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bekolo, international performance artist Gabrielle Civil, scholars Thadious Davis and Trudier Harris; poets Toi Derricotte, Evie Shockley, Yusef Komunyakaa, C.S. Giscombe, and Douglas Kearney; graphic novelist John Jennings, science fiction writer Sofia Samatar, artists Mendi+Keith Obadike; and so many more. Find out more about Obsidian.

The 2017 grant will assist with publication, distribution, and promotion costs for the journal.

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