Have you heard the expression “It’s hard to be what you cannot see?” Our donation partner Allies in Arts is working to make underrepresented artists seen. This 501c3 non-profit organization supports artists of all mediums who are women, BIPOC, and LGBTQQIA2S+ through exhibitions, screenings, grants, and paid partnerships with donors.
We caught up with Allies in Arts Co-Founder, Activist, and Filmmaker, Drew Denny along with their Director of Communications, Kyle Lasky to hear more about what they've been up to the last year and the projects they've been able to support from funding like our Block Shop x Fireclay Tile collection (so far, we've donated more than $3,000 to fund their projects!). Keep reading for our full interview with their team...
Read our 2021 Interview with the Allies in Arts Team for even more!
Meet Drew Denny & Kyle Lasky!
You supported some incredible initiatives in 2021 – @Transanta, Queer Black Futures, and Santa Monica Pride. Can you speak to what you were most proud of from those projects?
Drew: We’re so proud of all our projects! We hope to grow Queer Black Futures into an exhibition and publication, and Santa Monica Pride was such a fantastic and immersive showcase of queer LA artists. @Transanta continues to grow and inspire us, and to date has fulfilled wishlists for close to 4,000 trans youth in need. We’re really excited to continue that project this holiday season, and hope to double our impact!
Have you chosen your grant recipients for 2022? If so, can you share any exciting initiatives that you have lined up this year?
Drew: In 2022 we’re excited to support Chicago-based queer mural artists Sam Kirk and Jenny Q, and we’ll be selecting our screening participants and other grantees in the Fall.
Last year you partnered with Santa Monica Pride to curate an art walk for Pride 2021, which featured 15 original artworks by LGBTQQIA2S+. How will you be celebrating Pride in 2022?
Kyle: We’re working on launching a line of wearable art, which will feature commissioned work from artists in our communities. These will be rolling releases of limited edition shirts, hats, water bottles, etc. that showcase our pride and our resistance year-round.
What does it mean to be an ally?
Drew: At Allies in Arts, I feel lucky to support artists who are women, BIPOC, and LGBTQQIA2S+ by connecting them with donors and partners who want to exhibit or screen their work, award them a grant, or hire them— at the end of the day, we are hoping for sustainable, respectful, and fairly paid employment for our artists. So if you have the power to hire— hire women, BIPOC, and LGBTQQIA2S+ folks and treat them right!
Fireclay Tile and Block Shop Textiles are proud partners with Allies in Arts through our newest handpainted tile collaboration. Do you have a favorite tile or pattern from the collection?
Kyle: Toughest question ever!!!! If I have to choose just one, Clay Motif is my top pick (and Drew is dreaming of using it in her kitchen).
Handpainted Tile Shown: Signal in Clay Motif
But I’m also curious to play with mixing and matching colors in the Dot Dash 7 tile. I have a 1969 atomic ranch in the woods that I’m renovating, and this is really the vibe!
Tile Shown: Dot Dash 7 in Charcoal Motif
Thanks so much to the amazing team at Allies in Arts for sharing about themselves and their organization. You can donate to support them directly or explore our collaboration with Block Shop where 5% of the proceeds will be donated to help fund their ongoing work (this includes our handpainted Block Shop coasters!). Shop for good here.