Paul Rucker's The Power of the Narrator awarded MAP Fund grant
By Jena K. Gray
The MAP (Multi-Arts Production) Fund announced Paul Rucker the recipient of a $40,500 grant to support The Power of the Narrator, his most recent project.
Paul Rucker is a Visiting Arts Fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed) embedded at the university’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). Rucker joins as one of 40 other grantees receiving funding support for project creation, development and distribution of original, live performance projects that embody deep inquiry.
The MAP Fund was established in 1988 by The Rockefeller Foundation promotes artists throughout the nation who challenge notions of socio-cultural status quo, interrogate perceptions and norms of cultural agency, aesthetics and experimentation.
Rucker’s project The Power of the Narrator, will foster critical dialogue regarding the power of narration and the use of the power that drives the narrative. The Power of the Narrator repurposes vintage lantern slides, heavily used in the 1820s-1910s, which often rendered black Americans in ways which propagated negative stereotypes that black Americans were stupid or lazy, among other degrading portrayals.
This work among many others exhibits Rucker’s dedication to creating art that advances awareness of and action to societal challenges that affect our communities.
“Paul has been a dynamic addition to the VCU community since joining iCubed last summer. He continues to demonstrate a sincere commitment to iCubed's focus in addressing real challenges affecting our Richmond communities and beyond,” said Dr. Aashir Nasim, vice president for inclusive excellence and director of VCU Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed).
“His work unveils and brings to light deeply rooted issues that connect with so many communities around the nation and has particular potency in our current context. Paul's work reaches the mind and the heart in profound ways that hold the potential to redirect collective perceptions and to shape policies around these issues of justice his work addresses."
As a Visiting Arts Fellow, Rucker is part of iCubed’s Racial Equity, Arts and Culture Transdisciplinary Core that formed last year as a collaborative, transdisciplinary effort between VCU’s School of the Arts, Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU and the VCU Department of African American Studies. Rucker has been working with the ICA this past year preparing Storm in a Time of Shelter, for the opening of the ICA’s inaugural exhibition, Declaration.
"This prestigious award is evidence of the impact of Paul Rucker's work on a national scale," said Joseph H. Seipel, interim director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU. "When we as a culture come to grapple with our history and look to find ways to face our past, these important conversations can help us reach a more enlightened future. We congratulate Paul on receiving this award and look forward to seeing his latest performance."
About the MAP Fund
The MAP Fund is founded on the principle that exploration drives human progress, no less in art than in science or medicine. MAP supports original live performance projects that embody a spirit of deep inquiry. In particular, MAP is interested in supporting artists that question, disrupt, complicate, and challenge inherited notions of social and cultural hierarchy across the current American landscape. As an anti-racist organization that does not support cultural appropriation, or oppressive project language, structures, or content, MAP supports artists who are trying to offer alternative artistic and social paradigms. MAP supports projects that address these concerns through the processes of creating and distributing live performance to the public, and/or through the content and themes of the work itself.
About VCU Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed)
The Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a cutting edge institute focused on catalyzing collaborative connections between the university and the community at large through innovative academic and research programs. Our transdisciplinary core teams collaborate with key community members in order to develop holistic solutions to 21st century urban challenges within the Commonwealth. For more information about iCubed or to apply to one of the transdisciplinary core teams, please visit: icubed.vcu.edu.
About the Institute for Contemporary Art
The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University is a non-collecting institution that showcases a fresh slate of changing exhibitions and programs. The ICA is a place to explore new ideas, providing an open forum for dialogue and collaboration across the region and the world. Mirroring the increasing emphasis on cross-disciplinary studies across VCU, the ICA has created a new environment for artists and scholars from around the world to test ideas. As a university-wide resource, the ICA links campus, community, and contemporary artists by supporting local creative communities, engaging an international network of contemporary artists and organizations, and encouraging collaborations with VCU departments, faculty, students, and the Richmond community. The ICA is a responsive institution that offers a broad range of artistic perspectives from across the world, with the goal of questioning assumptions and encouraging critical discourse. For more information on the ICA, please visit icavcu.org.