At a time when democracy is being severely challenged in America and abroad, The George Gund Foundation’s 2017 annual report focuses on the role of arts as political activism.
Award-winning photographer Accra Shepp captured images of 15 Cleveland organizations whose work in some way represents their commitment to political expression. The Foundation has commissioned a photo essay each year since 1990 but for the first time this report includes an audio component. Cleveland poet Daniel Gray-Kontar, the founder of Twelve Literary Arts, has written a poem inspired by Shepp’s essay and he reads it as the photographs scroll across the screen. Foundation Executive Director David Abbott amplifies the importance of artists as political actors in his annual letter. Geoffrey Gund, the Foundation’s president, focuses in his letter on another form of political action—the need for criminal justice reform and the current effort to move it forward in Ohio.
The report also includes guidelines and procedures to apply for a grant, financial statements and a list of grants made during 2017.