HOUSTON (KIAH) The BIPOC Arts Network and Fund (BANF) has awarded a total of $2 million to 120 arts organizations and artist collectives in the Greater Houston area. The initiative, which was created to support communities of color in fully displaying their power, values and traditions, provides grant funding, advocacy, and community-building networking initiatives.

The grantees include 51% 501c3 organizations and 49% fiscally-sponsored artist collectives in communities of color. Although most grantees have a mission that is not tied to a particular cultural history, 29% report their mission is tied to a Black, Afro-Caribbean, or African-American tradition, while 15% have a Latinx focus and 10% are rooted in an Asian American or Pacific Islander cultural tradition.

The grant applications were reviewed by a Community Review Panel of 25 individuals from Houston’s BIPOC communities, representing a rich diversity of backgrounds, cultural heritage, artistic practice, and non-arts viewpoints.

Sixto Wagan is the current Project Director of the Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) Arts Network and Fund (BANF), an independent initiative that provides resources and networks to support the diverse communities of color in Greater Houston. He leads the organization together with a team of experts composed of a seven-member Steering Committee and a nine-member Accountability and Advisory Council. Prior to his current role, Wagan held significant positions in the arts and culture scene in Houston. He served as the inaugural director for the Center for Art and Social Engagement (CASE) at the University of Houston and was also the artistic director, co-executive director, and performing arts curator of 4, a contemporary art center in Houston.

BANF is an independent initiative funded by the generous contributions of national and local foundations, including Houston Endowment, the Ford Foundation, The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Cullen Foundation, Kinder Foundation, and The Powell Foundation. The initiative is led by Project Director Sixto Wagan, along with a seven-member Steering Committee and a nine-member Accountability and Advisory Council made up of a diverse group of artists, curators, scholars, organizational leaders, and foundation partners.

BANF’s grant funding, advocacy, and community-building networking initiatives aim to revolutionize the local funding landscape, break down silos within the arts ecosystem, and welcome everyone to support and learn from BIPOC arts communities.