Elizabeth Kanost
Spencer Museum of Art

2018 Rocket Grants award $60,000 to 11 local artist projects

Thu, 05/31/2018

LAWRENCE — The 2018 Rocket Grants have awarded a total of $60,000 for 11 artist projects in the Lawrence and Kansas City area. Rocket Grants, a partnership of Charlotte Street Foundation and the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, support innovative, artist-driven projects outside of established arts venues.

“This year’s Rocket Grants submissions reveal the significance, diversity and passion of artists and artwork in this region,” said Saralyn Reece Hardy, Spencer Museum director. “Every year the Spencer Museum is honored to help facilitate this project that emphasizes the crucial role of art in public dialogue.”

The 2018 awards include nine Project Awards, which receive up to $6,000, and two Research & Development Awards, which receive $2,000 upfront and $4,000 contingent on an implementation proposal. Since the program began in 2010, it has awarded $452,000 to 92 projects. Funding for Rocket Grants is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

This year’s award recipients were selected by a panel of national and regional jurors — KU Associate Professor of Architecture Shannon Criss, Lawrence; De Nichols, St. Louis; Elizabeth Spavento, Portland, Maine; and Don Wilkison, Kansas City, Missouri.

A public awards ceremony for this year’s recipients will take place at 5:30 p.m. June 7 at Travois in Kansas City. Recipients will each give three-minute presentations about their projects. For more information on this year’s Rocket Grants recipients, visit


A complete list of 2018 recipients is as follows:

Project Awards ($6,000)

Grace Suh / Mission / “Supreme / Being: The Musical”

A chaotic, multivalent intersection of reality TV and propaganda pageantry.


Randall Jenson, David Seymour, Jacory Dean, Alberto Villamandos and Ryan Webster / Kansas City, Missouri / “#GetWoke: Queer and Trans People of Color”

A quarterly artistic event series for Kansas City queer and trans people of color.


Cecilia-Ananya Belser-Patton + Paris Patton / Kansas City, Missouri / “SOUPer KC”

A project developing intentional community by hosting dinners to celebrate and support creative projects in urban core Kansas City.


John Sebelius / Lawrence / “MIXED MEdia: A Healing Arts Journey for Veterans”

A mental and physical space for veterans to explore their emotions, histories and stories through a creative healing process and exhibition.


Ruby Rhodd, Deborah Bryan and Sydney Pursel / White Cloud / “Mahaska-White Cloud Community Mural”

Three members of the Ioway Tribe will bring local and tribal communities together to memorialize the rich history of the area.


AY Young / Kansas City, Missouri / “Battery Tour”

A social music movement that uses solar and battery-power energy and integrates the audience into performances.


Project Awards ($4,500)

Mazzy Mann, Lorelei Kretsinger and Zoey Shopmaker / Kansas City, Missouri / “Transfiguration”

A one-time, multiday day event honoring trans and queer influences in fashion, music and the media.


Brandon Frederick and Olivia Clanton / Kansas City, Missouri / “Open House”

An experimental, collaborative, neighborhood-based, artist-driven and artist-centered space.


Project Awards $3,000

James aka ‘SugEasy’ Singleton / Shawnee / “Breaking Art”

A classic hip-hop jam with deejays, graffiti writers and the live creation of art on canvas using breakdance moves.



Research & Development Awards ($2,000)

Taylor Fourt, Jacob Canyon, JC Franco and Megan Ammari / Kansas City, Missouri / “The Potluck Cart”

A mobile platform for open visual, literary or culinary creation.


Israel Garcia / Kansas City, Missouri / “Bordes Carnosos / Border Carnage ‘MoLCA’”

An evolving, traveling exhibit documenting the immigrant experience of three K.C. Latinx neighborhoods and their ties to the borderlands of today.

Image courtesy of John Sebelius, who received a 2018 Rocket Grant for his project helping veterans explore their emotions and stories through art.

KU in the news

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today