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AURORA is pleased to award a second round of Artist Relief Grants specifically for self-identifying BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) artists in North Texas who have suffered from the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19.

Supported by PNC Foundation, the AURORA Artist Relief Fund distributed $20,000 to five grantees ($4,000 each) and is also establishing a business wellness program with workshops and mentorship on best business practices. The goal is to support BIPOC artists in North Texas financially and through mentorship designed to enhance the entrepreneurism of individual artists to help them flourish in a post-pandemic world.

Grantees were selected by an independent panel of artists and other art professionals who represent the BIPOC artist community in North Texas, including:

Liliana Bloch, Gallery Director and Founder, Liliana Bloch Gallery
Sara Cardona, Visual Artist and Executive Artistic Director, Teatro Dallas
Viola Delgado, Visual Artist
Riley Holloway, Visual Artist
Christian Vasquez, Filmmaker.


Ruben Carrazana is a theater artist based out of Dallas, TX. Credits include Dallas Theater Center, the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, Cara Mia Theatre, Cry Havoc Theater, Stage West, Kitchen Dog Theater, Undermain Theatre, Second Thought Theatre, and Theatre Three. His play Stacy Has A Thing For Black Guys was recommended for the American Theatre Critics Association/Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Award, and was adapted into a feature film in 2019 by TZOM Films, in association with Adam and Elliot Moving Pictures. His stage play She was awarded an Honorable Mention from the Southwest Playwriting Festival. Most recently he wrote and directed The Cube, an interactive experience for the socially distanced era in partnership with the Latino Cultural Center. He is currently working on a new play commission from Kitchen Dog Theater. Ruben holds a BFA in Theatre from Southern Methodist University. Learn more at rubencarrazana.com.

Christian Cruz (b. 1989) is an artist based in Irving, Texas. Her work takes the form of performance, installation, video, and photography. Cruz was awarded the Foundation for Contemporary Arts E-Grant, EASL Grant, PAAL Grant, and the Culture of Value Grant from the Dallas Office of Arts & Culture. Recently she created the Dallas Performance Art Index, an online archive of current living and working performance artists in Dallas. She attended Columbia College Chicago for Visual Arts Management and held a poetry residency at The National Museum of Mexican Art. Learn more at christiancruzperformance.com.

Jer’Lisa Joyce Devezin’s (b. New Orleans, LA) practice is interdisciplinary with an emphasis in ceramics, metal, mixed media, and video/performance. Devezin was an artist in residence with the Joan Mitchell Center of New Orleans, LA., and her work has been presented at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Her upcoming exhibitions include the Nasher Sculpture Center, SMU Pollock Gallery, and Talley Dunn Gallery in late Spring/Summer 2021. She currently works as instructional special in art and adjunct professor of Ceramics and Art appreciation with Dallas College and is also an adjunct faculty of Art Appreciation with Tarrant County College. She received her BA from Dillard University of New Orleans in 2011 and earned her MFA from Southern Methodist University in 2019. Learn more at jerlisadevezin.com.

Austin Jordan Johnson, or Anansiboi, is an interdisciplinary artist residing in Aubrey, Texas. Anansiboi fell in love with “alternative process” in his photography courses, specifically enjoying the hands-on nature of creating cyanotypes, which reminded him of the physicality of painting. From then on, experimenting with cyanotypes and other forms of alternative prints/paintings were incorporated into his practice. Anansiboi’s goal is to combine his knowledge of art history, culture, painting, photography, and fibers into one unique voice. Anansiboi recently graduated from the University of North Texas with a BFA in drawing and painting.

Gerald L. Leavell II’s work (b. Houston, TX) has been shown at the University of North Texas, Made in NY Media Center by IFP, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Leavell earned a B.A. in International Studies at Morehouse College and a M.F.A. in Community Arts at Maryland Institute, College of Art. He is an adjunct professor of Art Appreciation with Dallas College. Learn more at gleavell.art.


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