Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

The Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation have named the recipients of the 2022 Disability Futures Fellowship. The only one of its kind in the United States, the fellowship was established in 2020 to elevate and celebrate the work of disabled practitioners working across multiple creative fields, including those of arts and culture, journalism, and documentary film. Aimed at raising the visibility of disabled artists and creative practitioners and at bringing attention to the financial and professional challenges they face, the Disability Futures Fellowship distributes $1 million annually among twenty recipients, with each fellow receiving an unrestricted $50,000 grant. Among this year’s winners are Chicago artist Sandie (Chun-sha) Yi, who explores issues of identity, intimacy, desire, and sexuality through wearable objects; composer and multi-instrumentalist JJJJJerome Ellis, a native of Norfolk, Virginia, and a self-described “blk disabled animal”; and Brooklyn sculptor Reverend Joyce McDonald, an HIV-positive former girl-group member.

The Disability Futures Fellowship arose out of a yearlong research initiative commissioned by the Ford Foundation and conducted by United States Artists, which interviewed dozens of disabled artists and creative professionals across the country to learn how to better serve their cohort. Recognizing the additional labor and barrier the application process represents for creative practitioners, the organizers of the prize have done away with the application process. Fellows are instead selected through a nomination process, in which members of a panel selects finalists from a supplied list of nominees compiled by a group of nominators. Finalists are confirmed by an advisory council of disabled creative practitioners assembled to guide the initiative.

The full list of 2022 Disability Futures Fellows is below.

Alexandria Wailes (she/her)
Actor and theatermaker
New York

Alison O’Daniel (she/her) 
Visual artist and filmmaker
Los Angeles and San Francisco

Antoine Hunter, Purple Fire Crow (Purple Fire Crow) 
Choreographer and human advocate
Oakland, CA 

Camisha L. Jones (she/her)
Herndon, VA

Corbett Joan O’Toole (she/her)
Activist historian

Dickie Hearts (he/him)
New York

JJJJJerome Ellis (any)
Composer and poet
Norfolk, VA

Reverend Joyce McDonald (she/her) 
Brooklyn, NY

Kenny Fries (he/him)
Kauneonga Lake, NY and Berlin

Khadijah Queen (she/her)

M.Eifler (they/them)
San Francisco

Naomi Ortiz (she/her) 
Poet, writer, and visual artist

Nasreen Alkhateeb (she/her)
Los Angeles

NEVE (they/them and he/she/him/her)
Terpsichorean artist
Seattle, WA (Duwamish and Coast Salish Islands)

QuestionATL (he/him)
Artist and music producer 
East Point, GA

Sandie (Chun-sha) Yi (she/her) 

Sandy Ho (she/her)
Community organizer

Tee Franklin (she/her) 
Artist and screenwriter 
New Jersey

Wendy Lu (she/her)
New York

Yo-Yo Lin (she/they)
Brooklyn, NY


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