By Brecken Branstrator
New York—New York City Jewelry Week has introduced a new grant program to provide financial support to Black jewelry designers.

The move comes as part of the 2020 edition of NYCJW’s Here We Are platform, an initiative created to support diversity in the jewelry community through awareness, empowerment and education.

Launched last year under NYCJW’s Director of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Elliot Carlyle, Here We Are holds events including panels, webinars and exhibitions.

This year, it will also include new funding opportunities to further the mission of supporting equitable representation.

The Here We Are grant program will provide a financial award to two Black jewelers in the U.S. who are committed to their craft and seek funding to advance their career or business.

Applications will be available through NYC Jewelry Week’s website starting Aug. 10.

The applicants will be judged on several criteria: individual voice and aesthetic, quality and craftsmanship, drive, financial need, and goals.

A third financial grant recipient has already been named—20-year industry veteran Lorraine West.

The grant will support a solo exhibition for West during New York City Jewelry Week 2020, providing money, a space—physical or virtual—and publicity across all NYCJW channels.

West will launch her fine jewelry collection during the exhibition.

The three HWA grants will be awarded during NYCJW, which is slated for Nov. 16 to 22. This year’s iteration will include virtual and live events.

“We cannot ignore the fact that within the underrepresented designer matrix there is a financial disparity that exists,” Caryle said in a press release.

“The talent is here, the education is here, the passion and drive is here, yet the funding is not. This grant program is a way that we can help to weaken and hopefully remove this systemic disadvantage through financial empowerment.”

Here We Are already included a bi-weekly Instagram Live series hosted by Carlyle through the NYCJW account.

For a second year, NYCJW also will shoot a campaign celebrating the work of a diverse group of artists, designers, jewelers and influences in the jewelry community.

Shot by photographer Stefen Pompée, it’s slated to launch this fall.

Additionally, NYCJW 2020 will also hold a series of curated virtual presentations highlighting the work of several jewelers participating in Here We Are, supported by panels and talks from industry leaders and conversations with the jewelers involved.

“We have worked hard to develop relationships that support the individual voices of each jeweler within Here We Are, which allows for a clear path of understanding and ultimately direct support for the jewelers from the industry and consumers alike,” said NYCJW Co-Founder JB Jones.

“That’s where the magic is, in the individual jewelry voices present here that have been disregarded for so long, each unique, brilliant and ready to receive the spotlight.”

TAGS:   Designers
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