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Rockport art grant deadline August 9

The New Normal is a new grant program open to Rockport artists interested in funds to create art around the area’s three major crises: Hurricane Harvey, COVID-19, and systemic racism. Courtesy image

About 67 percent of artists in the United States are without an income because of the COVID-19 pandemic, making the arts one of the hardest-hit industries in the nation, according to a survey by Americans for the Arts. A new initiative launched in Fort Worth by Rockport natives Sasha and Ed P. Bass aims to help artists stay viable as the coronavirus rages on.

The New Normal is not just a catchphrase for these challenging times but also the name of a “first-of-its-kind” art initiative to help jumpstart the arts economy of Rockport. After the success of the pilot program in Fort Worth this past April, the Basses collaborated with local art leaders to bring the program to Rockport, to where they trace their family roots.

The application deadline was recently extended to August 9 for a chance at one of 30 grants of either $2,000 or $5,000, which will be awarded to Rockport artists based on the strength of their proposal, portfolio, and proven financial need.

“Ed and I are excited to bring this program to Rockport’s vibrant arts community,” Sasha Bass said. “This competitive grant initiative supports the artistic community’s economic recovery from pandemic shutdowns and sparks communal reflection on the many urgent issues every community is now confronting.”

Artists are asked to explain how they will create works that interpret and document the community of Rockport’s experience during three major challenges:

• recovery from Hurricane Harvey

• impact of COVID-19 on health, work, and social interaction

• the country's current focus on eradicating systemic racism

Managing the competition's selection process is a five-person panel of Rockport’s most influential art leaders.

Cinema, literature, music, painting, sculpture, and other forms of art "are widely considered to be the repository of a society's collective and indelible memory,” said Rockport Center for the Arts Executive Director and panelist Luis Purón.

"Extending our own mission to support the artists of Rockport by providing the creative space to learn, grow, and impact their studio practice economically, we are beyond thrilled to play a part in The New Normal,” he continued. “Ed and Sasha Bass’ vision to further empower our local arts community through grant-making will encourage creativity, diversity, healing, and inclusion.”

The New Normal initiative aims to bolster Rockport’s creative economy by offering a highly focused support system geared toward helping artists start working again while encouraging the community to share, process, and heal by way of art “that truly speaks” to what community members are feeling and experiencing.

“Artists are ‘essential workers’ in society’s processing and healing from trauma,” Sasha Bass said. “The body of work this program helps to create will live on to tell Rockport’s story at this unprecedented moment in history.”

How to Apply

Applicants must submit a written proposal that includes a personal statement expressing how this opportunity inspires them to create and how their intended art creations will support the Rockport community as it deals with the impact of the pandemic and wrestles to address the larger social justice issues it brought to the forefront.

Applicants must also provide an overview of the artwork they intend to create, examples of their current work, and a statement of need. There is no fee to apply. For more information or to apply, visit

Members of The New Normal selection panel are:

  • • Sara Sells Morgan, director of the Art Museum of South Texas
  • • Suzanna Moroles, founder of MorolesArtCo
  • • Jesús Moroles, archivist/art curator
  • • Luis Purón, executive director of Rockport Center for the Arts

• Elena Rodriguez, curator of exhibitions at Rockport Center for the Arts

  • • Michelle Smythe, executive director of K Space Contemporary

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