Credit: Marsha P. Johnson Institute

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Continuing its mission to uplift the wholeness and humanity of Black transgender individuals, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI) announced the selection of five emerging artists as participants of the inaugural Starship Artist Fellowship program, according to a prepared statement released on May 15, 2023.

The five multidisciplinary fellows are:

• Utē Petit
• Äscen IGohida X
• Dami Spain
• Sweet Corey-Bey
• Azzan Quick

The mentors:

• Ava Tuitt
• Linda La
• Roger Q. Mason
• Mila Jam
• Dane Figueroa Edidi

The Starship Artist Fellowship program is a six-month fellowship that seeks to eliminate barriers that Black transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary artists experience by providing opportunities for mentorship, collaboration, visibility, and access to resources.

Each artist started their fellowships with a virtual kickoff; the cohort will create pieces that reflect their vision for a Black Trans Renaissance, with a final showcase event in New York City.

“We are exhilarated to embark on this exciting fellowship,” said MPJI CEO Elle Moxley. “These extraordinary artists have captured our attention with their audacious spirit, unwavering determination, and unquenchable thirst for personal and artistic advancement.”

“This revolutionary program was crafted to unleash the true potential of Black transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary visionaries while simultaneously dismantling the oppressive barriers of transphobia suffocating artistic domains,” Moxley said. “In the face of destructive rhetoric and oppressive legislation that seeks to erase our very existence, it is imperative to shed light on our vibrant community and celebrate the profound journey of self-realization that encompasses our entire being.”

The artists will receive a stipend for materials, tools, and resources necessary to further their craft throughout the fellowship. They will meet together as a cohort monthly, along with their mentors separately, who will guide them through the program curriculum.

“We are so grateful and inspired by our artist-mentors, who will lend their enormous talent and rich perspectives to cultivate the very best from our artists, so their experience is transformative and visionary,” said Moxley.

More information about the fellowship can be found here.

MPJI protects and defends the human rights of BLACK transgender people. We do this by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting our collective power.

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