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Jordan Schnitzer establishes Black Lives Matter artist grant program at PSU

Twenty artists will receive $2,500 in grants to use their voices, experiences and artistic expression to reflect on social justice and systemic racism.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Young artists who create their work to bring awareness to social issues are getting extra assistance from Jordan Schnitzer, a local businessman and philanthropist.

Schnitzer held a press conference at Portland State University Wednesday morning to announce the Black Lives Matter Artist Grant Program. This is a partnership with the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU and the museums at the University of Oregon and Washington State University.

The program is worth $150,000 and each museum will give $2,500 in grants to twenty artists who use their voices, experiences and artistic expression to reflect on social justice and systemic racism.

Schnitzer says each university has its own panel of judges. Artists will submit their work in the next 60 days and then the panel will choose the recipients.

"I am sure we are going to fund symposiums and other ways to show the work and community dialogue as these artists tell us how they dealt with the anguish of the George Floyd killing and the racism they see," Schnitzer said.

Schnitzer said he is hoping to have an exhibition featuring the students' work in the later part of the fall or spring, once it's safe to do so.