Listen up…

Jan 05, 2020

As a universal language, music has a unique power to uplift and compel social progress. It short-circuits entrenched biases, resets and creates new patterns, and rattles rigid ways of thinking. That’s why we are over the moon to introduce the Kindle Project Music Fund, a new program we dropped in 2019—and talk up its five incredible grantees who are using music and sound to unite, heal, and activate their communities.

For this program’s inaugural year, we sought out inspiring groups doing daring work, demonstrating vision and enthusiasm in offering music as a resource for their community, especially those marginalized by mainstream philanthropy. We looked for groups who use sound as a…

  • change-agent for interpersonal and social transformation,
  • glue to bond the social fabric of their communities,
  • salve to heal personal and communal wounds,
  • tool to mobilize against injustice.

And that’s what these grantees have in common: through sonic practice, they serve as vital hubs for community connection, expression, and action. These grantees together make for a diverse yet interconnected mixtape of sonic innovators doing vital work that deserves to be on your radar. We are thrilled to support them, and excited for you to get to know them…

Jail Guitar Doors USA provides musical instruments and in-prison rehabilitative workshops to help incarcerated individuals develop life skills that will support them while incarcerated and when they return to their communities. JGD-USA’s songwriting program enables participants to share their stories through original music compositions, supporting them in processing complex ideas and emotions through a constructive outlet, and creating the kind of transformation required for true rehabilitation.

Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) creates performances and multidisciplinary artworks that connect the experiences of people living in poverty to the social forces that shape their lives and communities. LAPD’s works, including music and sound programming, express the realities, hopes, dreams, and rights of people who live and work in LA’s Skid Row.

Everquest Recordings is a grassroots studio based in North Philadelphia started by Christopher (Quest) and Christin’e (Ma’ Quest) Rainey to provide a safe place for people to collaborate using music as a tool to communicate, while making new friends. It is a place of growth and entertainment, provided at no cost to the local public.

TECHNE’s programs introduce young women and girls to technology-focused art making, musical improvisation, and community collaboration. As part of their objective to embed social-justice activism into that work, TECHNE delivers its programming through partnerships with grassroots arts organizations that share an aligned commitment to racial and gender equity. They create environments that encourage identity exploration, critical thinking, experimentation, and creative expression. They use art strategies, project-based interaction, and social activism within community collaborations, with a belief that these activities engender agency with technology, as well as offer opportunities for alternative conceptions and configurations of self among marginalized populations.

Media Alliance, based at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY, is a century-old former church repurposed into a community-centered performing, presenting and telecommunications production facility supporting the vital role interdisciplinary artists play in the process of building a democratic society.