Alums Raise $10,000 for Organizations Supporting the Black Transgender Community in Instagram Art Auction

On June 20-23, by & for held their third Instagram art auction—this one in support of the recent protests and Pride month. The auction was planned as a fundraiser with 100 percent of the proceeds donated to local and national organizations that support and advocate for the Black transgender community. Curator and founder Pia Singh (MA 2017) began by & for in March as a response to the COVID pandemic. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Singh said her concern is “how the artists are going to survive an impending financial crisis when so many people we know, in and outside the arts, are being indefinitely furloughed or let go—cutting off their primary means of sustenance.” 

For its most recent auction, participating artists, collectors, and curators donated the raised funds to the Brave Space Alliance, which provides programming to LGBTQ individuals in South and West Side Chicago; BlackTransFutures, which promotes events for Black trans artists; and the Trans Justice Funding Project, which provides grants to groups run for and by trans people. “The three organizations we’ve identified,” Singh said, “align with our desire to support black trans people and black gender-nonconforming people, as liberation for them would mean liberation for all Black people everywhere.” In addition to this, the team behind the auction decided to support Israel Pate's (MA 2018) recent fundraiser for the Care Collective, as it aims to provide direct funding and resources to Black queer transgender artists in a series of 10 microgrants of $250.

Each of the 33 artists, mostly composed of SAIC alums, and their artworks were posted on the by & for Instagram page. Bids were accepted via the comments section or direct messages (for anonymity) under the image of each artwork. The auction raised over $10,000 and was curated by Singh, Jameson Paige (SAIC 2015-2018), Fabiola Tosi (MA 2017), and Alex Peyton-Levine (MFA 2017), and live-streamed concerts were provided on their Instagram page by SAIC Lecturer Sadie Woods (MFA 2016), Russell Woo, and Cole DeGenova