At its Annual Meeting in Philadelphia yesterday, the Board of Trustees of Souls Grown Deep affirmed the incorporation of a new entity, the Souls Grown Deep Community Partnership, which includes the existing Souls Grown Deep Foundation, to continue its work dedicated to documenting, preserving, and promoting the contributions of African American artists from the South, and the new Community Partnership as a parallel organization to formalize and expand its initiatives to improve socio-economic conditions in the communities that were and are home to the 160 artists represented in the Foundation’s collection.

“The incorporation of the Souls Grown Deep Community Partnership will extend our capacity to make a meaningful and measurable impact on the quality of life in the communities we serve. Through the Community Partnership, we are seeking and developing opportunities at the intersection of art and economic development,” said Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson, President of Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership.

Founded with the largest and foremost collection of works by African-American artists from the Southern United States, Souls Grown Deep began a major effort in 2014 to transfer the majority of its works to the permanent collections of leading art museums, catalyzing awareness, appreciation, and scholarship of these artists through the increased accessibility to their work, exhibitions, publications, and programming. Last year, it adopted a new strategic plan that builds on its existing collection transfer program to expand its mission to improve socio-economic conditions in the regions that gave rise to the art in its care.

With the incorporation of Souls Grown Deep Community Partnership, the sister organization focuses on philanthropic efforts and community engagement, while the Foundation continues its work with and for the art in its collection. The Community Partnership will foster economic empowerment, racial and social justice, and educational advancement in select regions across the Southeast through grant-making, supporting entrepreneurship, advocacy, and other related priorities. Social and economic initiatives already undertaken have included working with artists to secure copyright compensation through Artists Rights Society, a new grant program in support of key communities, and the creation of a paid internship program for students of color to gain experience in the museum field.