About Critical Minded
Critical Minded is a granting and learning initiative to support cultural critics of color in the United States, where they are underrepresented in the coverage of all artistic disciplines. Founded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Ford Foundation, and fiscally sponsored by Allied Media Projects, it launched with a national convening of 50 critics in 2017. Its purpose is to build the resources and visibility of cultural critics of color in the US through: direct support to publications and individuals, research, advocacy and convening.
Critical Minded emerges from the belief that engaging critically with the ideas and images that surround us is a prerequisite to transforming our cultural landscape. In order for artists to shift dominant narratives and seed visions of new possibility, the ideas embedded in their work must travel. Critics analyze, interrogate and interpret art for the public and ignite informed discourse around culture and politics. Critical thinking is essential to democracy as well as to the arts, and while critics are sometimes unpopular, in their absence artforms atrophy.
The critic of color who works to dissect dominant narratives and champion aesthetics and unseen stories advances justice. In order for these voices to flourish, Critical Minded works to develop equitable and sustainable economic structures, dismantle barriers to participation and harness the power of a community of powerful and often unsung and under resourced influencers. Just as journalism funders see local reporting as essential scaffolding for communities’ civic participation, Critical Minded considers arts criticism to play a similarly pivotal role in their cultural infrastructure. It also aims to grow the critical discourse around many art forms into one that is more robust, nuanced and representative of the communities that create them.