It’s been a tough couple of years for the culturals, not just in Buffalo, but everywhere. Whereas most culturals count on in-person events to generate funds, the pandemic put a stranglehold on the event scene. Therefore, arts organizations have been relying on alternative sources of funding to keep going.
2022 has already been a big year for Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center. In early January, the organization announced that it brought onboard Zainab Saleh as new Executive Director. With expertise in media history and theory, leadership and development, and community-building, Saleh was a natural fit for the role.
“Squeaky Wheel continues to have its finger on the pulse of our most pressing cultural and political conversations,” says Saleh. “I’m excited to join the organization at such a historic time—we are at once grappling with what the past couple of years have wrought on Buffalo’s arts ecosystem while looking to the arts to offer possibility and change. I’m looking forward in particular to working with partners, media artists, and audiences to strengthen community engagement and build authentic relationships.”
“We are especially energized by Saleh’s outstanding research and advocacy work around arts access and equity, which we see as the cornerstone of Squeaky Wheel’s programming and services,” says board member and chair of the search committee, Dillon Joseph.
Saleh initially moved to Buffalo to join Buffalo Arts Studio as the Marketing and Community Development Coordinator
A short couple of weeks after Saleh embraced her new role, more big news has surfaced. Squeaky Wheel has been awarded a significant amount of funding – $100,000 by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which will support “exhibitions and screenings, the Workspace Residency program, commissions, talks, and workshops that support individual artists and demystify art practices.”
Thanks to the multi-year program support, Squeaky Wheel will be able to enhance its accessibility to programs and events, while offering artist residents additional financial assistance for childcare and/or disability support.
Squeaky Wheel is one of 49 organizations receiving funding through the Andy Warhol Foundation’s Fall 2021 grant cycle, with awards totaling $4.1 million.
Saleh stated, “We are honored to receive this grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation in support of our programs. This funding will provide our organization and artists with the crucial space to experiment and think critically about the ways that the pandemic has shifted how we engage with each other, both in physical spaces and virtually.”
“Squeaky Wheel provides media artists with critical opportunities to create and present work in unconventional ways to new audiences,” said Rachel Bers, Program Director of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, “We are pleased to support its programs that bring experimental artists to Buffalo and give them a platform from which to participate in national media art conversations.”
Lead image: Squeaky Wheel’s Animation Fest