2014 Recipients

Other Minds 20th Anniversary – $11,350 Grant

Grant: December 2014

Other Minds is a vital force for the promotion of new and challenging music.  In honor of their retrospective 20th Anniversary Festival in March of 2015, the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation will sponsor a performance of the Don Byron Quartet.  Originally appearing during Other Minds second festival, Don Byron is an extraordinary composer, improviser, clarinetist and saxophonist. Mr. Byron was runner up for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

Don Byron. For over two decades, Don Byron, a recipient of the first Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, has been a singular voice in an astounding range of musical contexts, exploring widely divergent traditions while continually striving for what he calls “a sound above genre.” As clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic, he redefines every genre of music he plays, be it classical, salsa, hip-hop, funk, rhythm & blues, klezmer, or any jazz style from swing and bop to cutting-edge downtown improvisation. He has been consistently voted best clarinetist by critics and readers alike in leading international music journals since being named “Jazz Artist of the Year” by Down Beat in 1992. Acclaimed as much for his restless creativity as for his unsurpassed virtuosity as a player, Byron has presented a multitude of projects at major music festivals around the world.

Aruán Ortiz is a critically acclaimed Cuban pianist, award- winning composer, and a solid producer and educator, not only on the New York City scene, but internationally as well.

Cameron Brown. Although he spent some years studying piano, Brown switched to bass while still at school and later, while studying at university, attracted attention for his playing in a jazz quartet. In the mid-60s he spent some time in Europe, playing with the likes of George Russell, Don Cherry and Donald Byrd.

John Betsch was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1945 and presently lives in Paris. His mother was a church organist and pianist and his sister a dramatic soprano singer. John began playing drums at age nine and started playing professionally at 18 while a student at Fisk University.

Other Minds »
Don Byron »
Founded, 1995
San Francisco, CA

Issue Project Room – $15,000 Matching Grant

Matching Grant Challenge: November 2014

Spurred by the conviction that audience support is critical to the sustainability of an innovative creative community, The Robert D. Bielecki Foundation has offered a $15,000 matching grant if ISSUE raises $10,000 in donations by December 31, 2014.

ISSUE Project Room is a pioneering performance center, presenting time-based work by emerging and established experimental artists that expand the boundaries of creative practice and stimulate critical dialogue about art and culture in the broader community. ISSUE plays a vital role in NYC’s cultural ecology, facilitating the commission and premiere of new works and presenting a diverse array of artists working across and between the disciplines of sound, dance, film, performance and literature. Programming places an emphasis on bringing recognition to creative practitioners whose important contributions to the artistic field are underrepresented, often as a result of the artists’ gender, sexuality, or geographic location. Through the cultivation of innovative new work, ISSUE performs an essential research and development function that fosters a dynamic influx of ideas into the local, national, and international creative landscape.

The Robert D. Bielecki Foundation’s visionary support of ISSUE Project Room has been absolutely vital to our diverse network of risk-taking experimental artists.  Through their remarkable ability to leverage grants as a catalyst for audience engagement and support, the Foundation has quickly established itself as a leading force in the growth and sustainability of NYC’s creative community. – Matthew Walker, Development Director, Issue Project Room

Issue Project Room »
Founded, 2003
New York / Brooklyn, NY

Rhizome: $10,000 Prix Net Art

Multi Year Grant: October 2014 – October 2016

The Robert D. Bielecki Foundation is honored to underwrite the First Place $10,000 Prix Net Art Award over the next three years.

Net Art is a lot like pornography…a challenge to define, but you know it when you see it.  (Do you know it when you see it?)

Net art, post-internet art, new media, art post-internet—the definitions like the forms themselves seem permanently emergent, contentious, in-flux, disputed, rejected even—and therefore ripe for discussion and debate.

Rhizome is the premier laboratory exploring these issues and re-thinking artistic creation, distribution, and reception in relation to changing conditions associated with network technologies.

Rhizome and Beijing based TASML and CAT/CCIA created the Prix Net Art International Award For Net Art to acknowledge the shifting relationship between art and the web.   

For a foundation to throw down the gauntlet by supporting new and expanded artforms, such as internet art, from the get go — is nothing less than visionary. The Robert D. Bielecki Foundation has shown exceptional insight as to the potential for new media to expand and engage new audiences, which we know will make a big impact in years to come. Rhizome is honored that you would grant our organization and the Prix Net Art in the Foundation’s (and the Prix’s) first year. We are excited about the Foundation’s mission, which complements and supports our own. Thank you.

— Heather Corcoran, Executive Director, Rhizome

and the winner is….JODI


Rhizome »
Founded, 1996
New York, NY

Prix Net Art»
Founded, 2014
NYC / Beijing

Wall of War: A Massive Data Visualization

Grant: October 2014

“One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is just a statistic” – Stalin

Wall of War is a graphic installation by VCUarts (Virginia Commonwealth University) student Dylan Halpern working to visualization the ~463,000 incidents cataloged in the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs.

The toil of war, its human costs, are easily lost in a quagmire of numbers and obscure symbols.

Mr. Halpern’s project explores the idea of war and the implications of large scale leaks and critiques the state of data visualization and information graphics today.

The Foundation has provided funding to assist Mr. Halpern:

– Hire a web developer to help build an interactive web version of the data for the public to explore.
– Work with a developer to build an app that can recognize symbols and produce text-based information.
– Create a unique work for the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation using Wall of War source material.

The Foundation is confident that Wall of War will attract interest from museums and galleries around the United States and beyond.

“I hope that this project will serve as a reminder to the great sacrifices and losses that happened as a result of these conflicts…” – Dylan Halpern

Project, 2014
Richmond, VA

Heat Seek:
Artistic Tech + A Helping Hand

Donation: September 2014

Heat Seek NYC is a civic hacking project whose mission is to help New York City keep the heat on.

Heat Seek is smart technology crafted in the service of helping others.  It’s elegant and sophisticated, simple to use and easy to understand.

Neither culture nor cultural philanthropy exist in a vacuum.  We’re proud to be a donor.

“We’re a team of New Yorkers who believes no New Yorker should have to spend the winter in a frigid apartment. The reality is, this happens to thousands of us every year, creating a public health hazard and some serious animosity between tenants and landlords.  At Heat Seek NYC, we’re tapping the internet of things to empower tenants, landlords, community organizations, and the justice system to tackle our city’s heating crisis.” – Heat Seek

Heat Seek »
Founded, 2014
New York, NY

Pianist Matthew Shipp Awarded a $15,000 Unrestricted Grant

Grant: September 2014

As beneficiaries of his genius, Mr. Shipp is deserving of our gratitude.

A single note or chord defines a voice of profound originality.  He inspires listeners to seek new frames of reference every time he performs.  He fearlessly speaks his mind on and off the piano bench.  His music is as relevant to the museum or gallery as it is to the club or concert hall.  The elasticity of his swing rejects the austerity of convention.

A full page announcement (PDF link) will appear in the October 2014 New York City Jazz Record and November 2014 issue of Downbeat magazine.

Matthew Shipp was born December 7, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware.  He started piano at five, falling in love with jazz at the age of twelve.  After moving to New York City in 1984 he quickly became one of the primary innovators on the scene.  He was a sideman in the David S. Ware Quartet and Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory before pursuing his own projects including several seminal chamber jazz ensembles.

He has a new recording out on the Thirsty Ear label, “I’ve Been to Many Places” and will be performing solo at Greenwich House on September 28th and at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 3rd, 2014.

‘’The foundation is a true blessing.  It has a vision where the music can go and actually puts it into practice—this is so rare.  And I know the foundation is going to have a big part in creating a vibrant scene for the music.  A heartfelt thank you for including me.  I will develop some spirited music for my chamber ensemble with this support.’’ – Matthew Shipp

Matthew Shipp »
Born, 1960
New York, NY

Microscope Gallery 2014-2015 Official Event Series Sponsor

Grant: August 2014

Our Foundation delights in experimentation, risk taking and organizations that demonstrate creative potential.   We applaud Microscope Gallery and the ambition of their new Event Series.

As the OFFICIAL SPONSOR of Microscope’s 2014-2015 Event Series, the grant will be used towards infrastructure costs associated with their new location as well as Event Series outreach, work with additional curators, increase in film rental budget, promotion, web, archiving, and video documentation.

“We truly could not have found a better Sponsor for our new Events Series, and we are honored to have been chosen. The existence of a Foundation with such vision opens new possibilities for all artists and organizations taking risks in moving image, sound and performing arts.” – Andrea Monti & Elle Burchill, co-directors

Microscope Gallery »
Founded, 2010
Bushwick area of Brooklyn, NY

Creative Capital Office Naming

Grant: July 2014

A leader in the vanguard of applying strategic business practices to art funding, Creative Capital is the perfect choice as the Foundation’s first grantee.

In honor of Creative Capital’s longstanding commitment to supporting innovative and adventurous artists, the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation is permanently naming the Director’s Office in their new space.

“We are so touched by the Foundation’s generous gift to Creative Capital, and especially honored to be your first awardee. We read your mission statement aloud in the office this morning and we love the fresh language and the deep curiosity that it represents. And of course, how compatible it feels with everything we are trying to be and do. I know you will make such a difference to many organizations and individuals. Thank you.” —Ruby Lerner, President & Executive Director

Creative Capital »
Founded, 1999
New York, NY

Poets House Silver Anniversary Sustainer

Award: July 2014

“It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” —William Carlos Williams

In recognition of the vital work Poets House performs, we are proud to be a Silver Anniversary Sustainer. Poets House’s collection is among the most comprehensive, open-stacks collections of poetry in the United States.

“It is such a material and spiritual boost to have your support and your feedback.” —Lee Briccetti, Executive Director

Poets House »
Founded, 1985
New York, NY

Fred Van Hove NYC Residency

Grant: July 2014

A living legend, pianist Fred Van Hove has redefined the art of improvisation for over fifty years.

In appreciation of his seminal achievements as a pianist, improviser and creative artist, our Foundation is underwriting Fred Van Hove’s September 2014 performances through the auspices of Arts for Art, Inc.

Fred Van Hove will perform Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 at 8:30 and 10pm in duets with drummer Lou Grassi at iBeam, located at 168 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY.

Mr. Van Hove will also perform Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 8 and 10pm as part of the Evan Parker Residency at the Stone, located on the corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street.

“Your foundation provides a great advantage to artists in overcoming the difficulties they encounter in their quest to create a better world for the future through art. Many thanks for this support.” – Fred Van Hove

Fred Van Hove »
Born, 1937
Antwerp, Belgium

Downtown Music Gallery Tech Upgrade

Donation: July 2014

The Downtown Music Gallery (DMG) is a New York institution.  When the definitive history of the city’s downtown music scene gets written, the fingerprints of proprietor Bruce Gallanter and his record store will be all over it.

To celebrate Downtown Music Gallery’s (DMG) longstanding promotion of creative music worldwide, we are donating a much needed computer.

For almost twenty-five years DMG has exposed thousands of listeners to adventurous jazz and modern composition. A debt of gratitude is owed by the entire new music community for their steadfast effort.

“This computer will help us champion more artists, more recordings, and more rare albums. A warm and sincere thank you.” —Bruce Gallanter, Owner, Downtown Music Gallery

Downtown Music Gallery »
Founded, 1991
New York, NY