The Black Art Futures Fund, which launched earlier this year and received more than 30 applications for its first round of grants, has given $15,000 to its four inaugural grantees, reports HyperAllergic.com. The Black Art Futures Fund (BAFF), a young organization working to support small cultural groups focused on supporting the work of artists of African descent, announced the winning grantees for its inaugural funding cycle on May 8. The winners include groups in New York City and organizations in smaller, regional centers: a $6,000 award to the Center for Afrofuturist Studies in Iowa City, Iowa; a $4,000 award to the I, Too Arts Collective in New York; and two $2,500 awards to the Cumbe Center for African and Dispora in Brooklyn, and the Watering Hole in Columbia, South Carolina. “I could rattle on for days about the contributions from artists of African descent, and organizations centering those artists, to the larger universe of arts and culture,” BAFF founder DéLana R.A. Dameron, who is a poet and arts administrator in addition to her decade of experience in non-profit fundraising, told HyperAllergic over email. “Today, we need affirming spaces, places that mirror us. Here in New York City, I think about the large, known beacons of Black artistic production: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Studio Museum of Harlem, places I patronize. But, when I want deep community, I turn to the smaller arts and culture institutions, those that I would say are ‘closer to the ground.’ Small community-based organizations are in the schools. They are at, or are hosting, the block party. They are at City Hall. They are most often the first-responders.”