NYC Jewelry Week 2020 Announces New Grant Program to Benefit Black Designers

First, the very good news that NYC Jewelry Week 2020 (NYCJW) is moving forward as planned, Nov. 16–22, and will include a mix of virtual and live events.

The cornerstone of this year’s edition will be the organization’s Here We Are initiative, which supports and nurtures diversity and inclusion within the jewelry community through awareness, empowerment, and education. Launched in 2019 under the guidance of director of cultural diversity and inclusion, Elliot Carlyle, Here We Are will feature a combination of panels, webinars, and exhibitions.

A unique facet of the this year’s Here We Are programming is the introduction of new grant funding initiatives intended to provide direct financial support to Black jewelry artisans.

One financial grant recipient has already been named—New York–based designer Lorraine West (pictured). In addition to a financial gift, NYCJW will facilitate an exhibition of her work during NYCJW 2020.

Forthcoming financial awards will also be given to two Black jewelers from the United States who demonstrate a commitment to their craft and seek funding to advance their career or business.

The criteria: individual voice and aesthetic, quality and craftsmanship, drive, financial need, and goals.

Applications will be available through NYC Jewelry Week’s ​website ​starting Aug. 10.

“We cannot ignore the fact that within the underrepresented designer matrix there is a financial disparity that exists,” Carlyle said in a statement. “The talent is here, the education is here, the passion and drive is here, yet the funding is not. This grant program is a way that we can help to weaken and hopefully remove this systemic disadvantage through financial empowerment.”


Top: NYCJW 2020 will feature a solo exhibition of the work of grant recipient Lorraine West and will be accompanied by a conversation with the designer and Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, a curator at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (portrait via @lorrainewestjewelry).

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Amy Elliott

JCK Contributing Editor

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