Program: Arts in Health
Area of Work: Arts
Grant Purpose: Community Action Programs
Gibney’s mission is to tap into the vast potential of movement, creativity, and performance to effect social change and personal transformation. Founded in 1991 as a dance company dedicated to social action, Gibney has emerged as an arts and social justice powerhouse. The organization is now home to thousands of artists and community members across two New York City locations, totaling 23 studios, five performance spaces, and 52,000 square feet of space.
Purpose: To support Gibney’s Community Action Programs to empower survivors of domestic abuse and gender-based violence.
The Illumination Fund supports Community Action, the centerpiece of which is Move to Move Beyond, a robust program of movement workshops that addresses trauma, in partnership with Sanctuary for Families, Safe Horizon, Henry Street Settlement, Sakhi, and Community Health Action of Staten Island, among many other New York City organizations. Through Move to Move Beyond, Gibney offers free workshops annually to individuals and families who have experienced domestic abuse or gender-based violence. In addition, Gibney offers violence prevention programs for young people to promote healthy relationships.
In 2020, Gibney launched a new component of Move to Move Beyond to assemble a group of Sanctuary for Families “Survivor Leaders” — clients who are interested in serving as peer educators and advocates — to offer a series of formalized performances and advocacy opportunities so that their experiences can inspire broader communities. The Illumination Fund is also providing matching funds for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Research Grant to gather evidence-based research on the efficacy of its Move to Move Beyond program model.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illumination Fund has been supporting OKAY, Let’s Unpack This, an initiative realized by Gibney Artistic Associate Leal Zielińska, with the dual goal of normalizing and destigmatizing the conversation surrounding mental health in the dance field and increasing dancers’ access the mental health support resources. In FY21, the initiative provided more than 230 sessions of individual therapy to the national dance community with culturally competent therapists who have specific experience in working with dancers. The initiative has also been providing Gibney internal staff with individual therapy on an ongoing basis.
Photos by Julieta Cervantes .