Press Release: Leonardo/ISAST receives $500K for CripTech Incubator from California Arts Council Innovations + Intersections Grants 

By Danielle Siembieda

Press Release 

Contact: Danielle Siembieda, 619-757-4477, press@leonardo.info

Date: 30 October 2020

Leonardo/ISAST receives $500K for CripTech Incubator from California Arts Council Innovations + Intersections Grants 

Oakland, CA–Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST) received a $500,000 grant as part of The California Arts Council (CAC) Innovations + Intersections pilot program to advance groundbreaking strategies for community needs in the wellness and technology sectors. The grant supports Leonardo/ISAST’s CripTech Incubator, an art-and-technology program centered on disability innovation. CripTech Incubator creates an innovation platform for artists with disabilities to remake creative technologies through an accessibility lens. Technologies are often designed for nondisabled users or as prostheses to cure or normalize disability. CripTech Incubator instead recognizes disability innovation as a commonplace practice that emerges from lived experiences of disability. Employing a broad understanding of technologies, including prosthetic tools, neural networks, software and the built environment, CripTech Incubator reimagines enshrined notions of how a body-mind can move, look, communicate.

CripTech Incubator engages Leonardo/ISAST’s networks to conduct residencies, workshops, work-in-progress presentations, exhibitions and education initiatives. Spanning California, our partners include Beall Center for Art and Technology; Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology; Berkeley Disability Lab; ThoughtWorks Arts Residency; Nokia Bell Labs; Gray Area Foundation for the Arts; and Arizona State University’s Herald Examiner Building. Participating artists will present works-in-progress at the eight California sites of the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) international speaker program that joins artists, scientists and technologists in conversation and community. Online curricula addressing new media art and access will be developed in coordination with Arizona State University, featuring CripTech artists, scholars and advocates. Project outcomes and reflections will be published on Leonardo/ISAST’s platforms including a special issue of Leonardo journal and Groundworks.io, a collaboration platform developed by the Alliance for Research Universities in the Arts, centering access as a systemic feature.

“Leonardo/ISAST is thrilled to work with the CAC and our partners to launch the CripTech Incubator,” says Diana Ayton-Shenker, CEO, Leonardo. “This initiative is close to my heart as it advances Leonardo’s ongoing commitment to champion equity throughout our organization and to drive intersectional diversity across the arts and technology fields. CripTech breaks down barriers and builds on Leonardo’s work to increase access, inclusivity and connectivity through virtual platforms and digital networks. Artists living with diverse abilities embody the resilience, resourcefulness and inventiveness that we all need to cultivate, especially now. Amidst the syndemic of cascading crises we face today, we need CripTech to reimagine and reshape technology as means of compassion, creativity, humanity.” 

Leonardo/ISAST is honored to be one of six funding grantees of the CAC Innovations + Intersections program, designed to support creative strategies for urgent community needs crossing the technology and wellness sectors—two areas that CAC identified as having the greatest potential for demonstrable impact and community value when connected with arts and culture. 

“The Innovations + Intersections program stemmed from our desire as Council members to bring together the areas of technology and wellness in order to generate the greatest impact for our state’s communities. We wanted to allow California’s arts and cultural organizations the freedom to dream big and define those projects as they saw fit—to determine what was needed in their communities and to imagine a new approach to best address those needs,” said California Arts Council Chair Nashormeh Lindo. “The bold thinking and groundbreaking ideas from these six awarded organizations are exceptional. We are honored to support their projects creatively taking on such relevant issues for our state.”

Projects were funded at the largest award amounts in the CAC’s history, made possible by a one-time 2018 state funding increase. Other awarded project designs consider the areas of artificial intelligence and digital literacy, Native and Indigenous community wellness and wildfire management.

View the California Arts Council’s full announcement for a complete listing of all Innovations + Intersections grantees and their projects.

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Leonardo/ISAST has been fearlessly pioneering since 1968. Today we drive innovation at the intersection of Art, Science and Technology for positive global transformation. We inspire learners and leaders to catalyze change through the powerful exchange of ideas and cultivation of compelling content, transdisciplinary research and collaborative communities, because complex problems require creative, boundary-crossing solutions.

The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Members of the California Arts Council include Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Jaime Galli, Larry Baza, Lilia Gonzales Chavez, Jodie Evans, Kathleen Gallegos, Stanlee Gatti, Donn K. Harris, Alex Israel, Consuelo Montoya and Jonathan Moscone. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.

The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, visit http://arts.ca.gov/aboutus/language.php.