A new arts program—Emergent Seed—is offering $500 microgrants and the opportunity for emerging writers and composers in the DC Metro area to have their work broadcast in virtual events. Committed to addressing the immediate financial stress caused by COVID-19 closures, Emergent Seed is investing in the virtual infrastructure for the performing arts. Emergent Seed’s vision is to spotlight the local creative community while addressing the lost income and lost visibility of so many performing artists.
Submissions will consist of two- to five-minute videos of original work in one of four categories: Poetry, Storytelling, Song & Lyrics, and Instrumental. Applications are now open and will close Monday June 15, 2020, at 12pm EST. To be eligible, applicants must live in DC or one of the six surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia consisting of Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Montgomery, Prince George’s; be 18 to 35 years old; and have been financially impacted by the coronavirus closures. Writers and composers may apply by visiting the Emergent Seed website to learn how to make and submit videos of their original work.
The name Emergent Seed reflects both the “emergency” coronavirus situation we are living in, as well as both who it will help—“emerging” artists—and how it will help—with “seed” funding and short video performances.
The founder of Emergent Seed, Adrianna Smith, is a writer and poet living in Washington, DC, who has been published in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Poet Lore, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly. She has privately raised money for this round and a second one in the summer and will be raising additional funds to keep Emergent Seed an ongoing effort. Emergent Seed plans to grow as a social enterprise—a financially self-sustaining vehicle—raising money to give out microgrants beyond the initial funding raised and host virtual events and broadcasts.
Smith is also the host and creator of Makars, a free, monthly open mic series that brings together high-quality, genre-diverse performers in different locations across the DC Metro area. Makars has showcased amazing local DC area talent and in less than a year has attracted a community of over 500 people. Inspired by this spirit of creativity and community building, Smith is dedicated to finding ways, especially during this COVID-19 crisis, to support both the kinds of emerging artists she regularly saw at Makars, as well as those yet to be discovered.