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The Female Design Council (FDC) announced today Luam Melake and Mia Wright-Ross as recipients of its inaugural Grant 01. The initiative was established in 2020, aiming to support women of color in the field of design, architecture, and creativity, and was juried by FDC and kinder MODERN founder Lora Appleton, Intellect founder John Smiroldo, artist and BADG founder Malene Barnett, artist and BZIPPY & CO founder Bari Ziperstein, and design researcher Alyse Archer-Coité.
"I started the Female Design Council grant program, beginning with the inaugural Grant 01, to support the creative ideas of Black womxn. The FDC recognizes the necessity of establishing racial equity and gender parity in design, art and architecture," said Appleton.
Designers Melake and Wright-Ross will receive $2,500 each, aiding in making their vision a reality through financing prototyping and production. "Our FDC grants are designed to provide exposure, production support, community and professional development for BIPOC creators. It is essential that our industry celebrates diversity of vision, and we are proud to support the next generation of designers," said Appleton.
New York-based Melake's practice is defined by handwoven sculpture and furniture objects. She investigates material function and mobility to explore user emotion and engagement. Her pieces have been exhibited at R&Company, Mana Contemporary, Parker Gallery, and elsewhere.
Leather artisan, designer, and educator Wright-Ross is the founder of luxury lifestyle brand MWR Collection. She creates handmade collections of furniture, accessories, home goods, and footwear, alongside incorporating leatherwork in sculpture, tapestry, and installation.
The selection committee also named Ebere Agwuncha, Aliana Grace Bailey, Sekoi Cooper, Nia Musiba, Nifemi Ogunro, and Kesiena Onosigho as honorees.
Of what's to come, Appleton shared, "I am happy to report that our FDC grant program is growing. The next open application for Grant 02 will be announced soon."