ArtsBuild Announces Recipients Of 2023 Racial Equity Grants For Individual Artists

  • Wednesday, January 25, 2023

ArtsBuild announces the six local artists receiving awards from the Racial Equity Grants for Individual Artists program. They are John Beder, Tiffany Herron, Stephanie Hong, Silang Sam, Angie To and Charlene White.

The REGIA program was designed to provide more racially equitable grant funding in the community. The latest round of grants was eligible for artists who identify as Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander and are living and working in Hamilton County. Grant funding was available in three categories: Artist Works, Equipment, and Professional Development. REGIA is made possible with gifts from individual donors, Lyndhurst Foundation, Benwood Foundation, and Footprint Foundation. ArtsBuild is currently fundraising for an additional round of grants that will be eligible for women artists in 2024.

Thirty-eight percent of ArtsBuild’s grant funding last year was awarded to BIPOC-led or BIPOC-serving organizations. It is a strategic priority that ArtsBuild funding reflects the demographics of the geographic area we serve, said officials. The goals for the REGIA program include:

Making arts funding more equitable in our community by creating access to resources for artists of color in Hamilton County.

Providing support to established and emerging racially diverse artists.

Broadening the types of artists supported in the community.

Ensuring the distribution of financial and capacity-building resources for minority artists.

John Beder is a musician turned filmmaker and leads the team of Bedrock Productions. His first feature-length documentary, Composed, explored stage fright in musicians and was shortly followed by the New York Times Op-Doc Dying in Your Mother’s Arms about a doctor providing palliative care. John’s many projects have won awards, Emmy nominations, and public acclaim. He and his wife, Katie DeRoche, founded Bedrock Productions in 2015 and continue to research and produce films that explore the areas that they care most about like public health, climate change, and social justice. John will use the grant funding to complete and make widely accessible one of his current film projects, How to Sue the Klan.

Tiffany Herron is a literary artist of Samoan and Eastern European ethnicity who has lived in
Chattanooga for the past 20 years. Her initial career was in outdoor recreation, a career that
catered to her love of nature. Identifying as a literary artist since 2017, Tiffany’s grant funding
with allow her to finish writing her life story, a story that will take her on a journey of discovery about her experience of being adopted and meeting her biological family.

Stephanie Hong is a Taiwanese American creative and SAG-eligible screen actor passionate about screenwriting. A storyteller at heart, she is proud to be an AAPI creator focusing much of her writing time crafting trauma-infused sitcoms that juxtapose joy with suffering to advocate for justice. Through her grant funding, Stephanie will take time to hone her screenwriting skills as well as get professional feedback and support to further her artistic endeavors.

Silang Sam is a media artist originally from Northern Virginia who has lived in Chattanooga since 2013. As a graphic designer and visual art enthusiast, she has been creating art for more than eight years. Currently, Silang is the Visual Strategies Manager with River City Company. Silang will use her grant funding to purchase photography equipment and training to curate a project entitled “Listen: Stories of AAPI Student Experiences.”

Angie To is a visual artist who moved from Western New York in 2021 to head the UTC Art Department. Of the job prospects she considered in various cities, the vibrancy of Chattanooga is what led her to move south. Chattanooga impressed Angie as a place that values and promotes the arts to a broad population. The grant funding will provide Angie the opportunity to engage in research to support her goal of creating six large-scale paintings with professional documentation of her work upon completion.

Charlene White is a performance artist who was cast in the recent world premiere of Michael Dexter Marin-Howard’s Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. She was the first Asian-American actor to be cast in a lead female role in the history of CTC. She is committed to being engaged in the art scene of Chattanooga and encouraging her fellow Asian creatives to do the same. Charlene will use the grant funding to purchase equipment, attend the annual Southeastern Theatre Conference, and enroll in voice and acting courses offered locally through Chattanooga State and UTC.

For more information about REGIA and additional ArtsBuild grants, contact Melissa Astin, Manager of Grants and Community Engagement, at or visit

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