It is with enormous pride in our accomplishments and a strategic vision for how to best foster Robert Giard’s legacy that the Board of Directors of the Robert Giard Foundation has made the difficult decision to close its doors at the end of this calendar year. The Giard Grant will continue to serve our community in a new home.
Established twenty years ago, immediately following Robert Giard’s death, the Foundation is best known for the Robert Giard Fellowship/Grant for Emerging LGBTQ+ Photographers. Created in 2009, the grant has offered financial support to 15 photographers from around the world, and recognition to an additional 22 others. At its inception the largest grant of its kind, the Robert Giard Grant for Emerging LGBTQ+ Photographers receives over 200 applications each year.
The Grant’s focus on heretofore underrecognized artists honors Giard’s professional trajectory, beginning at a time when no institutional support for LGBTQ+ photographers was available. Turning to photography in his mid 30’s with an advanced degree in English literature but no formal training in photography, Robert Giard crafted a career with grit, determination, and unswerving commitment of service to the gay community. In today’s world, emerging LGBTQ+ artists face different but no less daunting challenges in pursuit of their social, political, and artistic goals.
In its early years, the Foundation played a critical role in helping the Giard Estate to organize and document Robert Giard’s photographs and ephemera which resulted in the 2004 acquisition of his primary archive by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. Subsequently the Foundation created the first traveling exhibition of Giard’s Particular Voices portraits, and organized public programs to explore photographic-based representations of sexuality, gender, and the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people. The Foundation’s annual Spring Benefit brought together our community and honored LGBTQ+ writers including Edward Albee, Alison Bechdel, Jonathan Capehart, Clare Coss, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Alan Cumming, Michael Cunningham, Mark Doty, Masha Gessen, Tony Kushner, and Bob Morris.
For the past three years the Giard Foundation has partnered with Queer|Art to administer our Grant. Queer|Art is a vital and growing community-based organization committed to supporting, promoting, and showcasing the work of fresh generations of LGBTQ+ artists, as well as to recognizing the groundbreaking work of those who came before. We are honored that Q|A has made a three-year commitment to shoulder responsibility for the Giard Grant. We are confident that there could be no better home for the Grant in the coming years. Please find out more about the Giard Grant at Queer|Art.
We are deeply grateful to every one of our donors for helping us to make our work possible, and we look forward with excitement to the announcement of the 2022-23 grant cycle from Queer|Art in the coming weeks.
Jonathan Silin, President
Richard White, Secretary
Jay Chen, Treasurer