AOL Announces Winners of ’25 for 25′ Grant Program

An esteemed jury of creativity experts has spoken, and 25 artists, designers, photographers, filmmakers, and musicians are $25,000 richer thanks to AOL’s “25 for 25” grant program. Part of the company’s Project on Creativity, launched earlier this year with the help of artist Chuck Close and an epic 25th-anniversary bash at the New Museum, the program has just awarded $625,000 in grants to “tomorrow’s groundbreakers and visionaries—individuals with a creative spark to ignite.” Critically assessing the creative sparks of applicants was a distinguished AOL advisory board that included the Whitney’s Adam D. Weinberg and Chrissie Iles, UnBeige editor emeritus Jen Bekman, architect Rafael de Cardenas, and crimson-spectacled Paper editrix Kim Hastreiter.

Among the recipients from the design side of the creativity continuum is Courtland, New York-based architect Julio F. Torres-Santana, who plans to use the funding to do a bit of field testing of the portable shelter system he developed. “I’m going to take it to an area in Ithaca where there are homeless people and give it to someone who can use it,” he said. Also funneling the $25K into product development is Adital Ela, a Tel Aviv-based sustainable design specialist. She’ll spend the cash to create functioning prototypes of WindyLight, her collection of self-sufficient (and stunningly beautiful) outdoor lights that incorporate wind energy and an LED light source. “I would like to exhibit the project to allow the illustration and communication of a vision in which products become a direct link between renewable resources and basic everyday human needs,” explained Ela, a TED fellow. Keep reading for the full list of winners.

  • Adital Ela: Product Designer, Sustainable Design (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Angela Riechers: Writer, Educator, Documentary Film (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Anthony Feyer: Photography & Painting (New York, NY)
  • Christopher Johnson: Radio & Journalism (Oakland, CA)
  • Coke O’Neal: Photography & Video (New York, NY)
  • Daniel McCabe: Photojournalism & Filmmaker (Saugerties, NY)
  • Dantes Rameau: Bassoonist & Music Education (Atlanta, GA)
  • Davide Balliano: Painting & Performance Art (New York, NY)
  • Eléonore Hendricks: Photography (New York, NY)
  • Evelyn Davis: Designer & Visual Communications and Education (Westerville, OH)
  • Jason Polan: Illustration (New York, NY)
  • Jeremy Dziedzic: Sound (Syracuse, NY)
  • Jimmy McBride: Creative Textile Fabricator (Chicago, IL)
  • Josh Safdie: Filmmaker (New York, NY)
  • Julio F. Torres-Santana: Architect & Industrial Design (Courtland, NY)
  • Kristen Campbell: Animation & Film (Valencia, CA)
  • Lauren Seiden: Visual Artist & Drawing (New York, NY)
  • Marc Horowitz: American Culturalist & Artist (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Marian Pierce Hoffart: Painting & Community (Needham, MA)
  • Michael Duva: Photographer (New York, NY)
  • Rachel Sussman: Photographer (New York, NY)
  • Sara Lamm: Documentary Filmmaker (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Taj Forer: Photographer, Portrait and Landscape (Chapel Hill, NC)
  • Tema Stauffer: Photographer & Art Blogger (New York, NY)
  • Zach Lieberman: Artist & Technology (New York, NY)