What We Do

Arts Culture and Education

Arts and culture are powerful tools
that change hearts and minds. Astraea provides critical support to progressive artists and arts organizations around the world. Whether first-time filmmakers or award-winning novelists, slam poets or theater troupes, these unique and truthful voices are challenging, inspiring and connecting individuals, issues and communities.


Group arts endeavors are funded through the U.S. grants program; individual writers and visual artists are funded though the Lesbian Writers Fund and the Astraea Visual Arts Fund. The Margot Karle Scholarship Fund provides grants to women enrolled in an City University of New York undergraduate program of any discpline who work for social, racial, economic, political, and/or environmental justice.

The Astraea Visual Arts Fund was founded in 2002 to promote the work of contemporary lesbian visual artists who show artistic merit and share Astraea's commitment to LGBTI visibility and social justice. Each year, three grants of $2,500 are awarded to artists working in an array of media including sculpture, painting, prints, mixed media and works on paper. Two grants are supported by an endowed gift from founding mother and artist Joan Watts. A third grant to an artist west of the Mississippi is made possible by Skip's Sappho Fund, established at Astraea by a bequest from Skip Neal, a lesbian artist who enjoyed a successful career in museum exhibition.The awards are determined by a distinguished panel of artists and art professionals.

Launched in 1991, the Lesbian Writer's Fund has awarded nearly a half-million dollars to emerging lesbian poets and fiction writers across the U.S. Too often, lesbian writing is marginalized by literary venues and funding sources, resulting in exceptionally talented artists unable to receive the nurturing and support so vital to their craft. The Lesbian Writers Fund is attempting to remedy this - and with good results. A former grantee used her award to purchase a computer, and no longer had to write by hand; and another attracted the attention of a prominent agent who facilitated the publication of her first novel.

The Margot Karle Scholarship Fund was established to honor the life of Margot, who as a lesbian attorney and the Director of New York's Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, made significant contributions to the struggle for human rights. The Margot Karle Scholarship is available to full-time, female undergraduate students attending a City University of New York (CUNY) school.