Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures

39 BIPOC-led Organizations and Artists Awarded $1 Million Through Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures Program

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in collaboration with The Barra Foundation, Neubauer Family Foundation, William Penn Foundation, and Wyncote Foundation announced today $1,010,000 in grants to support 39 Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations and artists through the Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures (PCT) funding initiative.

The grants are designed to resource projects that position Greater Philadelphia’s BIPOC creative community for enduring success. Funded work includes performances, exhibitions, films, poetry, community-engaged public art projects, artistic archives, and organizational capacity-building efforts such as staff expansions and technology upgrades.

The grants are awarded as part of the regional component of America’s Cultural Treasures, a national initiative created by the Ford Foundation. Recognizing a persistent history of unequal access to resources among BIPOC communities—the impacts of which were further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic—Ford partnered with local philanthropic leaders nationwide to initiate a relief effort to honor and celebrate BIPOC cultural groups, artists, and organizations.

Project grants are awarded in three amounts—$10,000, $25,000, and $50,000—to organizations with annual operating budgets of no larger than $300,000 and artists over 18 years of age who have lived and worked in Philadelphia for at least the past five years.

Awardees in the field of dance and movement are:

Archives & Documentation

Tania Isaac: To document the dance artist and writer’s more than two decades of practice and produce an artist’s book spanning her performance work, interactive installations, research, and public talks on culture and artistic processes that explore models for thoughtful, audience-centered engagement.

jaamil olawale kosoko: To preserve and present two decades of the transdisciplinary artist’s work in an interactive digital form as The (CHRYSALIS) Archives, including live performance, sculpture, lecture, moving image, and poetry that consider themes of Afrofuturity, healing, and queer theories and practices of the body.

Creative Freedom & Experimentation

Val Gay: To create Their Will, incorporating music, poetry, dance, and film to tell the story of G. Edward and Addie W. Dickerson, a Black “power couple” in early 20th-century Philadelphia, along with stories of other notable Black couples in Philadelphia history.

Shavon Norris: To create The Croning, a movement and theater performance that considers Black women’s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual experiences of aging, drawing from interviews, story circles, and movement explorations with middle-aged and elder Black women. 

Pedro Ospina: To continue developing The Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden, a community-oriented project in Norris Square that serves as an “artistic laboratory”, considers the largely Latino neighborhood’s land and cultural traditions through food, and hosts events such as artmaking workshops, poetry readings, and dance classes.

Organizational Capacity Building

Mamadêlê Foundation: To hire and train two teaching artists and a project management/marketing administrator for the organization’s school residency program, which promotes Afro-Brazilian culture through a blend of artistic practice (including music, dance, and martial arts) and cultural studies.

“These project grants continue Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures’ support for BIPOC artists and institutions as they expand creative practices, preserve artistic legacies, explore new collaborations, and strengthen organizational sustainability,” said Paula Marincola, executive director of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. “We’re gratified to be a part of this philanthropic collaboration to bolster BIPOC-led work that contributes so much vitality to the city’s cultural landscape.”

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