Pew funds local projects

Joiri Minaya, Container #4, 2020, 60″ x 40”; photo courtesy of the artist. Minaya is a lead artist on BlackStar Projects’ Venus Fly Trap.

Two South Philly organizations and a project taking place in FDR Park received a sizable chunk of funding from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

South Philly-based BlackStar Projects and Ars Nova Workshop were among 30 local organizations chosen for grant money, as well as an EgoPo Classic Theatre project, which will take place at FDR Park.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage handed out a total of $9.5 million to Support Philadelphia organizations and a dozen artist fellowships. The new grants will fund local performances, exhibitions, events and artistic practices that engage with issues of identity, representation, community and history.

“We are heartened to see such dynamic and thoughtful work coming from the Philadelphia region’s institutions and artists, even as the sector continues to cope with ongoing challenges resulting from the pandemic,” said Paula Marincola, the Center’s executive director. “The local arts community remains deeply committed to serving audiences by offering resonant cultural experiences while evolving approaches to visitor services, health, and safety. The Center’s new grants affirm that the arts will continue to play a vital and necessary role in the civic life and economic success of our region.”

Project grants ranged from $75,000 to $300,000 plus an additional 20 percent in general operating support. 
The goal is to help organizations, many of which spotlight artists in communities in color, to engage broad and varied audiences across the region through outdoor performances, public art installations, exhibitions in museum galleries and community spaces, films and new music encompassing classical, jazz, hip-hop, traditional folk and other genres.
The annual grant money recently pivoted from pandemic recovery to arts and heritage organizations.

BlackStar Projects was awarded a total of $301,152 and will present an outdoor performance series examining Philadelphia’s colonialist horticultural practices and the cultural significance of plants for Indigenous and Black people of the Americas, especially the Caribbean.

Ars Nova Workshop was awarded $231,600 and will present a retrospective on the collaboration between Black jazz composer and musician Don Cherry and Swedish visual artist and designer Moki Cherry, which recreates the life partners’ integrated vision of art without boundaries among genres, artistic disciplines and cultures. Contemporary artist Lisa Alvarado designs an immersive environment to house the exhibition, bringing together textiles, paintings, music, video and other media.

EgoPo Classic Theater will bring a collaboration with two Indonesian theater companies to South Philly’s FDR Park in an open-air tent performance that crosses cultural borders and blends contemporary and traditional puppetry, dance, music and theater. It was awarded $148,000 for its initiative.