The Pittsburgh Foundation

Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program awards $170,000 in grants

PITTSBURGH, Pa., July 11 2017 – A poetry manuscript, documentary films and residencies for two ceramic artists are among the 12 artists and organizations to receive Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grants this cycle.

A partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh is a grant-making program in the region explicitly dedicated to supporting excellence in presenting and producing artwork rooted in the black experience. There are two grant cycles each year. The most recent cycle awarded $170,000. A complete list of the grantees can be found below.

Since the partnership between the two organizations began in 2010, Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh has awarded more than $4 million in grants to help build the careers of individual artists, to increase the sustainability of cultural organizations that focus on Black arts, to build community awareness of the Black arts sector, and to support efforts toward greater collaboration and the elimination of racial disparities within the larger arts sector.

This cycle, there were 48 applications for operating support, grants to encourage collaborations and advance the production and presentation of art from the African diaspora, and for individual artists and residencies funding. Individual artist and residency applications were reviewed by a panel of artists and experts, including Gail Austin, managing director for Kente Arts Alliance; James Brown, director of youth development at the Homewood Brushton YMCA, which is home to the Lighthouse Project afterschool media arts program for youth; art historian, cultural producer and writer Kilolo Luckett; and nonfiction writer, essayist, storyteller, critic and performance poet Adriana Ramirez.

Grants to individual artists totaling $60,000 were made to:

  • Anthony B. Mitchell, Jr. ($10,000) to create and coordinate the new "El Viaje: The Journey” series of performances that include Afro-Diasporic music, song and dance.
  • Idrissou Mora-Kpai ($10,000) to support post-production for the documentary film “Joe’s Corner Store.”
  • Jessica Lanay Moore ($10,000) to support research and travel for the development of a poetry manuscript exploring the histories of Key West, the Sea Island and Pittsburgh.
  • Melanie Carter ($10,000) to support the development of “Her Time to Shyne,” a documentary film exploring the evolution of contemporary Black feminism through artistic resistance.
  • Njaimeh Njie ($10,000) to support the production of an immersive visual media exhibition exploring the intersection of art and activism in Pittsburgh’s contemporary Black community.
  • Yvonne McBride ($10,000) to complete a final manuscript of the historical fiction novel, “Cozy Lee Luke at the Crossroads of the World.”

Grants for artist residencies totaling $45,000 were made to:

  • Hill House Association ($15,000) to support a residency with jazz musician Charles “Poogie” Bell to develop The Music Project at the Kaufmann Center.
  • Pittsburgh Glass Center, Inc. ($15,000) to support a residency with ceramic artist Sharif Bey to create a new body of work in glass and a solo exhibition through the Idea Furnace program.
  • Union Project ($15,000) to support a residency with ceramic artist Kevin Snipes to create new works.

Operating grants totaling $65,000 were made to:

  • Kente Arts Alliance ($25,000)
  • Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company ($25,000)
  • Staycee Pearl Dance Project ($15,000)

Applications for the fall Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh cycle are due by August 1, 2017. Guidelines and application information are available online at


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