The Pittsburgh Foundation

Introducing Exposure: An Artists Program

Pittsburgh Foundation announces new grants for individual artists, collectives and fellowships

PITTSBURGH, PA July 8, 2021… As part of ongoing efforts to support a diverse array of artists and advocate for racial justice in the arts community, The Pittsburgh Foundation has launched Exposure: An Artists Program that will provide approximately $395,000 in funding this year. Exposure, created in collaboration with The Opportunity Fund, will provide funding to artists to pursue new ideas, opportunities and skills that are essential to the region’s cultural vitality.

Exposure will support artists working in all mediums, with preference given to those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC),  and artists working individually or in collectives at the intersection of the arts and social justice. Also, the program will offer funding to artists who have never received grants before. Exposure also includes three co-fellowships that place artists with established arts organizations to provide recommendations for addressing inequity and overcoming systems of oppression.

The name for the program was inspired by a quote from Julia Cameron, author of “The Artist’s Way,” who said “The act of making art exposes a society to itself. Art brings things to light. It illuminates us.”

Exposure is the next step in our efforts to inject more funding into the region’s arts community, particularly through grants benefiting BIPOC artists,” said Pittsburgh Foundation President & CEO Lisa Schroeder in announcing the new program. “Exposure delivers resources to where artists and arts organization managers tell us they are most needed: directly into the hands of artists to support their creative practices.” Schroeder said the program will strengthen connections across the sector and raise the profile of artists working at the intersection of creativity and social justice.

The Foundation engaged an advisory committee of artists from across the region to inform and refine the criteria for Exposure. Members Naomi Ruth Allen, Andrés Franco, Sarika Goulatia, D. S. Kinsel, Mikael Owunna, Staycee Pearl and Alisha Wormsley will continue to offer recommendations on how Exposure and philanthropy in general can become more responsive to the needs of artists.

“As Paul Robeson said so well—artists are the gatekeepers of truth. Black and Brown Pittsburgh artists are part of a global uprising authentically interrogating oppression with creativity and brilliance,” said Celeste Smith, the Foundation’s senior program officer for Arts and Culture. She led the creation of the program along with Program Officer Nicole Henninger. “As cultural front-line workers, artists are actively challenging systems while also supporting themselves and their families. Through Exposure, we're trying to assist often underfunded, socially conscious artists advocating for the truth.”

Among advisory committee members’ recommendations was that the Foundation offer “more-than-money” support opportunities to be developed in collaboration with committee members and Exposure grantees.

A panel of artists in multiple disciplines regionally and nationally will assist Foundation staff in funding decisions. Funding opportunities through the Exposure program include:

  • Individual artist support: Up to seven individual artist/collective awards of $20,000 for individuals/$30,000 collectives spread over two years. The Opportunity Fund is funding one individual artist/collective award for craft artists working on handmade and custom projects and with materials associated with folk and contemporary craft traditions, including clay, glass, fiber, wood and metal.
  • Transformative justice grants: Three awards of $20,000 for individuals/$30,000 collectives spread over two years for artists/collectives identifying as Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC) for projects at the intersection of the arts and activism with a racial justice lens. Transformative justice is defined in this context as a framework and approach for responding to violence, harm and abuse.
  • First-time grantee awards: Up to three $5,000 awards to individual artists who have yet to receive support exceeding $2,500 from any grants program. These awards will support and elevate the next generation of creators in the region while further expanding and diversifying the regional arts ecosystem.
  • Co-fellowship opportunities: three awards of $50,000 each annually to a BIPOC artist working collaboratively at an arts institution, including the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Carnegie Museum of Art’s Education department and one self-curated artist-equity fellowship. The fellowship will fund artistic practice and support the artists as they advise the institutions in authentically supporting the work of BIPOC artists working and living in Pittsburgh.​​ The museum and the theater will each receive a $15,000 grant for participating in the fellowship.

How to apply: Applicants must attend a virtual information session on either July 20 or Aug. 12 before applying. The deadline for applying for all Exposure, An Artists Program is 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 13, 2021. Artists must register for the online information sessions July 20 or Aug. 12. Funding decisions will be made by Nov. 30.

More information, including complete guidelines, is available on the Foundation’s website.

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