The Pittsburgh Foundation

Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh

Mikael Owunna received $15,000 in 2020 to support the creation of the artist’s first live installation and performance piece, which will immerse the viewer in Owunna’s world of stars and the cosmos while celebrating Black artists and the magic of the Black body. Image credit: Infinite Esense-Enem, by Mikael Owunna.
Mikael Owunna received $15,000 in 2020 to support the creation of the artist’s first live installation and performance piece, which will immerse the viewer in Owunna’s world of stars and the cosmos while celebrating Black artists and the magic of the Black body. Image credit: Infinite Esense-Enem, by Mikael Owunna.

The City of Pittsburgh is known for its rich contributions to the canon of Black cultural creativity. Cultural experiences and creative innovations have always reflected the expressions and imaginations of people from the African diaspora. The Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program is where access and opportunity connect with Pittsburgh artists who are thriving in their creative process as a means and a way of life.

Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh is a joint grantmaking program created and managed through a partnership between The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. The program is committed to helping create a vibrant cultural life in Pittsburgh and the region. Both foundations have made consistent investments in the initiative since 1988. In recent years, both foundations have codified their longstanding efforts toward equity into aspirational visions that seek to support the development of a more inclusively imagined future. The Pittsburgh Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle imagines a region where courage, voice and racial equity are the norm as our region moves authentically toward the mutual goal of economic sustainability for all. The Heinz Endowments’ Just Pittsburgh is an aspirational vision meant to inspire thought and action toward creating a region that is inclusive and equitable.

The program goals are to:

  • Help build the careers and support the lives of individual artists.
  • Increase the sustainability of cultural organizations that focus on Black arts.
  • Build community awareness of the Black arts sector.
  • Support efforts toward greater collaboration and the elimination of racial disparities within the larger arts sector.
  • Prioritize the documentation and discussion of Black artists’ work and wellbeing as part of the region’s cultural health.
  • Support work that directly addresses and calls for the eradication of systemic and structural racism that allows for disparities to exist.

For more information, please review the most recent program guidelines, below, or contact:

Celeste C. Smith, Program Officer for Arts and Culture
smithc [at] pghfdn.org
412-394-2625 
 

PROGRAM DEADLINES & GUIDELINES

 

Applicants are required to submit a letter of intent (LOI) before being invited to apply for support in the following funding streams:

  • Individual artist support
  • Culturally relevant residency support
  • Festival support
  • Advancing the field support
  • Special project support

New deadlines and revised guidelines for the 2021 Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program will be available soon. Should you have questions about a current Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grant, or general inquiry about the program, please email Jessica Moss at mossj [at] pghfdn.org.  

 2020 Guidelines

Applications for Special Opportunity and Planning grants are accepted at any time.  Please see the guidelines for eligibility and instructions. Operating support is provided by invitation only and has a separate deadline for submission.  

More Resources

For guidance on approaching funding requests, please download the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Toolkit, which provides examples of a successful grant application, budgets, curricula vitae and artist statements.
 

About Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh: The Advancing Black Arts program is where access and opportunity meet with Pittsburgh artists who are thriving in their creative process as a means and a way of life. Video by Emmai Alaquiva for The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.
 

Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Symposium: Black artists, cultural organizations and creatives gathered for the inaugural Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Symposium, Sept. 19 and 20, 2019, at the MuseumLab on the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s North Side campus. The theme: "There is Black Art in the Future: Securing and Growing Black Creative Communities." The symposium, captured in this video, included insightful sessions, on-site consultations and TED-style talks. The event was free and all were welcome. Special thanks to the organizing committee for creating this event and to Emmai Alaquiva and Ya Momz House, Inc. for this video.
 

Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh BBQ: A collaboration by The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program held its first-ever Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh BBQ in August 2019. This community gathering celebrated our grantees past and present. Video by Emmai Alaquiva for The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.
 

Read about past awardees of Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh funding: