The Pittsburgh Foundation

Creative fundingA shared grant-making initiative supports excellence in artwork rooted in the Black experience.

Writer and actor Asia Bey pictured. Image by Graciela Sarabia.

AN AUDIO BOOK AND VIDEO SERIES reinterpreting a book by Pittsburgh’s first African American medical doctor, an artist residency at the Pittsburgh Glass Center exploring plasma and neon light in glass, and a graphic novel about the experiences of growing up as a Black girl are among 27 ambitious projects to receive funding from the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grant-making program so far this year.

Too often, philanthropy has left artists of color out of its grantmaking. Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh supports excellence in artwork rooted in the Black experience. A partnership of the region’s two largest place-based philanthropies, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, this funding program was established in 2010 to address racial disparity and funding inequity.

Since its inception, the program has awarded 356 grants totaling $5.6 million to build the careers of individual artists and increase the sustainability of cultural organizations that focus on Black arts. Funding also is dedicated to raising awareness of the Black arts sector, supporting collaboration by Black artists and cultural organizations, and advancing the field.

Writer and actor Asia Bey, posing here in character, and producer Graciela Sarabia, received a $15,000 grant to support “GoodTalkGoodFun: with Asia!,” which Bey and Sarabia describe as an absurdist variety show that “radically recognizes Black ingenuity, creativity and hilarity” and features interviews with real and fictional Pittsburgh figures and professionals.

Original story appeared in the Fall 2019 Forum Quarterly