The Pittsburgh Foundation

$204,480 awarded to advance Black arts in the region

Pittsburgh, June 30, 2016 The Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grants program, a partnership between The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, has awarded $204,480 in grants to support artist projects and organizations presenting and producing in the fields of dance, film, music and other disciplines. Since its inception in 2010, the program has invested $3.7 million to advance the rich history and the current presence of art rooted in the black experience. It is the only grant-making program in the region explicitly dedicated to supporting the elimination of racial disparities within the larger arts sector. The program, which awards grants twice per year, supports artistic risk-taking, community outreach programming, career opportunities for artists and strategies to promote organizational growth. 

Grants to individual artists totaling $58,480 were made to:

  • Gabriel Colombo, $15,000, to support the creation of a film that includes original poetry, music, and dance performed by individuals from the black community in the North Side.
  • Jasmine Hearn, $14,080, to support the development of new performance art titled “Blue and Sable and Burning.”
  • Liana Maneese, $14,400, to support the creation of a film as part of the multimedia project, “Adopting Identity.” 
  • Marcel Walker, $7,500, to support the production of a third installment of an independently-produced comic book titled “HERO CORP., INTERNATIONAL (HCI).”
  • Sarah Huny Young, $7,500, to support the development of a new body of work titled, “AMERICAN WOMAN,” a series of mixed-media portraits.
Grants for artist residences totaling $45,000 were made to:
  • Homewood Artist Residency, $15,000, to support the creation of new multimedia works by residency artists Alisha Wormsley and Naeem Martinez White.
  • Legacy Arts Project, $15,000, to support the creation of a new work for “DanceAfrica: Pittsburgh 2016” by residency artist choreographer Dieufel Lamisere of Haiti.
  • Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, $15,000, to support the creation of a new opera with residency artists Tameka Cage Conley, Dwayne Fulton and Mark Clayton Southers.
Unrestricted and operating grants totaling $100,000 were made to:
  • Afrika YETU, $30,000, for FY 2017 operating support.
  • Harambee Ujima Arts & Cultural Association, $15,000, for FY 2017 unrestricted support of the Harambee Ujima Black Arts Festival.
  • Kente Arts Alliance, $25,000, for FY 2017 operating support.
  • MLK Community Mural Project, $15,000, for FY 2017 operating support.
  • Staycee Pearl Dance Project, $15,000, for FY 2017 operating support.

Funding is highly competitive: Twice a year, a panel of arts experts and community representatives reviews submissions and makes funding recommendations to foundation staff. Just 13 of 58 submissions could be funded this cycle. Panelists for the 2016 spring grant-making cycle included: Imani D. Owens, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh; Joy KMT, a multidisciplinary artist, activist, healer and cultural commentator; and Sean Beauford, an independent curator. 

Applications for the fall 2016 cycle are due Aug. 1. Guidelines and application information are available online at