The Pittsburgh Foundation

Advancing Black Arts awards nearly $288,000 to local artists

Films, musical and spoken word albums, photographs and sculptures are among 20 projects to receive funding from the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program, which also includes grants for organizations’ operating costs. $287,860 was awarded this cycle.

Pittsburgh, Pa., Dec. 1, 2017 – A partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh is a grant-making program dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts of the African diaspora in western Pennsylvania. There are two grant cycles each year, and earlier awards this year totaled $170,000.

Since the partnership between the two foundations began in 2010, Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh has awarded more than $4.5 million to build the careers of individual artists and increase the sustainability of cultural organizations that focus on black arts. Funding from the partnership also enhances collaboration in the black arts sector, addresses racial disparities in the arts community generally, and increases community awareness of black arts and culture.

This cycle, there were 56 applications, including grants to encourage collaborations and advance the production and presentation of art from the African diaspora as well as for operating support and for individual artist and residency funding. Individual artist and residency applications were reviewed by a panel of artists and experts, including social practice artist Liana Maneese, Jordan Taylor of Tracksploitation, curator Sean Beauford, and Hallie Donner of Alumni Theater Company.

Grants to individual artists totaling $107,860 were made to:

  • Kahmeela Adams-Friedson ($7,860) to create the “Black Enough” digital magazine, a series of podcasts, short films and portraits.
  • Lisa Ash ($10,000) to create “Jewels of Jazz,” which consists of 10 sculptural mosaic pieces depicting African American jazz musicians.
  • Corey Carrington ($10,000) to create the spoken word album “Watermelanin.”
  • Michael Chapman ($10,000) to support the creation and presentation of new instrumental and vocal Hip Hop works.
  • Kimberly Ellis ($10,000) to support the completion of “You’re Beautiful to Me,” a film that explores the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Heather Hopson ($10,000) to create the “#SingleMomDefined” photo essay exhibition and video series to empower single mothers.
  • Chris Ivey ($10,000) to support the production of the video installation/documentary work “Civil Rights/Civil Wrongs.”
  • Tereneh Mosley ($10,000) to support “Stone, Silk, Skin: The Topography of Humans and Earth,” an exhibition of a global eco-design collection of apparel and textile arts.
  • Jayla Patton ($10,000) to support the completion and distribution of the comic “Sick” about a young fashion designer.
  • Ricardo Robinson ($10,000) to create “The Black Box Recordings” archival sound project.
  • Danielle Walker ($10,000) to record an album of songs, spoken word and audio clips reflecting on the lessons and moments of experiencing love as a young black woman.

Grants for artist residencies totaling $30,000 were made to:

  • Artists Image Resource ($15,000) to support an artist residency with Alisha B. Wormsley for new work using printmaking methods and techniques and to support a collaborative project with multidisciplinary artist Robert Hodge.
  • BOOM Concepts ($15,000) to support an artist residency to produce and tour new work around the multi-disciplinary immersive ensemble project “If I Die, I’m a Legend.”

Operating grants totaling $150,000 were made to:

  • Afro-American Music Institute ($25,000).
  • Bill Nunn Theatre Outreach Project ($15,000).
  • Hill Dance Academy Theatre ($35,000).
  • Legacy Arts Project ($20,000).
  • New Horizon Theater Inc. ($25,000).
  • Sembène: The Film & Arts Festival ($15,000).
  • University of Pittsburgh for Shona Sharif African Dance and Drum Ensemble ($15,000).

Deanna Garcia
The Pittsburgh Foundation

High resolution images of fall 2017 Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh awardees Ricardo Robinson and Kahmeela Adams-Friedson are available upon request to members of the media.