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March 26, 2021

New grants available to Philly artists whose work reflects city's diversity

Art Works will select four people to receive $10,000; four organizations will receive up to $200,000

Arts Grants
Art Works Grants Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Art Works, a new grant program, will award $3 million to artists and organizations in Philadelphia. Above, volunteers paint a section of a "Stop the Violence" mural on MLK Day in 2019.

The Forman Arts Initiative and Philadelphia Foundation have established a $3 million grant program for emerging artists and community art organizations adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program, Art Works, aims to support artists and and organizations that partner with Black, Indigenous and people of color. Four organizations will be selected to receive two-year grants of up to $200,000 per year. Four artists will receive two-year grants of $10,000 per year. 

"We're looking to create long-term partnerships with artists and arts organizations whose work reflects the region's diversity," said Pedro Ramos, CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. "Art can be the lens through which people view equity within the world, and we hope that this program gives grantees an opportunity to develop works that help others challenge their own perspectives."

The grantees also will be given access to host co-operative students from Drexel. 

The program aims to help the arts and culture community bounce back from the setbacks it has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Performing arts halted after the city imposed restrictions and many local artists were left without work. 

Art Works will invest in artists and organizations that influence Philadelphia's civic identity, have deep roots in its communities and create art that is inclusive and breaks down barriers. 

"We expect to invest in artists and arts organizations that actively work with communities to make Greater Philadelphia a better place at a time when the region needs them most," said Michael Forman, co-founder of the Forman Arts Initiative. "When their work is further supported, the result for communities can be impactful – and we would like to offer our help in that process."

Grant applications can be found on the Philadelphia Foundation website and are due April 23. Winners will be selected by a nine-person committee that includes representatives from the Forman Arts Initiative and Philadelphia Foundation. 

Local organizations that apply must have budgets between $500,000 and $5 million and must show they have a track record of working with Black, Indigenous and people of color, and other underserved communities. Individual applicants should be in the visual or performing arts and have fewer than 10 years of professional experience. 

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