In its third year, Art Works awards $700,000 in unrestricted grants to impact-driven artists and cultural organizations shaping Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA, November 17, 2023 — Forman Arts Initiative (FAI) and Philadelphia Foundation (PF) are proud to announce the 2023 cohort of Art Works Grantees. Art Works is a $3 million grant program designed to support community-based arts and cultural organizations and emerging artists working in partnership with BIPOC and other historically under-resourced communities. The 2023 artist grantees, representing practices from filmmaking to pop-up book art, include: Colette Fu, Walé Oyéjidé, Eugenio Salas, and Andrea “Philly” Walls. The 2023 arts organization grantees include: Monument Lab, Norris Square Neighborhood Project, Olney Culture Lab of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia, Recycled Artist in Residency (RAIR), and Taller Puertorriqueño. Each of the 2023 artist grantees will receive $50,000, and each organization will receive $100,000 over two years.
“We are proud to continue our work alongside the Philadelphia Foundation in growing and deepening the impact of Art Works,” said Jennifer Rice, Co-Founder of FAI. “With each cohort, the network of community-focused creatives expands, as does the opportunity for grantees to connect with one another and the city.” Michael Forman, Co-Founder of FAI, added, “Past grantees have made significant, lasting contributions to Philadelphia’s arts communities, like Philadelphia Clef Club, which grew their jazz education program, and BL Shirelle, which recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of Die Jim Crow records. We are excited to see how the new grantees take advantage of this program and hope they feel added freedom and security due to Art Works.”
About the 2023 Cohort:
- Monument Lab expands the collective conversation about the history and future of monuments through its artist residency, event series, and public art and history podcast Future Memory.
- Norris Square Neighborhood Project, a half-acre of urban gardens created by the women of Grupo Motivos, provides its community with food and herbs, Latinx green spaces, and public performances.
- Olney Culture Lab of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia supports and celebrates the multicultural community of Olney, considered one of Pennsylvania’s most linguistically diverse neighborhoods, through events and placemaking efforts designed to increase belonging and civic pride.
- RAIR, located inside a construction and demolition waste recycling company, runs a residency program that facilitates artists’ direct engagement with the local waste stream, working to reimagine uses for its 550 tons of materials.
- Taller Puertorriqueño preserves and contributes to the development of Puerto Rican arts and culture through exhibitions and services such as textile workshops.
- Colette Fu, through intricate pop-up and flap books, spreads knowledge and awareness about culturally rich and diverse minority groups of China and surrounding areas, such as those in Yunnan and Inner Mongolia.
- Walé Oyéjidé creates work celebrating the cultural contributions made by immigrant populations to the societies that welcome them, including in his recent film Bravo, Burkina!
- Eugenio Salas has cultivated a practice that combines culinary art, community, and activism, such as in The Supercake, in which he collaborated with middle-aged immigrant women at a London cake factory for four years, reimagining the production line and then producing a 22-foot edible sculpture and installation.
- Andrea “Philly” Walls creates work documenting non-traumatic Black life in Philadelphia; her project The Museum of Black Joy Mobile Response Unit will respond to neighborhood requests for joyful rituals and healing programming.
“This year’s Art Works grantees are an incredibly impressive group,” stated Pedro A. Ramos, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. “Working with Michael and Jennifer and the FAI team, we’ve developed an engaging application process that allows our team to learn about the inspirations, aspirations and lived experience of the artists, arts organizations, and the communities they represent. Every step in the Art Works process is designed to build meaningful and genuine partnerships that open doors, foster collaboration, and create opportunity. We are excited to play a role in supporting this impactful work.”
In addition to the awarded funds, Art Works gives awardees access to a series of workshops developed to impact the goals and needs of grant recipients. These workshops provide professional development and foster community relationships between current and past grantee cohorts. Workshops range from “Financial Literacy for Artists” to “Solidarity Economy 101” and are often peer-led, with past grantees invited to share their expertise. In partnership with Drexel’s Lenfest Center for Cultural Partnerships, co-operative education students will have the opportunity to work with select Art Works grantees over the course of the year, helping students accumulate meaningful work experiences and building direct connections to Philadelphia’s arts and culture sector.
The 2023 grantees were selected by a committee of Philadelphia arts professionals, including: Michael Forman (Co-Founder, Forman Arts Initiative), Jaime Frankfurt (Art Advisor), Katie Lee (Penn Medicine Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art), Alba Martinez (Executive Director, La Guagua 47 Community Arts Project), Eric Pryor (President and CEO, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts), Pedro A. Ramos (President and CEO, Philadelphia Foundation), Jennifer Rice (Co-Founder, Forman Arts Initiative), Ginger Rudolph (Founder and Editor of HAHA Magazine), and Anula Shetty (Artist).
About Forman Arts Initiative: Forman Arts Initiative (FAI), founded by Michael Forman and Jennifer Rice, is dedicated to supporting community-based arts and creativity in Philadelphia through programming, convening, and advocacy. Over the coming years, FAI will serve as a platform to connect, mentor, and support artists and organizations around Philadelphia to deepen and to grow the rich cultural heritage of Philadelphia’s communities. Since 2021, FAI has been working in partnership with the Philadelphia Foundation to distribute $3 million in unrestricted funding over five years to community artists and organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Area through a new grantmaking program called Art Works. In 2023, in partnership with Mural Arts, FAI established Public Works, a residency program that places artists in Philadelphia government agencies or organizations to develop public artwork. Forman Arts Initiative collaborates closely with DVDL, an agency of cultural strategists, to facilitate FAI’s programming and ongoing development. For more information, visit www.formanartsinitiative.org.
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