Pew Funds Local Projects – South Philly Review



Joiri Minaya, Container #4, 2020, 60″ x 40″; photo courtesy of the artist. Minaya is the lead artist for BlackStar Projects’ Venus Fly Trap.

Two South Philly organizations and a project taking place in FDR Park received significant funding from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

South Philly-based BlackStar Projects and Ars Nova Workshop were among 30 local organizations chosen to receive a grant, along with a classic theater project EgoPo, which will take place at FDR Park.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has distributed a total of $9.5 million to support Philadelphia organizations and a dozen artist grants. The new grants will fund performances, exhibitions, events and local art practices that address issues of identity, representation, community and history.

“We are encouraged to see such dynamic and thoughtful work coming from institutions and artists in the Philadelphia area, even as the sector continues to face ongoing challenges resulting from the pandemic,” said Paula Marincola, executive director of the Center. “The local arts community remains deeply committed to serving the public by providing resonant cultural experiences while evolving approaches to visitor services, health and safety. The Centre’s new grants affirm that the arts will continue to play a vital and necessary role in the civic life and economic success of our region.

Project grants ranged from $75,000 to $300,000 plus an additional 20% in general operating support. The goal is to help organizations, many of which spotlight artists in communities of color, engage large and diverse audiences throughout the region through outdoor performances, public art installations, exhibitions in museum galleries and community spaces, films and new music encompassing classical, jazz, hip-hop, traditional folk and other genres. Annual grant money recently shifted from pandemic recovery to arts and heritage organizations.

BlackStar Projects has received a total of $301,152 and will present a series of outdoor performances examining colonialist Philadelphia horticultural practices and the cultural significance of plants to Indigenous and Black peoples in the Americas, particularly the Caribbean.

Ars Nova Workshop has received $231,600 and will present a retrospective on the collaboration between black jazz composer and musician Don Cherry and Swedish visual artist and designer Moki Cherry, which recreates the integrated vision of life partners art without boundaries between genres, artistic disciplines and cultures . Contemporary artist Lisa Alvarado designs an immersive environment to house the exhibition, bringing together textiles, paintings, music, video and other media.

EgoPo Classic Theater will bring a collaboration with two Indonesian theater companies to South Philly’s FDR Park in an outdoor tent performance that crosses cultural boundaries and mixes contemporary and traditional puppetry, dance, music and theater. He received $148,000 for his initiative.

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