A four-member panel reviewed all submissions. Panelists were vocalist and educator Anqwenique Wingfield, theatre production manager and photographer Eric A. Smith, dancer and arts manager Erin Perry, and visual artist Gavin Benjamin. The panel reviewed 54 applications for consideration in this fall’s program.
Funding is highly competitive: Twice a year, a panel of arts experts and community representatives reviews submissions and makes funding recommendations to foundation staff. The Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh program received a total of 102 applications this year and awarded 36 grants totaling $577,365 in the spring and fall cycles. Applications for the spring cycle are due Feb. 27, 2017. Guidelines and application information are available online at http://pittsburghfoundation.org/advancing_black_arts.
Grants to individual artists totaling $108,885 were awarded to:
•Michael David Battle, $10,000, to support the creation of “Dear Michael,” a memoir collection and visual installation project.
•Sean Beauford, $14,800, to support curation of the photography exhibition, “Our East Liberty.”
•Stephanie Boddie, $15,000, to support the multimedia and oral history project, “Unfinished Business: From the Great Migration to Black Lives Matter.”
•Curtis Reaves, $15,000, to support the production of a 30-year retrospective of work titled, “Moments in Time.”
•Ramon Riley, $10,000, to support the development of a new body of work.
•Mukwae Wabei Siyolwe, $15,000, to support the development of the multimedia artwork, “Wade in the Water.”
•Jordan Taylor, $14,085, to support the creation of a series of high-concept short films connected to the music of the duo, Tracksploitation.
•Gregory S. Williams, $15,000, to support the creation of the documentary, “Selfies from The Hill.”
Grants for artist residencies totaling $9,000 were made to:
•Society for Contemporary Craft, $9,000, to support an artist residency with Sonya Clark with a solo exhibition including more than 30 works.
Unrestricted and operating grants totaling $190,000 were made to:
•1Hood Media, $25,000, for 2017 unrestricted support.
•Afro-American Music Institute, $25,000, for 2017 operating support.
•Balafon West African Dance Ensemble, $15,000, for 2017 unrestricted support.
•Harambee Ujima Arts & Cultural Association, $15,000, for 2017 unrestricted support.
•Hill Dance Academy Theatre, $35,000, for 2017 operating support.
•Legacy Arts Project, $20,000, for 2017 operating support.
•New Horizon Theater, Inc. , $25,000, for 2017 operating support.
•Sembene: The Film & Arts Festival, $15,000, for 2017 unrestricted support.
•Shona Sharif African Dance and Drum Ensemble, $15,000, for 2017 unrestricted support.
Pictured below are the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh 2016 Cycle 2 Panelists Erin Perry, Benjamin, Smith and Wingfield.
ERIN PERRY is the executive director of Legacy Arts Project, Inc., an arts organization with the mission to preserve the history and traditions of African art as represented throughout the diaspora through education, instruction and interaction. As a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business, she applies her academic training within a community setting, utilizing art as a tool for transformation both individually and collectively. Perry has been an active contributor to Legacy Arts since 2005, participating as a member of the dance ensemble until present day. With an extensive background in education, Perry has impacted children and adults from Wilkinsburg to Taiwan, teaching classes in English, Math, Photography and Movement. She is also a founding member of the Nefertiti Alliance, an association of African American women founded on the principles of self-care and the preservation of cultural capital. As a mother of two growing boys and a 6-month-old daughter, her focus continues to be grounded in the uplifting of humanity through knowledge of self.
GAVIN BENJAMIN is a multifaceted artist with backgrounds encompassing commercial photography, painting, printmaking, and interior and product design. Born in Guyana and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., he received his bachelor’s from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and was drawn to experiment with many mediums. His current work focuses on his longtime interest in flowers, still lifes, landscapes, portraits and collage mixed with courtly painting traditions; a mashup of sorts. Benjamin’s various fine art works, home accessories and designs have been featured in numerous national and regional publications, including City Magazine, Clear Magazine, Interior Design magazine (ICFF Picks, Spring Market Tabloid), New Glass Review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, V magazine and The Washington Post.
ERIC A. SMITH started his artistic career in photography and theatre production. He has worked with the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, New Hazlett Theater, Bricolage Production Company and many others, learning everything from stage management to sound and light design; from directing to producing; from company management to managing director. He is founder of CREW Productions, LLC., which works with artists on bringing their visions and works to digital media through video and photography.
Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter https://twitter.com/NewPghCourier