A major new grants program for local black arts support is about to roll out, thanks to two awards of $325,000 each from The Pittsburgh Foundation
and The Heinz Endowments
Advancing Black Art in Pittsburgh
will begin offering grants directly to African-American groups this spring. The foundations expect their $650,000 to attract other organizations to expand the initial effort.
The fund will also make grants to individuals whose work concentrates on the art of African Americans.
"Both The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation have supported a lot of local arts organizations," notes Monet Miller, project manager for UMOJA African Arts Company downtown: "I think it's a wonderful idea to get that culture exposed. It will build inclusion and a sense of community here."
The Pittsburgh Foundation will be accepting applications. A review panel of curators, artists, community representatives and foundation staff will award funds twice a year.
Both foundations have long run the Multi-Cultural Arts Initiative, but this new grant program will offer assistance more directly to groups and individual artists.
"Artists and arts organizations working in African-based art forms have fewer funding pools to draw from for their work," notes Germaine Williams, program officer with The Pittsburgh Foundation and co-chair of the fund's review panel. "Our new venture seeks to address this disparity for the benefit of the sector as a whole."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Monet Miller, UMOJA African Arts Company; The Pittsburgh Foundation