Pew Center for Arts & Heritage awards $10.2M in grants to Philadelphia-area institutions and artists
by Lisa Dukart | Philadelphia Business Journal
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has awarded over $10.2 million in grants to Greater Philadelphia arts and cultural institutions and artists. The grants come a year after the organization awarded $10.5 million to area institutions and artists in October 2020 as they dealt with the first blows of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now nearly 18 months on, the arts and culture sector is still recovering from lengthy shutdowns that resulted from the pandemic. While in-person events, festivals and gatherings have returned to a degree, arts and culture institutions are still grappling with the economic losses incurred, with some still temporarily shuttered.
The arts and culture industry is a significant economic driver for the Philadelphia region, supporting about 55,000 jobs and generating $4.1 billion in economic activity, according to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. Earlier this year, the Cultural Alliance released a report detailing the economic impact Covid-19 had on the sector, with total lost revenue equating to about $372 million between March 2020 and March 2021.
This year’s Pew grants look to a lay a foundation for longevity among such institutions going forward and will be used to fund operation stabilization efforts, business and revenue model tweaks, public engagement, and adaptation of programming, whether through virtual offerings, physical transformations to spaces or other changes.
“Throughout this difficult period, Philadelphia’s cultural community has demonstrated great resilience and creativity, pivoting to provide essential platforms for artistic expression, understanding, and connection even during a pandemic,” said Paula Marincola, executive director of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, in a statement.
The Philadelphia-based organization, which is funded by The Pew Charitable Trust, has awarded 42 total grants. Of the more than $10.2 million awarded, $900,000 is going to Pew Fellowships for 12 artists working in various mediums. The remaining $9.3 million has been awarded to 30 arts and culture organizations in what is dubbed the Re:imagining Recovery grants.
In addition to the funding the Re:imagining Recovery grants, Pew added 20% to each award, totaling another $1.5 million, for unrestricted general operating support.
Recovery grants range from $120,000 to $540,000 and were awarded in four categories: technology that broadens possibilities for programming and audience relationships; diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion initiatives that transform organizational practices; facility upgrades to enhance health, safety and visitor services; and new business models that diversify revenue and strengthen operations.
In the technology category, The Barnes Foundation was the largest recipient at $480,000, which it intends to use for expanding its online learning platform for students in pre-K through grade 12, as well as adults. “Our move to online programs drew larger and more diverse audiences, as class size was no longer limited by building capacity or geographical distance,” said the Barnes Foundation’s Neubauer Family Executive Director Thom Collins.
The African American Museum in Philadelphia received a $256,200 grant. It will similarly focus on making programming more readily available online and will create two new staff positions toward the effort.
A number of organizations received grants for diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion initiatives, including Mural Arts Philadelphia, which was awarded $438,000 toward recruiting and sustaining long-term relationships with BIPOC artists.
As organizations deal with how to safely gather, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts will use its nearly $480,000 grant toward upgrades to its air filtration, heating and ventilation systems.
The largest grant recipient this year is a collaboration between three organizations, Cliveden of the National Trust, Historic Germantown and Stenton. Cliveden and Stenton, both historical sites that today serve as house museums, will work with Historic Germantown and an 18-member consortium of historic sites to leverage and share resources.
Most of the grants have been awarded to institutions in the city, though People’s Light in Malvern and Theatre Horizon in Norristown also received funding.