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February 26, 2024

39 BIPOC-Led Organizations and Artists Awarded $1 Million Through Barra-Funded Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures Program

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage — in collaboration with The Barra Foundation, Neubauer Family Foundation, William Penn Foundation, and Wyncote Foundation — has announced $1,010,000 in grants to support 39 Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations and artists through the Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures (PCT) funding initiative.

The grants are designed to resource projects that position Greater Philadelphia’s BIPOC creative community for enduring success. Funded work includes performances, exhibitions, films, poetry, community-engaged public art projects, artistic archives, and organizational capacity-building efforts such as staff expansions and technology upgrades.

The grants are awarded as part of the regional component of America’s Cultural Treasures, a national initiative created by the Ford Foundation. Recognizing a persistent history of unequal access to resources among BIPOC communities — the impacts of which were further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic — Ford partnered with local philanthropic leaders nationwide to initiate a relief effort to honor and celebrate BIPOC cultural groups, artists, and organizations.

Project grants are awarded in three amounts — $10,000, $25,000, and $50,000 — to organizations with annual operating budgets of no larger than $300,000 and artists over 18 years of age who have lived and worked in Philadelphia for at least the past five years. Funded projects fall into four categories.

Creative Freedom & Expression, such as:

  • Keyonna Butler’s I AM Creator/Creation, a traveling interactive exhibition of art, set design, and home decor by Black Philadelphia artists and businesses
  • Chenlin Cai’s Chinatown Histories Project, a public mural honoring the Chinatown neighborhood’s legacy of self-determination and resistance to displacement, designed and painted in collaboration with residents
  • Pedro Ospina’s Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden, a community-engaged project that considers the largely Latino Norris Square neighborhood’s land and cultural traditions, including events such as artmaking workshops, poetry readings, and dance classes

Creative Collaborations, such as:

  • A series of concerts presented by Artístas y Músicos Latino Americanos to showcase and provide production support to emerging Philadelphia artists who identify as Latino, Latin American, Hispanic, or Latine
  • A musical theater program from Arts Without Boundaries for West Philadelphia youth, who will learn and perform musical theater works and have opportunities to engage with professional performing artists
  • Poetry and artmaking workshops for young girls and seniors, offered by TOMORROW’S GIRLS to foster intergenerational community building

Archives & Documentation, such as:

  • An artist’s book documenting the performance work, interactive installations, research, and audience-engaged practices of dance artist and writer Tania Isaac
  • An archive to preserve the seven-decade career of jazz saxophonist and composer Odean Pope
  • A multimedia retrospective exhibition and catalogue created by artist Li Sumpter to survey the career of her father, visual artist and sculptor Phil Sumpter, whose work depicts Black cowboys, Negro League baseball players, and other icons

Organizational Capacity Building, such as:

  • Strategic plan development at Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists, a grassroots, membership-based collective supporting people of Pan-Asian descent involved in the performing arts
  • Technology upgrades for Theatre in the X, which provides West Philadelphians the opportunity to see free, professional-quality theater in their own neighborhood
  • Improvements to data management and internal and external communications for Twelve Gates Arts, which showcases contemporary artists from the Southwest Asian/North African/South Asian region and its diaspora

Read the full press release and a complete list of grant recipients at


America’s Cultural Treasures is a national initiative created by the Ford Foundation to acknowledge and honor the diversity of artistic expression and excellence in America. It has generated more than $276 million in critical funding to more than 100 organizations across the country led by and/or serving communities of color that have made a significant impact on America’s cultural landscape, despite historically limited resources.