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City of Philadelphia Selected for $1 Million Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge Grant to Fund Temporary Public Art Project that Addresses Gun Violence in Germantown

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia announced today that it has been selected to receive $1,000,000 as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, a program that supports temporary public art projects addressing an urgent civic issue.
The winning project Healing Verse Germantown: The Streets Are Talking—led by the City of Philadelphia's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE), in collaboration with artistic leads Trapeta Mayson and Yolanda Wisher, and public art coordinator Rob Blackson—will address gun violence in Germantown.
“Our project will help Germantown community members translate their experiences with gun violence into poetry, which will be used to create public art installations in the neighborhood of Germantown,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We are confident that our public art project will help to engage and heal our communities.”
Philadelphia is one of just eight winners, selected from more than 150 project proposals received from cities in 40 U.S. states.
Healing Verse Germantown will invite neighborhood residents from seniors to teenagers to write poems through a series of workshops, which will then be incorporated into installations through broad partnerships with local businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations.
Healing Verse Germantown will engage Philadelphians through four components: poetry workshops led by professional poets and social workers, a weekly phone line featuring healing poems and mental health resources, a public art exhibition of poems from the workshops and phone line in areas affected by gun violence, and a book archiving the project.
“Poetry will be a powerful outlet for the Germantown community to collectively process and mend from experiences with gun violence,” said Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia and Executive Director of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. 
Additional Healing Verse Germantown partners include City partners such as the City of Philadelphia Office of Violence Prevention, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities, and a wide range of organizations serving the Germantown community and survivors of gun violence. Fiscal administration for this grant will be provided by the Philadelphia City Fund in its capacity as the dedicated fiscal sponsor for the City of Philadelphia.
The project will be developed over the next two years. For updates on “Healing Verse Germantown” sign up to receive emails from OACCE and follow OACCE on social media @CreativePHL.


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