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Leeway Foundation announces $180,000 in Transformation Awards

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The Transformation Award provides unrestricted annual awards of $15,000 to women, trans*, and gender nonconforming artists and cultural producers living in greater Philadelphia who create art for social change and have done so for the past five years or more, demonstrating a long-term commitment to social change work. 

PHILADELPHIA (January 15, 2024) -- In December 2023, Leeway Foundation awarded 12 artists with the Transformation Award, moving $180,000 of unrestricted support to women, trans*, and gender nonconforming artists and cultural producers at the intersection of art and social change in Greater Philadelphia.

The 2023 cohort includes an array of artistic practices and social change intents. The awardees include performers challenging respectability politics, filmmakers documenting community resistance and joy, playwrights combating medical racism and sexism, podcasters creating audio in support of decarceration, visual artists painting liberatory futures, and more. 2023 awardees are committed to building a vision for a more just world, particularly for BIPOC communities and queer and trans* folks. All showcase at least 5+ years of utilizing art and cultural production to shift or transform the perception of power and/or privilege and the dynamics associated with justice, equality, and/or accountability.

The 2023 Transformation Award (LTA) Recipients are (in alphabetical order):

  • Amir Khadar of Spring Garden, Multidisciplinary 
  • Chelsey Luster of West Philadelphia, Visual Arts 
  • Debra Powell-Wright of Clifton Heights, Multidisciplinary 
  • Heidi Ratanavanich of Mantua, Multidisciplinary 
  • Jaq “Jingle” Masters of Kensington, Visual Arts & Crafts & Textiles 
  • Kim Wilson of West Philadelphia, Media & Visual Arts 
  • Kristal Sotomayor of Newbold, Media Arts 
  • M. Nzadi Keita of Southwest Germantown, Literary Arts 
  • Nikki Brake-Sillá of Southwest Philadelphia, Performance 
  • Nikki Powerhouse of North Philadelphia, Performance & Literary Arts 
  • Priscilla Bell Lamberty of Haddington, Visual Arts 
  • Queen Jo of Sharswood, Music & Performance 

A national panel of artists and cultural producers convened to review applications and work samples in this two-stage process. The 2023 panel included multidisciplinary cultural worker, dramaturg, and facilitator for radical imagination, Arielle Julia Brown (ACG ‘18, ’20; LTA ‘21), community-based visual artist, curator, and folklorist from Baltimore, Maryland, Ashley Minner, and Brazil-native and longtime activist in women’s, LGBTQIA, Latine, immigrant, and arts and culture issues, Bia Vieira. The second stage panel welcomed queer pop composer and storyteller from Washington D.C., Be Steadwell and fat, queer/trans Floridian freak and visual artist, Shoog McDaniel, and was facilitated by Amadee Braxton, Philadelphia-based trainer, coach, energy healer, and facilitator. 

Applications are made available on the Leeway website and may also be obtained by calling 1 (215) 728–9273 or emailing Potential applicants are encouraged to attend one of the many support sessions offered throughout the year or schedule an appointment with a staff member for one-on-one support. 

The next deadline for the Transformation Award is May 15, 2024. Learn more at 

Press inquiries and photo requests should be directed to Bee Knight, 215.728.9273 or 


The Leeway Foundation supports women, trans* and gender nonconforming artists and cultural producers working in communities at the intersection of art, culture, and social change. Through our grantmaking and other programs, we promote artistic expression that amplifies the voices of those on the margins, promotes sustainable and healthy communities, and works in the service of movements for economic and social justice. For more information about Leeway, its grant programs, grantees, and events, visit