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Philadelphia Cultural Fund Gives $232,886 to Support Youth in 13 Local Arts and Culture Groups

Monday, June 11, 2018

Philadelphia—June 11, 2018  -- The 2018 Philadelphia Cultural Fund grants will foster the talent and potential of youth affiliated with 13 arts organizations throughout the city.  The Cultural Fund announced $232,886 in grants to cultural organizations that use arts to enrich the lives of young people, ages 5 to 18.   The Youth Arts Enrichment (YAE) Grants aim to encourage and provide high quality instruction, training and interactive experiences to city youth who have limited or no access to cultural enrichment through other avenues. Many of the children are living in the Philadelphia’s most underserved and lowest income communities. 

“At every income level, our neighborhoods are filled with the energy of young people who deserve opportunities to develop their talents or become exposed to the joy that arts bring into all of our lives.  We believe in the power of art to address some of the social, emotional and developmental issues that challenge young people, particularly underserved youth”, said Cultural Fund Executive Director Barbara Silzle.  “It our mission to nurture that talent by providing funds to community minded organizations that serve our children in a variety of artistic disciplines and at a high quality.”

Eligible YAE Grant recipients received 2018 Cultural Fund grants in March to cover general operating expenses; these grants provide additional support for programs specifically directed to serve Philadelphia youth.  The maximum YAE grant is $20,000.   Grantees represent a wide array of programming including dance, music, theatre, visual arts, youth broadcast and film production and writing.  Many of the programs are provided free of charge to the youth participants.

2018 Youth Arts Enrichment Grantees:

Big Picture Alliance – Harambee Youth Filmmaking Program   

Big Picture Alliance engages, educates and empowers Philadelphia's underserved youth through the collaborative and inspiring process of filmmaking. The Harambee Youth Filmmaking Program engages 7th and 8th grade students at the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School through project-based media art integrated with their Social Studies and English Language Arts curriculum. Students will produce original short documentary and narrative films exploring the theme of “African-American self-determination” based on their in-class research and creative storytelling.  

Commonwealth Youthchoirs – Find Your Instrument!   

Transforming young lives through the power of making music together... one song at a time. Commonwealth Youth (CY) Choirs seeks to address lack of access to the arts for young people, through its highly participatory choral education program Find Your Instrument! (FYI!) designed for young people attending three Germantown elementary schools: Mastery Charter John Wister, Joseph Pennell and Anna L. Lingelbach.  Grant funding will support the expansion to a fourth school, enabling the program to serve an additional 60 – 100 students. Through weekly music classes signers learn songs in foreign languages and gain exposure to visiting choirs from other regions and countries.   

Fleisher Art Memorial – Young Artists Program

Continuing the spirit of founder Samuel Fleisher, Fleisher Art Memorial maintains a 120-year tradition of offering free high-quality arts instruction to children in Philadelphia, especially those from South Philadelphia. The Young Artists Program provides children and youth with access to the enriching benefits of art-making, helping them to see themselves as confident thinkers, makers, and collaborators. They offer K-5 students Sculpture, Mixed Media, or Painting & Drawing; grades 6-12 students choose their medium from Printmaking, Digital Photography, Darkroom Photography and Painting among others.   College bound students can take a three-hour Independent Study studio to create an admissions portfolio. Beyond the visual arts classes three Cambodian dance classes are offered for all ages.

Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music – Youth Beats Speak Outreach Project             

The Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music (GEGISOM), Inc. is a non-profit, faith-based charitable performing arts institution, established in 1996, to provide a safe, creative facility where at-risk inner city youth can experience social, cognitive, character and cultural development through music and the performing arts in North Philadelphia; it is a space where families with marginalized finances can explore their creative potential in the arts. GEGISOM’s Youth Beat Speaks (YSB) Outreach Project, launched in 2016, is a high quality percussion instruction and training program taking place both in and out of school time for 1st through 6th grade students at Grover Cleveland Mastery Charter and Edward T. Steel Elementary. GEGISOM outreach programs are provided to schools in North Philadelphia that have minimal or no music instruction as part of the school curriculum or after school programming.  

Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble – Omo Kulu Mele

Omo Kulu Mele (OKM) programs train students to perform traditional West African dance and drumming as well as hip-hop, a dance form inspired by West African movement and rhythms. OKM programming and training endeavors to help participating students explore the artistic and cultural aspects of their cultures of origin leading them to invigorating investigations of their personal, familial, ancestral and cultural histories while educating them in the contexts of the movement and rhythms that they learn. All OKM programs are delivered in underserved Philadelphia schools, neighborhoods and community spaces. Grant funding will support the expansion of OKM in-school residency at Community Partnerships School from one to two semesters and the continuation of in-school assembly performances in 5 additional neighborhood schools.   

Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers – CHI Dance

Now in its second full year of programming CHI Dance exposes students to the many positive benefits of practicing mindfulness: maintaining a nonjudgmental state of awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions and environment, improving spatial awareness, self-control, confidence, teamwork skills and the ability to cope with stress. Students and teachers at partner schools Southwark School, Charter High School for Architecture and Design (CHAD), Alexander Adaire School and James Logan School develop the relationship of the moving body to the breath through movement classes modeled after Artistic Director Kun-Yang Lin’s signature CHI Awareness Practice.

Penn Museum – Unpacking the Past Access Programs

The Penn Museum transforms understanding of the human experience. Following the same multiple touch point format as the Unpacking the Past program for general education classrooms, the Penn Museum will support 300 Philadelphia Title I middle school students with cognitive, sensory, motor, mobility, and behavioral disabilities participation in the Penn Museum’s flagship education program connecting classrooms studying ancient Egypt or ancient Rome with the Penn Museum’s world renowned collections and teaching resources. Penn Museum has developed versions of the program for students in Autistic Support, Life Skills Support, and Multiple Disabilities Support classrooms.

Philadelphia Young Playwrights – Core Playwrighting Program

Since the organization’s founding in 1987, Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ (PYP) Core Playwrighting Program has been the heart of PYP’s work advancing students’ writing-based literacy skills and critical 21st century learning skills like creativity, collaboration, and communications. Through a process that moves “from page to stage”, Core program high school residencies integrate classroom curriculum designed by classroom teachers and PYP teaching artist teams. Students experience writing and revision as artists in an environment that celebrates risk-taking, peer-to-peer collaboration, and pursuit of the long-term goal of writing a play.

PhillyCAM – Youth Radio & Podcasting Project

Founded in 2007, PhillyCAM is the only regional non-commercial media outlet devoted entirely to the teaching, creation and distribution of locally-produced media content on cable television, online and on FM radio. Through the formation of the Tech Lounge, an education and program space bringing young people, mentors, and institutions from across the city together in one dynamic space, PhillyCAM Youth Media participants contribute several hours of content for both cable and radio. Youth members create, produce and host programs.  Creative endeavors include: music, podcast content, audio feature stories, and full length radio programs.  In early 2019, PhillyCAM’s Youth Media program will be featured in an exhibit at the Philadelphia Airport; the Youth Power Radio Hour will broadcast live from the opening of the exhibit and create a Philly youth playlist for visitors to Philadelphia to download.

Rock to the Future – MusiCore Roosevelt – Pilot Expansion

Rock to the Future (RTTF) is a 501 (c) 3 organization founded in 2010 that provides music education for Philadelphia’s underserved youth at no cost to them or their families. Using music, programs ignite passion and creativity, support academic achievement, and improve self-esteem. Rock to the Future empowers individuals and strengthens communities. Through the development of its premier after school program MusiCore in Kensington, RTTF has successfully grown the program from 13 to 40 students in grades 6 through 12 over 8 years.  The 2018-19 MusiCore expansion pilot program at Roosevelt Elementary School will provide after school music classes and academic support for up to 36 students in grades 5-8 three days weekly in 2018-19; the school does not currently have a music program for students.

Clay Studio – Community Engagement Program

Launched in 1994 the Claymobile’s Community Engagement Program brings hands on ceramic art education directly to K-12 youth. Since its inception, the program has served over 20,000 students in schools, community centers, nonprofit organizations, social service agencies and students in temporary detention through Juvenile Justice Services. The program enables students to develop transferable skills used for personal and professional growth, including motor skills development, following directions, problem solving, critical thinking perseverance, attention to detail, and focus; and increased self-esteem and sense of personal agency using one’s own unique visual language to create individual art works. Every student that participates in the program is eligible to apply for full and partial scholarships to the summer Clay Camps, which includes tuition, transportation and lunch.

Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre – OPEN DOOR Education Programs

Through the engagement with and performance of Shakespeare's text using a unique artistic methodology, the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre (TPST) creates matchless and transformative experiences that empower audiences of all ages to expand and challenge their worldviews. The overarching goal of the TPST’s Open Door Education Programs is to make Shakespeare accessible to middle and high school students, to promote the development of soft skills, and to foster healthy social and emotional growth in students. The Open Door suite of educational activities includes in-school residency programs, live professional performances of Shakespeare’s plays presented on tour in schools, and professional development programs for educators. From September 2018 to December 2019 TSPT will serve a minimum of 3,000 students in grades 6-12 in up to 15 public schools, 3 charter schools, 2 parochial schools and 1 out-of-school partnership in the city of Philadelphia.

The Print Center – Artists-in-Schools Program

The Print Center’s Artists-in-Schools Program offered its first programming in Spring 2003. Today the program provides artist-residencies in art classes for grades 9-12, or other classes wishing to include arts education in their curriculum; AISP residencies serve special needs classes as well as mainstream classes. Artists-in-Schools Program currently partners with School of the Future, the U School, the Charter High School for Architecture and Design, Northeast High, and Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School. With grant funding the program will be expanded from serving 450 students annually to 600 students each year.  Student projects have been exhibited in a number of public venues, in several permanent installations at individual schools, and in online exhibitions. Five years of student projects can be viewed at

For more information about the 2018 Youth Arts Enrichment Grants at the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, please contact Barbara Silzle at or call 267-419-7643. 

About the Philadelphia Cultural Fund

Established in 1991 to support and enhance the cultural life and vitality of the City of Philadelphia and its residents, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, through the combined efforts of the Philadelphia City Council and the Mayor, promotes arts and culture as engines of social, educational and economic development and has played a key stabilizing role for numerous organizations by providing much-needed general operating funding.

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