Velocity Fund awards inaugural grants to 14 Philadelphia-based art projects

The Velocity Fund, a new program created by Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art to directly support visual artists living in the city of Philadelphia, has announced its inaugural grant winners. Fourteen new art projects conceived by Philadelphia artists—most of them proposing to work collaboratively—were selected from more than 120 applicants to receive awards of up to $5,000.

The 2018 Velocity Fund grantees:

Group Name: Amber Art & Design
Artist: Martha O’Connell
Title: Strawberry Mansion Up Close

Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: Over the past year ​Amber Art & Design has​ interviewed many Strawberry Mansion residents, who are experiencing rapid gentrification, amidst the promise of new development projects in Fairmount Park. We plan to transcribe the interviews; interview more youth; and photograph. We will put together a printed book that honors the experiences, histories, and concerns of the residents. This will further the communication between the neighborhood and the park institutions that serve it; and support local resilience.

Artist: Davelle Burns
Title: The Black Veterans Art Conference
Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: A 3-day conference will host a panel discussion, a documentary workshop and a photo workshop with Black Veterans. We will create a documentary as well as a visual literacy alphabet with text, explaining key terms and resources; similar to the Al Bustan’s, Immigrant Alphabet. Resource tables for housing, college, health care and compensation will be present for black veterans. I want to offer a different choice of weapon and ways to heal. I have the qualifications and connections to do it.

Group Name: APIARY MAGAZINE
Artist Collaborators: Steven Burns, Alexa Smith, Warren Longmire, Kai Davis, Kareem Groomes & Miriam Harris
Title: APIARY X

Grant Amount: $2500
Proposal: APIARY Magazine, an all-volunteer, Philly-centric, free literary magazine, is currently seeking funding for our tenth issue, APIARY X. After ten years, we’re stepping into fractured, erased, displaced, visible and invisible histories and memories of Philly through the work of local writers and artists. We’re asking submitters: What is worth remembering? How do generations collide and connect? We will be offering affordable writing workshops in historical spaces and neighborhoods around Philly.

Artist Collaborators: Mark Strandquist & Courtney Bowles
Title: The Reentry Think Tank

Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: The Reentry Think Tank looks to those in reentry as the experts our communities need most to reimagine our broken legal systems. We will spend the year connecting formerly incarcerated individuals with artists, lawyers, and advocates to create a series of films, publications, pop-up art exhibits, and events. In partnership with the Reentry Coalition, we will connect the stories, dreams and demands of those in reentry, with those in power; destroying stereotypes + elevating community leadership.

Group Name: Black Quantum Futurism
Artist Collaborators: Rasheedah Phillips & Camae Ayewa
Title: Black Womxn Temporal Portal
Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: Black Quantum Futurism​ will create a portal that one can step into and encounter a temporary temporal sanctuary. Structure will be an enclosed booth containing a nonlinear timescape of Black womanist temporal rituals and tech including photos, collages, soundscapes, text, and short films – created by ​Black Quantum Futurism​ or other Black women artists who enact alternative temporal frameworks in their work. Portal will allow for recording or writing of oral futures, and drawing. It will be exhibited in art installations or publicly.

Artist Collaborators: Karina Puente & Yolanda Wisher
Title: #SisterlyHistory

Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: ​#SisterlyHistory makes visible the often hidden work of Women of Color (WoC) by marking sites we live and write in Germantown. Ten outdoor banners will be made. Five banners will feature carved mission statements by WoC business owners. Five banners will feature poetry by WoC poets who lived in Germantown’s past and present; whose homes have been the site of community dialogue, alternative gathering, and creative productivity. Although site-specific, banners can tour as a future exhibition.

Group Name: cinéSPEAK
Artist: Sarah Mueller
Title: The cinéSPEAK Youth Crew
Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: Oct – Dec 2018 at Athletic Rec Ctr (26th + Master St). Our project features digital storytelling, media literacy + event production workshops for North Philly teens. Topics Include: Unpacking Media Messaging; Cultural Preservation + Media Representation as Human Rights; Intro Design; Visual Storytelling; How to Produce an Event. Each month, has 3 workshops + a culminating film screening. Youth trained in our workshops are employed as cinéSPEAK Production Crew for these + future community events.

Group Name: Creative Resilience Collective
Artist Collaborators: Andrea Ngan, Michelle Delgado, Elizabeth Weinstein & Bennett Kuhn
Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: Creative Resilience Collective​ will collaborate with 8 teens over 8 weeks to rethink mental health language and representation in their communities. The project will be housed at Slought and culminate in a printed and digital zine. We are also organizing workshops with movement facilitators and mental health providers living with vicarious trauma to explore Contact Improvisation–a framework for kinesthetic communication that offers practitioners a new way to access the body as a site of creation and resilience.

Group Name: Grizzly Grizzly
Artist Collaborators: Amy Hicks, Talia Greene, Michael Konrad, Maggie Mills, Jed Morfit, Ephraim Russell & Marianna Williams (GrizzyGrizzly)
Title: Speak Speak Blog and Publication
Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: Our proposal fills a need for both visual artists and art writers. ​Grizzly Grizzly​ proposes to release an online blog and print publication archiving one year of exhibitions to highlight the importance of writing in the field of visual arts and the lack of critical art publications focused on the region. We will collaborate with artists and emerging and established writers to produce essays that critically reflect on the exhibitions and expand the ideas discussed in our experimental project space.

Artist Collaborators: Brooke O’Harra & Sharon Hayes
Title: Time Passes
Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: Using the audiobook of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse as a script, Time Passes investigates the political urgency of domesticity and interiority. O’Harra and Hayes use Woolf’s book to ask questions about how we make publics, find our way to strangers and allies, are present and intimate and how we translate the formlessness of deep feelings and desires, both political and personal. The eight-hour performances are staged as events in which audiences can share time together and listen deeply.

Artist Collaborators: Aislinn Pentecost-Farren & Corey Chao
Title: Quarantine Play

Grant Amount: $2500
Proposal: For 100 years the Lazaretto was the first stop for immigrants to the Philadelphia region—yet it has no public interpretation. Quarantine Play is a 2-person interactive audio tour of the Lazaretto, offering visitors a visceral, intimate experience of the site and its dynamic history. Participants listen to different but compatible audio tracks of narration, music, and instructions to create a performance, staged for themselves. In May 2018, the audio tour will be premiered at a public reception.

Artist Collaborators: Timothy Belknap & Taji Ra’oof Nahl aka TR7
Title: Drape and Cladding
Grant Amount: $2500
Proposal: The dress shirt is a uniform garment used to equate professionalism, class, masculinity with success and prosperity. But like the stylings of the black dandy, this form of hierarchy or oppression can be turned on its head. This project is not a critique but an investigation into the creation, design, and effect of much local housing development projects that are dressed in a similar blend of synthetic natural materials. I and 4 artists will collaboratively make wearable art from this study.

Group Name: Strategic Communications
Artist Collaborators: Maya Olympia Bush, Zoe Berg, Lauren Fueyo, Anne Lukins, Jino Rahimi, Kristine Rumman, Netta Sadovsky, & Taylor Sweeney
Title: Strategic Communications Group

Grant Amount: $2500
Proposal: At Temple University’s town hall meeting on the proposed multi-purpose facility held in March 2018, we observed an advertised dialogic process turn into a one way directional statement by the University. We propose organizing an event in the Temple neighborhood where residents can inscribe their opinion in role playing acts. Are goals are to engage with active listening and develop alternative communication modes for the purpose of community engagement.

Collaborators: Yvonne Lung & Dave Kyu
Title: Dish – the Mealkit

Grant Amount: $5000
Proposal: ​“Dish – the Mealkit” is a collaborative project between Lung and Kyu. Lung’s ongoing social practice project, “Dish”, will be made into a meal kit, an idea by Kyu. “Dish” invites participants to learn favorite homemade dishes made by their elders. These stories and recipes are then collected on the “Dish” website. Three recipes will be chosen to create meal kits. Half of the them will be sold, and proceeds from the sales will allow the other half to be distributed to population with food need.