The 2019 Velocity Fund grantees:

Black Spatial Relics

Arielle Julia Brown

Black Spatial Relics is a new performance residency about slavery, justice and freedom. Now in its second year of operation, Black Spatial Relics will convene a body of Black performance makers creating work about slavery, justice and freedom from November 14-17th in Philadelphia. The convening will include a public performance sharing, a panel discussion, conversations about support for artists across the field, and workshops.

A Polymath’s Sphere (working title)

Ryan Collerd

Using a combination of large photographic prints and video this installation will create an interpretive portrait of Milford Graves, his multi-faceted basement workshop and the gardens surrounding it. In conjunction with the exhibit “Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal” the installation will provide the viewer with a sense of Graves’ space in Jamaica, Queens examining the ways in which he and his work inhabit, inform, and are, in turn, informed by the space.

The Medicine Grows Close

Lillian Dunn, Folami Irvine, Shanel Edwards & Marie Alarcón

Scientific studies show that vacant lots — a visible legacy of redlining in Philadelphia — negatively impact community mental health. These green spaces are also spaces of potential connection with the earth and its healing messages. “The Medicine Grows Close” works with participants at New Pathways, an LGBTQ recovery space in North Philly, to exchange medicinal plant knowledge and its relevance to the recovery process through herbalism, dance, poetry and photography. The project will culminate in outdoor performances and exhibits in untended neighborhood lots.

Phonebook: The Gold Pages

Philadelphia Packaging Company
Artist Collaborators: Érica Mukai Faria, Jamie Blair, Tyler Burdenski, Andrienne Palchick, Kirby McKenzie, Heidi Ratanavanich, Jeremiah Jordan & Althea Baird

“Phonebook: The Gold Pages” is a multilingual print magazine and digital video series conceptualized from the once ubiquitous yellow pages of a free citywide resource. “Phonebook” engages word-of-mouth, print, and web promotion to draw people back into their local brick-and-mortar shops, corner stands, and neighbors’ homes. Promoting the tenacious stories of small businesses and workers who persist in the face of gentrification and growing web sales, “Phonebook” serves as an homage to the unsung heroes of a working class city– those who have been doing their thing, their way, for years, and those responding to the climate of urban development with fresh entrepreneurial ideas.

Sound Museum Collective

Elissa Freeden, Ada Adhiyatma & Eileen Shumate

Sound Museum Collective (SMC) will create a website and youtube channel for our community workshops on audio engineering and sound art for women, trans and non binary folks. This would be a space to curate unconventional/experimental interactions and performances with sounds in addition to our workshops, tutorials and gear hacks. After a 3 month span of recording and posting workshops, SMC will hold a presentation sharing videos and projects in addition to performing a collaborative composition. We hope that this project will provide much-needed representation in technical literature, and nurture networks of skill-sharing and support.


Maddie Hewitt & Michael Bailey

At the confluence of natural and creative spaces, this project is a meeting point for environmental education and artistic reflection. By combining research and expertise from multiple disciplines – Art, Environmental Science, Hydrology, History and Urban Planning – this project will engage the public in discussions surrounding climate change in order to understand our collective impact on Philadelphia’s water sources, the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. In addition to the creative experiences that will be presented, we are working with the Philadelphia Water Department to provide information culled from professionals who have a direct link to the city’s on-going initiatives addressing these issues.

Las Ruinas Circulares

Nadia Hironaka & Matthew Suib

Las Ruinas Circulares is a collaborative project that combines virtual and augmented reality to explore and address the concerns of many immigrants within our community and beyond, both documented and undocumented, through immersive storytelling. Paying homage to Jorge Luis Borges’s short story Las Ruinas Circulares (1940), the project presents the voices of immigrants set against the backdrop of a butterfly preserve that is also the future site of a proposed border wall.

Conflicts of Interest

Heather Holmes

Conflicts of Interest is a new, free printed periodical that will be distributed monthly within Philadelphia. It aims to support Philadelphia’s writers, artists, and designers, engage critically with and contribute to the city’s arts landscape, and make artistic discourse accessible outside those spaces specifically designated for art. Pushing beyond the form of the review, Conflicts of Interest will feature written and visual contributions from people working in all corners of artistic production and practice, and will form connections between art and the structural inequalities and tangible issues facing Philadelphia today.

War On People

Creative Resilience Collective
Sterling Johnson, Arielle Narva, Feini Yin, Maritza Hernandez & Dianne Loftis

The Creative Resilience Collective’s War On People research initiative convenes a series of storytelling and art-making workshops over five months with ten community members directly harmed by the War on Drugs, including drug users, people in recovery, and local stakeholders in areas like Kensington, where associations with drug use have resulted in harsh policing and discrimination. The project will culminate in a printed and digital publication to promote racial and economic justice through greater understanding and gatherings for inter-organizational networking with a coalition of local organizations and community members. The publication’s launch will serve as an opportunity to gather a coalition of organizations (including, but not limited to: Sol Collective, Philadelphia Drug Users Union, Prevention Point Philadelphia, Project Safe, Angels in Motion, and Pathways to Housing PA) and community members.

No Otro Lado Music Video Series

Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela

Building on the “conceptual reggaeton” album by Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, and propelled by the strength of the “Philly Kitchens” video by Sheila and Jose Quintana, this project will use original tracks and remixes from No Otro Lado as the foundation for new experimental music videos exploring how the U.S. and Mexico are essentially one country with a so-called border used to “justify” oppression, challenging viewers to think about how the issues go beyond the physical territory, and questioning borders everywhere. A collaboration with multiple filmmakers, this project culminates in a release event and an online component to further disseminate the videos.

Whispers in the Storm

Jonathan Olshefski

Whispers in the Storm is a transmedia documentary project dedicated to telling stories from North Philadelphia from the perspective of the people who actually live there. One of the major components of the Whispers in the Storm is QUEST, a documentary film that captures ten years in the life of the Rainey family. QUEST premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and broadcast on PBS in 2018. Whispers in the Storm follows up the success of the film’s release to bring this and other North Philly inspired art to local residents by organizing free, outdoor events in residential neighborhoods.

Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape

Raúl Romero

Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape explores how Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia connect back to the island through sound. The sounds of the iconic native frog, el Coquí, will be played throughout El Centro de Oro. Hearing el Coquí will evoke memories for many and introduce the soundscape from Puerto Rico to those unfamiliar. Sculptures referencing the world-famous observatory in Arecibo, PR will serve as the central station collecting and transmitting sounds. Gallery visitors and people from the community will be interviewed and asked how they connect back to Puerto Rico. The interviews will be available to listen to online.

Neighborhood Nigerian and Ghanian Pottery Workshops

Robin Turnage, Jihan Thomas, Gerald Brown, Nala Holloman & Cierra Day

The project will feature Nigerian and Ghanian pottery workshops to teach these traditional pottery techniques in inner city neighborhoods where the true vanguards of African American Culture can reconnect with a craft that was lost many years ago on the shores of Africa as our ancestors were being abducted. This art programming will teach African American Youth under a tent on a vacant groomed lot in both demo and workshop formats.

FORTUNE in the Year of the Rat

Artist Collaborators: Connie Yu, Heidi Ratanavanich & Andrienne Palchick

For many cultures that attend to the lunar calendar, January 2020 marks not only the end of the Year of the Pig, but also the beginning of a new 12-year zodiac cycle. FORTUNE, a monthly small-run submission-based publication by and for queer Asian publics, will celebrate the ending of its yearlong run with forms as urgently iterative as they are new for us: a double-issue release, and an archiving project. FORTUNE in the Year of the Rat will comprise a wooden boxed set created through community woodworking and printmaking workshops, and discussion sessions that make tactical the precarity of archiving — for micropresses and marginalized communities both.

For its second year of regranting, The Velocity Fund awards grants to 14 art projects

In The Velocity Fund’s second year of re-granting, fourteen new art projects conceived by Philadelphia artists were awarded $5,000 each, after being selected from a pool of 118 applicants.