The 2020 Velocity Fund grantees:


Al Mudhif The Traditional Reed Guest House

Yaroub Al-Obaidi

Yaroub Al-Obaidi will build a mudhif, a traditional Iraqi ceremonial structure made entirely out of phragmites reed (which grows invasively in the Philly area). It will be created in collaboration with Seattle-based artist Sarah Kavage at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, as part of a larger project about the Delaware River Watershed. The mudhif, a welcoming space, will be activated by programming that builds on Al-Obaidi’s social engagement work with Veterans and Iraqis.

Honey Honey Community Film Project

Nia Benjamin, Ninth Planet

Ninth Planet will produce the Honey Honey Community Film Project, a new film to premiere in November 2020. During the hype of the 2020 Digital Fringe Festival, we will invite QTPOC youth and young adults to film and submit their interpretations of scenes from our screenplay through open casting calls and community outreach. Together, the submitted scenes will form a mosaic of our community, telling the story of three queer teenagers facing the complexities of growing up.

Gente De Tierra

Diente Fo

A yearlong collaborative project by and for Black and Indigenous artists and activists in Lenapehoking. Centering the work and voices of those systemically silenced and excluded on topics of land, its use, and preservation. We will use 24 workshops over the year to rebuild connections throughout the community, and the land we occupy using art, crafting, and education, across four major themes of existence: Weaving, Community, Sustainability, and Earth.


De(scribing) Filipinx

Annielille “ANI” Gavino

De(scribing) Filipinx a weaving of historical research with Gavino’s personal memoirs  (as a Filipinx immigrant turned 1st generation American and her mixed raced 2nd generation Filipinx- American daughter). This writing will be presented in a poly-disciplinary digital book. Screen dances, documentaries, drawings, soundscape, and photographs will be embedded after each chapter of this audio-visual book, giving a traditional static writing more interactive and engaging approach.

Alumbra: Placemaking Through Light

Cecilia Gonzalez Barragan and Paola González-Rubio

Community art project with a social function looking to use the topic of light and public space as a means to enhance immigrant youths’ identity, cohesion, expression and democratic attitudes. Through a placemaking process and a grassroots approach, Latinx youths in South Philadelphia will transform public spaces into night-time destinations with a temporal light art installation designed and fabricated by them, creating cultural and social identity, public engagement and space appropriation.

Late Night Snacks Take Out Cabaret

John Jarboe, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret Company

We will build a truck that travels with a small band, one or two performers and includes a  “cabaret pop-up team” (managing logistics and safety) traveling to at least six locations throughout the city.  Think of this as a mini parade that ends in a socially distant show for a block of neighbors, showcasing the artists who live on or near that block. Ideally these shows are all free or pay-what-you-decide. In the biggest version of this idea, the truck opens up into a stage as the show begins.


JUICE Visual Art Exhibition and Film Showcase

Daiyon Kpou

Capturing and exhibiting the stories and lived experiences of our city’s vibrant communities, Black queer art is a necessary (but often overlooked) part of Philadelphia’s cultural history. Our project – a short film showcase and outdoor visual art installation held within a summer Pride festival – challenges these oppressive social norms by creating an affirming and supportive space for Black Philadelphia-based queer artists to more openly exhibit works.


Reaffirming, Reviving and Reinventing

Pedro Ospina

North Philadelphia’s reputation stems from a past rooted in neglect and contrasts. I believe that, if given the opportunity and commitment, there is tremendous potential to transcend this negative image.  I propose to create a series of artworks in public spaces and community gardens that would visually enhance and strengthen cultural pride in the Norris Square. Art works will be co-created and intended to reaffirm cultural diversity in the face of impending gentrification and racial tensions.

Rumba en Filadelfia

Melissa Beatriz Skolnick, Andrés Cisneros, Christian Noguera: Timbalona

The Rumba en Filadelfia project will preserve the folkloric percussion tradition of rumba through a short documentary and multimedia exhibit.

Photo by Kristal Sotomayor

Expanding Sanctuary

Kristal Sotomayor

Expanding Sanctuary is a (26 min) documentary about the campaign to end the sharing of the police database with Immigration and Customs Enforcement led by Juntos and the Latinx immigrant community in South Philly. The film follows community member Linda Hernandez’s growth into a prominent leader. The film documents the historic legislation that made Philly one of the first cities to end database sharing. The Velocity Fund, will support the final color correction and sound mix of the film, in addition to a community town hall screening.

Philly 76′

Lendl Tellington

Philly 76’ is a multimedia project that looks at the cultural and political milieu from the City of Brotherly Love during America’s Bicentennial– and its continued legacy.

Hold it Down

Rashid Zakat

Hold It Down is a music history document focusing on the DIY, site-specific characteristics of the West Philadelphia House Music scene from 1998 to 2006. The project briefly traces the cultural origins of this movement and the wider influence it has left on a global genre. Hold It Down will culminate in an interactive website, screening series and short documentary available for online distribution.

The Velocity Fund awards grants to 12 Philadelphia-based art projects in its third year of re-granting

For 2020, The Velocity Fund is proud to announce the results of its third year of re-granting. The following twelve new art projects –conceived by Philadelphia artists– will be awarded $5,000 each.