Chosen from a diverse field of over 155 applicants, this year’s grantees proposed a wide range of projects – a digital community archive by Disabled people, public sculptures exploring Philadelphia’s radical Queer past, a performance art work at a recycling facility, a video synthesis workshop, an immersive theater production, a collaboration with high school students, a storytelling project about Philadelphia’s local fish, an experimental short documentary on the historic Black business corridor in West Philadelphia.
What these projects share is a deep connection to communities throughout Philadelphia, fore-fronting visual art as a means to address complex histories and critical realities with an emphasis on collaboration and feedback.
The 2022 Velocity Fund grantees* are in alphabetical order:
- Shannon Brooks, UNDUE BURDEN
UNDUE BURDEN is a digital community archive and exhibition series created by Disabled people in Philadelphia. We invite Disabled artists from Philadelphia to contribute to the archive and respond to existing archival materials. Their responses are documented and folded into the archive. We will use the Velocity Grant to expand the archive to include additional oral/video, visual, and demonstrative histories, improve digital access, and curate an accessible physical exhibition with remote accessibility. Collaborators include: Pam Price, Maggie Mills, Vinetta Miller, Byahat Ham, Parker Gabriel and Peter Schranz.
- Amelia Carter*, Raishad Momar, Aidan Un, Spirit on 52nd St
Spirit on 52nd St is an experimental short documentary about the historically Black business corridor in West Philadelphia. This film will cultivate an intergenerational community conversation about the corridor. Through dialogue exploring culture, ownership, gentrification, uprising, and memory we will excavate the “spirit” embodied by the street. With the community, we will reimagine the corridor’s future by reconciling its past and letting the spirit speak.
- Maia Chao* & Fred Schmidt-Arenales, Waste Scenes
As artists in residence at RAIR (Recycling Artist in Residence) in Philadelphia, Chao and Schmidt-Arenales will develop, rehearse, and film a series of performances that take place at an operating construction and demolition waste recycling facility. The project will attempt to forge a stronger bond between waste and everyday life. It will include observational footage, scripted and improvised spoken text, as well as music, dance, and song, all derived from materials pulled from the waste stream.
- Logan Cryer, Invited: Take Care of the Square Footage
Invited: Take Care of the Square Footage celebrates the curatorial work that happens outside of institutional contexts. 10 Philadelphia-based organizers will be Invited to work within the Icebox Project Space gallery, which will be divided into 10 unique exhibiting spaces. Throughout the public exhibition, free workshops will assist participants in developing skills around wall fabrication, art handling, the operation of A/V equipment, grant writing, and budgeting.
- Stephen Foster, The Eyes Beneath the Oak
Stephen Foster will create a book, exhibition, and public programming about the intimate experiences of incarceration, framed within the larger contexts of racism, slavery, surveillance, and capitalism.
- Nicolo Gentile, Tough Love
Tough Love is a series of site-based public sculptures and performances that explores Philadelphia’s radical Queer past and the act of remembrance as a gesture of communal mourning, celebration, and exegesis.
- Noah Jacobson-Carroll* + Juliette Rando + Elissa Freeden + Sound Museum Collective, Cathode Ray Tapestries: Memory, Nostalgia & Analog Video Synthesis
Sound Museum Collective will organize a 6-week, open-to-the-public experimental video synthesis art project based on ideas of collective memory, deprogramming and nostalgia, culminating in a final performance and introductory video synthesis workshop.
- Melissa Langer, In Excess
In Excess traces Philadelphia’s protracted efforts to curb illegal dumping and littering through a series of vignettes about excess, neglect, and human behavior. Presented as both a multichannel video installation and a non-fiction feature film, the project reveals the complex ecosystem of the city’s many fraught campaigns to manage its own waste.
- Gilletta McGraw, Black In The Days: A Community Building, Multidisciplinary, Interactive Memoir
Performance art meets reader’s theater as a coming of age story involving an unusual black girl and her colorfully dysfunctional Philadelphia based family is told innovatively using first person narrative. Presented as a one-woman dramatic project, the artist takes viewers on a journey spanning the 1970s to the 2000s. Performed with script-in-hand and PowerPoint slides to provide visual enhancements, audience talk back segments are weaved throughout the performance for full-on participation.
- Li Sumpter, Blade Runner: Illadelph 2025
Blade Runner: Illadelph 2025 (The Rise of the Replicants) is a multimedia immersive theater production that reimagines the world of the sci-fi classic film Blade Runner through an afrofuturistic, BIPOC perspective. The speculative story, set in future Philadelphia, follows a reluctant member of an underground colony of humanoids planning a revolt against their human makers. Illadelph explores themes of oppression and liberation, solidarity and survival, and the nature of technology and the human soul. The project will be developed for the stage in collaboration withTheatre in the X led by company founders LaNeshe Miller-White, Walter DeShields, and Carlo Campbell.
- Mat Tomezsko, Revolutionary Philadelphia
Revolutionary Philadelphia is a series of collaborative artworks produced through a process of research, analysis, and discussion among high school students, social justice educators, and an artist. Launched in Summer 2021, Revolutionary Philadelphia is a partnership between Philadelphia artist Mat Tomezsko and the University Community Collaborative, a media-based social justice initiative, housed at Temple University, that provides leadership programming for high school students in Philadelphia.
- Feini Yin, Our Fishing Log
Our Fishing Log is a Philly-centered storytelling project about our local fish, people who love fish, and the ways fish connect us to the world, each other, and ourselves. The project includes a podcast, photography series, and accompanying gyotaku (traditional fish printing) workshops for youth. Each episode follows a different species of fish found in waters local to the Philadelphia region, from catching the fish to sharing it in a meal with a local cook. This project will be done in collaboration with Fishadelphia, which aims to make fresh, local seafood accessible to Philadelphia’s diverse communities.
*denotes lead artist. Individual Project descriptions being on page 3.
Established with the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Velocity Fund is one of 32 Regional Regranting programs launched by the foundation to fund “under-the-radar artistic activity” by partnering with leading cultural institutions in cities across the nation where the level of self-organized artistic activity is the highest. It is administered by Philadelphia Contemporary.
Applications were reviewed by a distinguished panel of arts administrators, curators and artists:
Brittany Webb, Curator of Twentieth-Century Art and the John Rhoden Collection at PAFA; Sarah Bloom, Senior Officer for Exhibitions, Education & Interpretation for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Pablo Guardiola, Co-director of Beta-Local a Warhol Regional Regranting partner based in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Connie Yu, Artist and 2019 Velocity Fund Grantee and 2020 Added Velocity Grantee.
As panelist and regranting partner Pablo Guardiola noted “It is impressive the diversity of projects and practices anchored to the experiences of being Philadelphia residents”.
Former grantee and panelist, Connie Yu was “grateful to think through these amazing proposals, for gathering-spaces, for survival and the speculative futures beyond, and for collaborative productions engaging image making and storytelling in bold, kind ways. So much love for Philly artists for doing the most with what they have — I hope to keep working and envisioning like you do.”
Dr. Brittany Webb, Curator of Twentieth Century Art at PAFA, and 2022 panelist reflects: “The applicants applying to the Velocity Fund this year had ambitious and creative approaches to connecting their work to their audiences. I’m impressed by these artists’ willingness to experiment and by the care they have for their communities.”
“The Warhol Foundation’s Regional Regranting Program supports ambitious public-facing projects in communities across the country and could not be done without our partners like Philadelphia Contemporary,” says Khadija N. Adell, Regional Regranting Program Manager at the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, “We are excited to see the dynamic range of artist-led projects in the Philadelphia area come to fruition with support from the Velocity Fund.”
Harry Philbrick, Founding Director and CEO of Philadelphia Contemporary, shares this enthusiasm, “Philadelphia Contemporary is honored to administer the Velocity Fund in support of the amazing creative communities of our City. We are grateful to the Warhol Foundation for their continued support and commitment, and to this year’s panelists, who selected from amongst the largest pool of applicants to date.”
After the success of this year’s Spring 2022 Velocity Festival, we will celebrate this new group of grantees in 2023 in a public reception open to all.