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Pow! Black Panther event at African American Museum (AAMP) and super $123k for arts in community from Sachs Program for Arts Innovation

Two super-duper things in the News: A panel discussion about Black Panther and how it relates to Black Comics and the Black Art Movement and the announcement of grants from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation - more money for connecting people with art? We are all for it!



Sachs Program for Arts Innovation pairs well with John Waters performance to launch announcement of the first grantees under the new Penn program.

John Waters, keynote speaker at the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation Grants Awards soiree, April 24, 2018
John Waters, keynote speaker at the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation Grants Awards soiree, April 24, 2018

I was fortunate enough to attend the event April 24, 2018, announcing the first round of grants from the new Sachs Program for Arts Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania. The $15M Program, created by a gift from Penn alums, Keith and Kathy Sachs, seeks to partner gown and town in arts projects both experimental and collaborative. The $123,000 announced by Sachs Executive Director John McInerney covers projects in the visual arts, literature, filmmaking, theatre, and music. After the announcement of the noteworthy projects, noteworthy raconteur and all-round bad boy, John Waters, performed his “Filthy World” stand-up, to cackles of laughter and cheers. Noteworthy moments in the hour-long performance included Waters promoting a new type of terrorism, “turd terrorism,” which I will leave to your imagination…and an exhortation by the 72-year old filmmaker, art collector, and left-leaning activist: “Old People, say yes to drugs!”   Below is a description of the Sachs grants to Penn faculty, students and staff, for projects that bridge into new territory for the arts programs at Penn. Full details at the Sachs Program website.

These grants mark the first funding by The Sachs Programs for Arts Innovation (The Sachs Program), a new initiative focused on supporting innovative arts projects at the University of Pennsylvania and advancing the arts across the University. The projects cover a wide range of disciplines and recipients include faculty artists, students and other arts advocates at Penn. These grants were announced at the Annenberg Center on April 24th at a celebratory event that featured a performance by filmmaker and artist John Waters.

Funded Projects include:

  • The development of a mobile poetry printing press to celebrate the 200th birthday of Walt Whitman
  • A series of electronic performances and films including Luke Fowler’s intimate portrait of the late composer Martin Bartlett
  • An exhibit honoring “The Other 9/11,” the 1973 Chilean military coup, a watershed moment in Latin America history that still resonates today
  • A nursing story slam produced by the Penn School of Nursing, in partnership with First Person Arts and Penn Medicine
  • The development of the first offsite satellite gallery for the Penn Fine Arts department
  • An international symposium on Russian poetry and translation, “Your Language-My Ear”
  • A year long series of exhibitions of internationally recognized photographers, “Photographies of Conflict” including Susan Meiselas; Afrapix (South Africa); Activestills (Israel/Palestine) and others

Below is a list of the grants, by recipient. Full details at the Sachs Program website.

Teaching Art:
Arts Course Development Grants

  • David Comberg, PennDesign: The People’s Press
  • Herman Beavers and Suzana Berger, School of Arts & Sciences: August Wilson & Beyond
  • Rachel Zolf, School of Arts & Sciences: Community Writing Course

Arts Integration Grants

  • Amitanshu Das, Graduate School of Education: Fiction Filmmaking with Trauma-informed Practice
  • Claudia Lynn and Sibel Sayili-Hurley, School of Arts & Sciences: Language, Culture and Contemporary Art

Making Art
Sachs Visiting Artists Grants

  • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts: Vessels
  • Creative Writing Program, School of Arts & Sciences: Janice Lowe, Fellow in Poetics and Poetic
  • Practice, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing

Independent Creative Production Grants

  • Bea Huff Hunter, Wharton: Reflexive Writing Strategies In and Around Moyra Davey’s Work
  • Cary Mazer, School of Arts & Sciences: New Play Development
  • Paul Swenbeck, ICA: Out, Out, Phosphene Candle

Presenting Art
Student Arts Engagement Grants

  • Fred Schmidt-Arenales, PennDesign: Group Relations Conference
  • Institute of Contemporary Art: Visual Thinking Strategies Training
  • Kevin Laskey, School of Arts & Sciences: Almanac, an Evening-Length Work for Classical Musicians & Improvisers
  • Ramey Mize, School of Arts & Sciences: The Incubation Series
  • Saif Khawaja, Wharton: Electroluminescent Interactive Art & Music

Provosts Interdisciplinary Grants

  • Aaron Levy, School of Arts & Sciences and Slought: Photographies of Conflict
  • Creative Writing Program, School of Arts & Sciences: Community Creative Writing Workshops
  • Eugene Lew, School of Arts & Sciences: Musica Practica / Elettronica Viva
  • Institute of Contemporary Art: VIP Hours at ICA (Visiting with Infants and Parents)
  • Kevin Platt, School of Arts & Sciences; Kelly Writers House: Your Language – My Ear
  • Latin American and Latino Studies Program, School of Arts & Sciences: The Other 9/11
  • Marion Leary, Penn Nursing: Nursing Story Slam
  • Undergraduate Fine Arts, PennDesign: Immersive Studio Project: A Fine Arts Satellite Space


Beyond Black Panther – Discussion of Black superheroes, and the Black Arts Movement at African American Museum in Philadelphia! This sounds great! Also, you will have a chance to see the “Black Pulp!” exhibition of comics artists, a show — closing April 29, 2018 — that “ranges from small-run magazines, novels, posters, and comic books, to traditional and experimental fine art prints that—along with other mediums on view—challenge racist narratives and preconceived notions of Black experience.”

Beyond Black Panther: Bridging the Gap Between the Black Arts Movement & The Black Age of Comics
Sunday, April 29, 2018 4 – 6 p.m.
African American Museum in Philadelphia
701 Arch St.
$5, Free for AAMP Members (Register at the Tickets link)

This Sunday, April 29, 2018, join AAMP and The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC, Inc.) for an exciting discussion where Black sci-fi and comic artists, experts and professionals discuss the box office-smashing success of Black Panther, along with the larger history of Black superheroes and the Black Arts Continuum. Panelists include:

Yumy Odom, Founder of ECBACC, Inc
Akinseye Brown, Founder of Sokoya Productions
Ariell Johnson, Founder of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse
Eric Battle, Award-winning Illustrator
Maurice Waters, Founder of
M. Asli Dukan, Award-Winning Filmmaker