Fourteen Philadelphia artist projects awarded $5,000 each by The Velocity Fund
Artblog applauds this year's 14 artist awardees and their projects, each receiving $5,000 under The Velocity Fund grant awards. Come meet the recipients and hear more about their projects at the official award ceremony Monday, September 16th, 6 p.m. at the Cherry Street Pier, 121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd.

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Our friends at The Velocity Fund have just announced the 14 winners of their second year of $5,000 awards for vital artist projects in Philadelphia. We see many worthy projects funded this year and are especially thrilled to see Maddie Hewitt and Michael Bailey’s Project, “Confluence” a climate change research and public discussion project go forward. We’re also excited that Nadia Hironaka and Matt Suib’s “Las Ruinas Circulares” an immigrant-focused research and documentary project received funding. Both these projects were propelled to life by artists inflamed by policies and actions of the current administration in Washington, D.C., which seem to fuel the current state of turmoil and racial intolerance in the country and have imperiled the global environment and our water, air and forests.

As Hironaka and Suib told us in an email:

“There is a sense of urgency in this political moment that I think most people are well aware of, as we watch the tragic consequences of racist, unlawful public policy unfold before our eyes. This tragic US immigration policy is perfectly intertwined with the existence of the National Butterfly Center which is located on the Texas/Mexico border and will be our primary film location. This site is along a migration route traveled by Monarch butterflies. The Center’s land was taken by the Trump administration through eminent domain in 2018 as a proposed site for a border wall.”

Hewitt and Bailey echoed this urgency as well:

“The current administration’s pursuit to deregulate the 1972 Clean Water Act is certainly a motivator for us to engage in the topic of water quality – especially as we begin to experience more precipitation, flash floods and sea level rise. Philadelphians are connected to one another through our shared water source. It is this dependency that inspires us to voice awareness of how crucial it is to reduce waste and water contamination in the city…There are many artists in the city that deserve funding for their projects. We are very grateful for this opportunity…We hope to have our first public event in September or October.”

Artblog congratulates the artists and artist collaborators and applauds the Velocity Fund, whose paradigm of providing money directly to working artists encourages and promotes collaboration and art in the community, and advances the discussion of what art can be and do. Artblog is proud to be the media partner of The Velocity Fund.

From The Velocity Fund press release:

The Velocity Fund, an Andy Warhol Foundation Regional Regranting Program, administered by Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, directly supports visual artists living in the city of Philadelphia. In The Velocity Fund’s second year of re-granting, fourteen new art projects conceived by Philadelphia artists have been awarded $5,000 each, after being selected from a pool of 118 applicants.

The 2019 Velocity Fund grantees:

Arielle Brown – Lead organizer of the project – Black Spatial Relics

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.

Arielle Brown, Black Spatial Relics, Velocity Fund winner, 2019.
Arielle Brown, Black Spatial Relics, Velocity Fund winner, 2019

Ryan Collerd – A Polymath’s Sphere (working title)

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.

Ryan Collerd, A Polymath's Sphere (working title), Velocity Fund winner 2019.
Ryan Collerd, A Polymath’s Sphere (working title), Velocity Fund winner 2019

Lillian Dunn – Lead organizer of the project – The Medicine Grows Close to the Wound

The Medicine Grows Close to the Wound invites North Philadelphia residents to explore and reclaim their relationships with vacant land and herbal medicine through the lens of mental health and recovery. Our collective, including two photographers, a videographer and an herbalist rooted in healing traditions of the African diaspora, will work with participants at New Pathways Project, a community mental health center serving LGBTQIA people in recovery in North Philadelphia.

Lillian Dunn, The Medicine Grows Close to the Wound, Velocity Fund winner 2019
Lillian Dunn, The Medicine Grows Close to the Wound, Velocity Fund winner 2019

Erica Faria – Lead organizer of the project – Phonebook: The Gold Pages

This project is a free, multilingual book of resources for and by people who provide services in the Philadelphia region. Unlike the traditional yellow pages which removes the personal from the business, “Phonebook” documents the quality of the person as well as their craft. The goal of the project is to create a beautiful, useful, and archivable resource that connects, informs, celebrates, and promotes the small businesses and workers who persist in the face of gentrification.

Erica Faria, Phonebook: The Gold Pages, Velocity Fund winner 2019
Erica Faria, Phonebook: The Gold Pages, Velocity Fund winner 2019

Elissa Fredeen – Lead organizer of the project – 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.

Elissa Fredeen, Sound Museum Collective, Velocity Fund winner 2019
Elissa Fredeen, Sound Museum Collective, Velocity Fund winner 2019

Maddie Hewitt – Lead organizer of the project – Confluence

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.

Maddie Hewitt, Confluence, Velocity Fund winner 2019
Maddie Hewitt, Confluence, Velocity Fund winner 2019

Nadia Hironaka – Lead organizer of the project – Las Ruinas Circulares

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.

Nadia Hironaka, Las Ruinas Circulares, Velocity Fund winner 2019
Nadia Hironaka, Las Ruinas Circulares, Velocity Fund winner 2019

Heather Holmes – Lead organizer of the project – Conflicts of Interest

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.

Heather Holmes, Conflicts of Interest, Velocity Fund winner, 2019
Heather Holmes, Conflicts of Interest, Velocity Fund winner, 2019

Sterling Johnson – Lead organizer of the project – War on People

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, Goods and Services, Philly Drug Users Union, Prevention Point, and Project Safe) and community members.

Sterling Johnson, War on People, Velocity Fund winner 2019
Sterling Johnson, War on People, Velocity Fund winner 2019

Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela – Lead organizer of the project – No Otro Lado Music Video Series

No Otro Lado Music Video Series is a video project that will commission new experimental music videos that explore, in large part– but not limited to, how the U.S. and Mexico are essentially one country with a border that is used to justify oppression. This visual art project will challenge viewers to think about how the issues of the border go well beyond the physical territory of the border, and to question borders more generally. The culminating event will be a free screening of the videos, with community and art group co-sponsors followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers.

Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, No Otro Lado Music Video Series, Velocity Fund winner, 2019
Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, No Otro Lado Music Video Series, Velocity Fund winner, 2019

Jonathan Olshefski – Lead organizer of the project – Whispers in the Storm

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.

Jonathan Olshefski, Whispers in the Storm, Velocity Fund winner, 2019.
Jonathan Olshefski, Whispers in the Storm, Velocity Fund winner, 2019

Raúl Romero – Lead organizer of the project – Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape

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.

Raúl Romero, Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape, Velocity Fund winner 2019
Raúl Romero, Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape, Velocity Fund winner 2019

Robin Turnage – Lead organizer of the project – Pottery Workshops

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.

Robin Turnage, Pottery Workshops, Velocity Fund Winner, 2019
Robin Turnage, Pottery Workshops, Velocity Fund Winner, 2019

Connie Yu – Lead organizer of the project – FORTUNE in the Year of the Rat

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.

Connie Yu, FORTUNE in the Year of the Rat, Velocity Fund winner, 2019
Connie Yu, FORTUNE in the Year of the Rat, Velocity Fund winner, 2019

Established with the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Velocity Fund is one of 12 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. The Velocity Fund is the first Warhol Foundation-supported regional re-granting program in Pennsylvania, and only the second on the East Coast between Maine and Florida.

Applications were reviewed by a distinguished panel of arts administrators, curators and artists: Roya Amirsoleymani, Artistic Director and Curator of Public Engagement at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art; Meg Onli, Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania; Laura Phipps, Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and Karina Puente, Philadelphia-based artist and 2018 Velocity Fund Grantee.

This year’s grantees proposed a wide range of projects from research, publications, critical writing and zines, to crafts, workshops and installations.

The public is invited to celebrate The Velocity Fund grantees at an award ceremony on Monday, September 16th at 6 p.m. at the Cherry Street Pier, 121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd.

More about Temple Contemporary:

Temple Contemporary creatively re-imagines the social function of art. This mission is guided by a 35-member advisory council representing a broad spectrum of Philadelphia residents, including high-school students of color in our North Philadelphia neighborhood, faculty and students at Temple University and civic leaders such as nurses, public historians and block captains. Collaborating with these advisors has centered our position of creative public service and has necessitated a fundamental philosophical shift for the organization to recognize social engagement as the determining factor of our programming. This shift necessitates a foregrounding of curatorial accountability, reciprocity and exchange that forms the basis of Temple Contemporary’s social life and, by extension, our values. Our recent work has included Funeral for a Home, Symphony for a Broken Orchestra and coming this fall, 1000 Ways to Listen. Temple Contemporary is an initiative of the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University.

Tags

A Polymath's Sphere, Arielle Brown, Black Spatial Relics, Conflicts of Interest, Confluence, Connie Yu, Elissa Fredeen, Erica Faria, FORTUNE in the Year of the Rat, Heather Holmes, Jonathan Olshefski, Karina Puente, Las Ruinas Circulares, Laura Phipps, Lillian Dunn, Maddie Hewitt, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, Meg Onli, nadia hironaka, No Otro Lado Music Video Series, Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape, Phonebook: The Gold Pages, raul romero, Roya Amirsoleymani, Ryan Collerd, Sound Museum Collective, Sterling Johnson, temple contemporary, The Medicine Grows Close to the Wound, Velocity Fund, War on People, Warhol Foundation, Whispers in the Storm

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