Added Velocity 2021-2022 awards five worthy Philadelphia arts projects $15,000 each

We are very happy to announce the awardees of this year’s Added Velocity grants. The money awarded each project will go far to stabilize and support these community-engaged and activist projects already funded under the Velocity Fund. Funds go directly to artists! In this post you will find names of the projects and project leaders with links to full descriptions, as well as information about the funding sources and administrators. In the days to come, Artblog will publish short interviews with each of the awardees! Come on back for those special peeks at the projects.

A logo of a red paper plane, flying towards text that reads: "ADDED" (in yellow) and "VELOCITY" (below, in red).

With $15,000 in funding from Added Velocity, five previous grantees under the Velocity Fund initiative move their community projects forward this year. Added Velocity will allow these independent local artists to build on the success of their initial project grant to enhance the activist projects linked to neighborhoods and communities around the city. The artists, who mostly work without the support of an umbrella organization, use the funding to help stabilize and enhance their work. We applaud the concept of the Velocity Fund (now entering its fifth year) and Added Velocity (now in its third year) and are happy that the project is now housed in and administered by Philadelphia Contemporary! The Velocity Fund is part of the Regional Regranting Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Added Velocity is funded by the William Penn Foundation. We encourage artists working in Philadelphia who wish to, or already do work with communities to apply to the Velocity Fund, which is the entry point for Added Velocity. The community need is great, and artists’ projects offer wonderful creative solutions. And the open call for 2022 Velocity Fund projects will launch in March, 2022!

The 2021-2022 Added Velocity projects are:

  • Alumbra (Ana Cecilia Gonzalez*) More
  • Al Mudhif – A Confluence (Yaroub Al Obaidi*) More
  • The Beardmobile (John Jarboe*) More
  • Choreto (Diente Fo*) More
  • Expanding Sanctuary (Kristal Sotomayor*) More

(*denotes lead organizer of the project)

Project Descriptions

Alumbra (Ana Cecilia Gonzalez*)

Alumbra will expand the scope of its community impact by collaborating with the youth to create a night time destination with a long-term light art installation.

Glowing boxes and vertical rectangles are installed in an empty lot, where people have convened behind it, near a projector screen and a band.
‘Alumbra.’ Lead artists, Ana Cecilia Gonzalez and Paola González-Rubio

Al Mudhif – A Confluence (Yaroub Al Obaidi*)

This project will dismantle and document Al Mudhif, a traditional Iraqi ceremonial structure made entirely out of phragmites reed, after parts of the structure were affected by the Ida hurricane, and then activate it for new audiences through digital resources and printing a catalog.

Red pillows on blue mats line the interior edges of a light-filled outdoor structure made out of organic material (indigenous weed, phragmites), in a lush green environment
‘Al Mudhif – A Confluence.’ Lead artists, Yaroub Al Obaidi & Sarah Kavage. Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Photo: Ricky Yanas.

The Beardmobile (John Jarboe*)

The Beardmobile is a mobile performance and protest unit built into a 15 foot box truck.

Three Drag queens pose on a stage; in the center is a Black queen in a pink wig, short and tight colorful dress, holding one hand up and the other on her hip; the other two queens stand on either side of her, turned inwards towards the center queen.
‘The Beardmobile’ Lead Artists, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, John Jarboe

Choreto (Diente Fo*)

Gente de Tierra reintroduced us to the abundance that lives within and around our Black and Brown community; and from this, for the next year, Casa Sabera will prioritize embracing our blessings, and honoring our ancestors.

Two people stand in a small, but lush garden in the front lawn of a house on a city street, both gesturing at tall stalks behind them.
‘Choreto’ Lead Artists, Casa Sabera, Sky and Diente Fo

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.

A man and women with brown skin, dressed in a suit and bridal gown, stand in the center of Broad street in front of Philadelphia City Hall, holding signs that say "ABOLISH ICE" and "EXPAND SANCTUARY / END PARS"
‘Expanding Sanctuary’ Lead Artist, Kristal Sotomayor

More about the Funders and testimonials from the jurors and the funder

Added Velocity— which is administered by Philadelphia Contemporary with generous support from the William Penn Foundation— builds on the momentum of the Velocity Fund by directly supporting five previously funded Velocity Fund grantees who demonstrate a commitment to expanding their initial projects in meaningful and far-reaching ways. Added Velocity provides a unique reinvestment into artist-run projects, serving as a vital next step in socially engaged practices in Philadelphia.

Added Velocity applications were reviewed by a distinguished panel: Karen Patterson, Former Curator at The Fabric Workshop and Museum; Deidre McPherson, Director of Artistic and Community Initiatives for FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art ; Peter Nesbett, Keeper of Imaginative Futures (aka Executive Director) of Washington Project for the Arts. This same panel met in 2020 to decide the initial grants, so the Added Velocity review presents a unique opportunity to revisit the outcome of prior funding. This year, applicants were invited to speak directly with the panel about their concepts.

“I continue to be inspired by what I see in these applications—the love for the city and its people, the desire to be useful, and a palpable belief that artists can make real impact. I am eager to see how each of these very different projects takes further root in the rich cultural soil that makes Philadelphia so special.” — Peter Nesbett, Keeper of Imaginative Futures (aka Executive Director) of Washington Project for the Arts.

“Artists and their organizations have a beautiful way of acting as a connector and convener of communities, providing spaces for healing, self-discovery, and growth,” explained William Penn Foundation’s Director of Creative Communities Judilee Reed. “Through the ‘Added Velocity’ fund, these five awardees can continue to uplift their communities by extending their project’s impact to neighborhoods across Philadelphia and deepening meaningful audience engagement for those who may not have access to the arts otherwise.”

[Ed. Note: Judilee Reed has moved on and is now the President and CEO of the national funding organization, United States Artists.]

About Velocity Fund, Added Velocity and Philadelphia Contemporary

About Philadelphia Contemporary:
Founded in 2016, Philadelphia Contemporary presents visual art, performance art, and spoken word across the city of Philadelphia. A nomadic contemporary art organization with ambitions to establish a freestanding, globally oriented and locally aware non-collecting arts institution, Philadelphia Contemporary has pioneered a vibrant and sustainable model based on partnerships and collaborations. Having commenced pop-up programming in October 2016, Philadelphia Contemporary continues to develop an ambitious roster of projects that will be mounted in the coming years.

About the William Penn Foundation:
The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that increase educational opportunities for children from low-income families, ensure a sustainable environment, foster creativity that enhances civic life, and advance philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. In 2020, the Foundation granted more than $117 million to support vital efforts in the region.

About The Velocity Fund:
​​The Velocity Fund directly supports artists to organize ​new ​collaborative projects throughout the city of Philadelphia by awarding grants up to $5000. Philadelphia’s visual artists are a diverse community of makers and thinkers from multiple social, economic and cultural backgrounds. The ​Velocity ​Fund is open to a wide range of experimental practices, particularly those that emphasize collaboration between artistic genres leading to expanded audiences, fresh outcomes and an enriched multi-disciplinary discourse.

The Velocity Fund is administered by Philadelphia Contemporary and is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’s Regional Regranting Program.