Congrats Karyn Olivier and James Claiborne! Flex Fund grants, Plus Opportunity!

Congratulations Karyn Olivier, selected for the Whitney Biennial and Prospect New Orleans 6, two prestigious international roundups that hundreds of thousands of people see. Congratulations also to James Claiborne on his new post as Deputy Director for Community Engagement at the Barnes! James has been an advisor to Artblog through the years and Karyn was part of our 2020 online program about Art and Social Responsibility. We admire James and Karyn so much and are happy for these announcements. Meanwhile, Artblog is one of 80 arts organizations to receive a $5,000 grant from the PCA Flex Fund, administered by the GPCA. Plus check out a great opportunity from one of Philadelphia's best and longest-lived collectives. Enjoy the News!


Headshot of philadelphia artist Karyn Olivier, who is smiling and looking into the camera.
Artist Karyn Olivier, selected for the 2024 Whitney Biennial, which opens March 20, 2024.

Philadelphia Artists in Whitney Biennial!
Whitney Biennial artists include Philadelphia artists Karyn Olivier, Sharon Hayes and Alex Tatarsky (who splits their time between NY and Philadelphia). See the full list. The Biennial opens March 20, 2024.
Read Sharon Garbe’s 2023 review of Alex Tatarsky’s Glen Foerd residency performance.

View a 2020 Artblog YouTube video with Karyn Olivier and Ken Lum talking about Art and Responsibility.


Philadelphia artists Didier William and Karyn Olivier selected for Prospect New Orleans 6!
Yes, Karyn Olivier! More about Prospect New Orleans 6 here. Prospect New Orleans 6 opens Nov. 2, 2024.

A black man wearing stylish black eyeglasses, gold hoop earrings and a pendant on a chain around his neck on top of his Nehru collar button down shirt smiles at the camera.
James Claiborne, new Deputy Director for Community Engagement at the Barnes Foundation. Photo courtesy of the Barnes Foundation

James Claiborne Appointed Barnes Foundation Deputy Director for Community Engagement

Philadelphia, PA, January 25, 2024—Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation, today announced the appointment of James Claiborne to the newly created position of Deputy Director for Community Engagement. A program and visual arts curator and educator with nearly 20 years of experience in the nonprofit cultural sector, Claiborne returns to the Barnes—where he previously served as Curator of Public Programs—after most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Exhibitions and Programs at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. He will begin his new post on February 5, 2024.

As Deputy Director for Community Engagement, Claiborne succeeds Val Gay, Deputy Director for Audience Engagement and Chief Experience Officer, in a reconfigured role. Gay is departing the Barnes following five years of visionary leadership to pursue her creative entrepreneurship full time. During her productive tenure at the Barnes, Gay led the formation of the Guest and Protection Services department—which is composed of staff responsible for welcoming and engaging guests while protecting the collection, staff, and building—to offer a more visitor-centered on-site experience. She was pivotal to the launch of the Pathways Program, the Barnes’s internal internship program designed for and directly investing in the skill development and career advancement of frontline staff. Additionally, she oversaw the vast expansion of Barnes family and community engagement programs, including the Early Learner Summer Pods program, which was designed to address gaps in early childhood development programs during the pandemic.

In his new role, Claiborne will work to strengthen the Barnes’s relationships with artistic and programmatic partners in the Philadelphia region and beyond. He will be responsible for developing, implementing, and assessing a wide variety of public programs, family programs, and community engagement activities that align with the Barnes’s progressive artistic, educational, and social missions. Collaborating across departments, he will cultivate new ways for artistic partners and program attendees to have meaningful and continuing relationships with the Barnes. He will also collaborate closely with Sheronda Whitaker, Deputy Director for Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer, to support the design and implementation of DEIA initiatives.

“On behalf of Barnes staff and trustees, I want to express deep gratitude to Val Gay for all she has done to advance the mission of the Barnes over the last half-decade, and a warm welcome to James Claiborne,” says Collins. “James is a deeply strategic, creative thinker whose steadfast commitment to Philadelphia—and its robust community of visual artists, performers, musicians, and makers of all kinds—makes him uniquely suited for this newly reimagined leadership position. Building on his innovative work as Curator of Public Programs from 2021 to 2023, he will play a key role in strengthening the Barnes’s connections with the many diverse communities we serve and expanding our DEIA initiatives.”

“I am thrilled to return to the Barnes in this new role and deeply grateful to Val Gay for her invaluable leadership, mentorship, and friendship over the years,” says Claiborne. “The Barnes is filled with incredible opportunities for meaningful community engagement. I look forward to working with my colleagues and Philadelphia’s creative community to expand collaborations inspired by the Barnes’s dedication to education and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice.”

In 2023, Claiborne and Nancy Ireson co-curated the Barnes exhibition William Edmondson: A Monumental Vision and Returning to Before—an installation and intervention by visual and movement artist Brendan Fernandes created in response to Edmondson’s work. As an independent curator, he has presented exhibitions by a wide range of artists and groups, including Deborah Willis, James Dupree, Amber Art and Design, Richard J. Watson, Ruth Naomi Floyd, and Barkley L. Hendricks. He has served as a board member, advisory board member, or consultant for several organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region, including Artblog, Art Sanctuary, FringeArts, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.



Artblog is one of 80 organizations receiving $5,000 from The PA Council on the Arts’s Creative Sector Flex Fund, administered by Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance!

Congrats to all! More from the GPCA
Philadelphia, PA (January 25, 2024)—The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is pleased to announce the awardees of the 2023-2024 Creative Sector Flex Fund, a program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In this round of funding, 80 organizations received $5,000 each for a total of $400,000 in grants to support small arts and culture work across Southeastern Pennsylvania (Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties). The Flex Fund is designed to address the changing needs of dynamic Pennsylvania organizations with average annual revenue between $10,000-$200,000.

…The Greater Philadelphia region has a remarkable concentration of diverse and impactful organizations representing many facets of arts and culture. We express our gratitude to every applicant and we appreciate the important work that each organization does for the people of Greater Philadelphia. The Creative Sector Flex Fund grants will continue annually. The next round will open in spring/summer 2024. To receive a notification of the next available cycle of CSFF and related info sessions, please email

2023-2024 Creative Sector Flex Fund Grantees

5 Shorts Project (Philadelphia County)
Afro Culture Preservation Council (Philadelphia County)
Almanac Dance Circus Theatre (Philadelphia County)
Applied Mechanics (Philadelphia County)
Bainbridge House, Inc (Philadelphia County)
Barnstone Art for Kids (Chester County)
Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra (Philadelphia County)
Blue Stoop (Philadelphia County)
Bowerbird (Philadelphia County)
Brush With the Law (Montgomery County)
BuildaBridge International (Philadelphia County)
Bushfire Theatre of Performing Arts (Philadelphia County)
Cambodian American Girls Empowering (Philadelphia County)
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia (Philadelphia County)
Cleaver Magazine (Philadelphia County)
Crescendo Phoenixville (Chester County)
Curio Theatre Company (Philadelphia County)
Da Vinci Art Alliance (Philadelphia County)
Delaware County Youth Orchestra (Delaware County)
Dolce Suono Ensemble (Philadelphia County)
East Goshen Township Department of Parks and Recreation (Chester County)
Experience Yardley (Bucks County)
Fire Museum Presents (Philadelphia County)
Friends of St. Paul’s Elkins Park (Montgomery County)
Friends of the Rail Park (Philadelphia County)
Georgia E Gregory Interdenominational School of Music (GEGISOM) (Philadelphia County)
International Ballet Exchange (Philadelphia County)
Jazz Bridge Project, Inc. (Philadelphia County)
John Graves Productions (Philadelphia County)
La Fiocco (Bucks County)
Leah Stein Dance Company (Philadelphia County)
Lighting Rod Special (Philadelphia County)
Main Line Singers (Chester County)
Mamadêlê Foundation (Philadelphia County)
Marcus Hook Preservation Society (Delaware County)
Mascher Space Cooperative (Philadelphia County)
Metropolitan Ballet Company (Montgomery County)
Mexican Cultural Center (Philadelphia County)
Montgomery County Chorale and Orchestra (Montgomery County)
Network for New Music (Philadelphia County)
Ninth Planet (Philadelphia County)
Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac (Philadelphia County)
Orchestra Concordia Association (Delaware County)
Pasion y Arte (Philadelphia County)
Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists (PAPA) (Philadelphia County)
Philadelphia Chinese Opera Society, Inc. (Montgomery County)
Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society (PCGS) (Philadelphia County)
Philadelphia Dance Projects (Philadelphia County)
Philadelphia Freedom Band (Philadelphia County)
Philadelphia Sculptors (Philadelphia County)
Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival (Philadelphia County)
Philly Youth Dance Fest (Philadelphia County)
Philomusica of Delaware Valley (Philomusica Chorale) (Chester County)
Pickleberry Pie, Inc. (Montgomery County)
¡Presente! Media (Philadelphia County)
Project Capoeira (Philadelphia County)
Quakertown Band (Bucks County)
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (Philadelphia County)
Second State Press (Philadelphia County)
Senior Community Services, Inc. (Delaware County)
Shirley Road Productions (Montgomery County)
Sruti, the India Music and Dance Society (Montgomery County)
Team Sunshine Performance Corporation (Philadelphia County)
The Halide Project (Philadelphia County)
The Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble (Philadelphia County)
The Naked Stark (Philadelphia County)
The Women’s Coalition for Empowerment, Inc. (Philadelphia County)
The Artblog, Inc. (Philadelphia County)
Theatre Ariel (Montgomery County)
Theatre in the X (Philadelphia County)
THINKINGDANCE (Philadelphia County)
Tiny Dynamite (Philadelphia County)
Tri-County Concerts Association, Inc. (Delaware County)
Unscripted Project (Philadelphia County)
Usiloquy Dance Designs (Philadelphia County)
Valley Forge Chorus (Chester County)
Vox Populi (Philadelphia County)
West Chester Dance Works (Chester County)
West Park Cultural Center (Philadelphia County)
Wildflower Composers (Philadelphia County)


Grizzly Grizzly looking for New Members

Grizzly Grizzly is in search of fresh voices to join our collective and contribute to the dialogue. We are seeking visual and performing artists, writers, and curators who are intrigued by and wish to engage in the local arts community. If you are interested in becoming involved, please provide a link to your website or an example of your published writing, along with a brief statement explaining why you wish to join an artist collective.

Your application will be reviewed by our current members. We are eager to learn about you, your work, and your interest in curating with us. The expectations include a minimum one-year commitment to Grizzly Grizzly, attendance at monthly meetings, gallery sitting approximately once a month, and assistance with First Fridays. The membership dues are $55 per month.

We will review applications as they are received and will continue to accept applications until February 29, 2024.

Apply here