The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Announces 2011 Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative Grant Recipients

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Announces 2011 Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative Grant Recipients

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (Center) has awarded $1,159,700 through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative (PCMI) to 12 arts and cultural institutions. This year's awards will support organizational development that will boost programmatic excellence and audience engagement.

PCMI grants are intended to help Philadelphia-area organizations strengthen their management functions and staff operations, in order to serve audiences with work that meets high standards of artistic quality and innovation. This year's funded projects include plans for new and creative ways to engage diverse audiences on more personal levels.

Examples include New Paradise Laboratories, which seeks to explore the use of Web-based technologies to engage audiences more deeply in its work; the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe, which will introduce visual art to its mix of programs that have, until now, focused exclusively on performing arts; and Asian Arts Initiative, in developing a multi-tenant arts facility, where artists and other arts organizations share public spaces and generate a dynamic hub of cultural activity.

New Paradise Laboratories (NPL) will develop a Web-based tool that the experimental performance ensemble dubs a “fiction-based social network.” This network will allow audiences from all over the world to participate in the creation and presentation of new theatrical works that would also be presented online. This is the next step in NPL's ongoing efforts to expand the scope of its projects beyond the limits of traditionally staged performances, which are limited in time frame and which rarely afford audiences opportunities to shape the show's outcome. With this new tool, NPL seeks to build upon the popularity and technological advances of social-networking Web sites like Facebook to break down long-standing barriers between audiences and artists, in ways that young people have come to expect. In doing so, NPL hopes to cultivate a broader, worldwide audience for its work.

Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates will build on the energy generated by successful projects such as Love Letter, its internationally recognized collaboration with former graffiti artist Steve Powers in West Philadelphia, and establish a new curatorial residency program that looks to the future of mural-making. In order to move out of its comfort zone and develop a culture of innovation, Mural Arts will recruit three curators-in-residence from outside the region over the next two years, who can look at the organization's work through a fresh lens and advance its artistic practice and community impact. The visiting, resident curators will advance and renew Mural Arts' work as an established leader in both mural-making and the transformation of Philadelphia's public spaces.

Beginning in 2013, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe will introduce visual arts exhibitions into its annual festival, which has been primarily focused on the performing arts. Nato Thompson of Creative Time will advise the organization on all aspects of launching the program, including the creation of audience engagement and funding strategies. Thompson will also oversee the selection process, production, and final unveiling of two to four large-scale public art works during the 2013 Live Arts Festival, which will effectively extend the festival beyond its current stage-based presentation model into Philadelphia's neighborhoods.  

Asian Arts Initiative will realize the promise of its proposed multi-tenant arts facility in Philadelphia's Chinatown by providing affordable work, public exhibition, and performance spaces for up to 25 individual artists and eight peer cultural organizations, all of whom will be encouraged to work independently and collaboratively in the common space. Rental income from these tenants will be a continued source of financial sustainability and will allow Asian Arts to pursue new artistic initiatives, such as an artist residency program and multidisciplinary, community-based programming. The mix of artists and organizations, which cover a multitude of performing and visual arts disciplines, will create a vibrant center of activity that will be compelling to a wide range of audiences.

“PCMI's 2011 grants demonstrate how changes in administrative and managerial activities can catalyze more imaginative and energetic programming to the ultimate benefit of our regional audiences,” notes Center Executive Director Paula Marincola. “This approach resonates fully with The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage's overall commitment to excellence, and ensures that programmatic quality and audience engagement are seen as the primary goals for management advancements.”

For the complete list of 2011 grantees and full descriptions of each funded project, please see the attached list or visit

Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative grants provide much needed resources for individuals and organizations from a wide variety of fields to achieve greater organizational dynamism and adaptability. Grantees are selected by a panel of arts and culture professionals from around the country with experience in various aspects of the management field. For a full list of 2011 panelist names and respective credentials, please see the attached list of 2011 grantees or visit

Since its inception in 2001, the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative has awarded over $6.4 million in project grant support to those organizations that deliver exceptional programming and outstanding cultural services to people in the five-county region.