Heinz Endowments announces almost a half million dollars in TAP arts funding

PITTSBURGH, Pa., Jan. 17, 2017 – The Heinz Endowments has awarded a major new round of grants through its Transformative Arts Process (TAP), totaling $480,000. TAP is a participatory grantmaking initiative that will invest $1 million over two years to build the field of those working with youth through the arts in African American and distressed neighborhoods.

As part of the program, Endowments staff collaborate with an 18-member Advisory Board comprising Pittsburgh artists, educators, funders and cultural leaders committed to equity. TAP also reflects the concept of a Just Pittsburgh, which is a core theme of the Endowments’ new strategic planning that addresses issues of racial and economic justice.

“TAP is a process that shares decision-making power with artists and youth to benefit from their experience, wisdom and perspective,” said Grant Oliphant, President of the Endowments. “We are excited about where these grants may lead.”

TAP was launched in 2012 as the Endowments’ Arts & Culture Program was looking for innovative ways to improve grantmaking outcomes by increasing the participation of current and prospective grantee organizations in the development of funding strategies and processes.

An initial group of more than 20 arts, community development and educational professionals visited three cities in which exciting arts-based youth development work was taking place. Participants later attended several meetings during which they crafted principles for transformative arts education.

This led to the creation of an Advisory Board that then developed the strategies and principles guiding TAP grantmaking.

Using those principles, a panel of local and national professionals working in the arts and arts education reviewed submissions through a request-for-proposals process. It recommended awards to the following organizations for two-year teaching artist residencies or capital improvements:

$60,000 Teaching Artist Residencies

  • Legacy Arts Project; artist in residence, Toni Stowers
  • Assemble; artist in residence, Darnell Chambers
  • POORLAW; artist in residence, Blak Rapp Madusa
  • YMCA Lighthouse Project; artist in residence, James Robertson
  • Focus on Renewal; artist in residence, Trevor Miles
  • Garden of Peace Project; artist in residence, Michael David Battle
  • Ujamaa Collective; artist in residence, Dawn Surgest

$10,000 Capital Grants

  • Alumni Theater Company – to support capital campaign for a new rehearsal/performance space.
  • BOOM Concepts – to purchase equipment, including computers and bikes, which will help increase the effectiveness of the organization’s teaching artist practice
  • The Entertainment Consortium – to purchase recording equipment to facilitate the organization’s arts instruction.
  • Union Project – to support the redesign and re-purpose of two classrooms.
  • The Hill Dance Academy Theatre – to support physical improvements to the organization’s studios including portable mirrors and additional ballet barrés.
  • 1Hood – to support redesign of teaching spaces to make them more conducive for collaboration and creativity.

The grantmaking strategy that guided the selections includes five priorities:

  • Invest in teaching artists who challenge structural inequities through their practice.
  • Invest in the work of young people pursuing the arts as a profession.
  • Invest in transformative arts education organizations that are located in or primarily engage with youth from African American and distressed neighborhoods.
  • Expand the relationships, knowledge and visibility of teaching artists, arts organizations, young artists and grantmakers working in or with these communities.
  • Experiment with philanthropic practice by partnering with grantees and youth in the implementing and evaluating of the TAP strategy.

“I am excited about the partnerships these grants allow us to have with artists and organizations committed to equity and justice in Pittsburgh's African American & distressed neighborhoods,” said Endowments Senior Arts & Culture Program Officer Justin Laing. “I believe we’ll see transformation in the lives of the youth and artists that will be inspiring and help our community learn more about a group of folks doing lifesaving work.

“We are especially grateful to members of TAP’s Advisory Board who have worked tirelessly with us to develop a thoughtful grantmaking strategy that helps us to connect with our communities in new ways.”

Previous Endowments TAP grantmaking includes a $1.5 million grant to the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh to help fund the first-phase construction of a Creative Youth Center in Homewood; support to the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh’s Urban Matters program, which employs artists to work with youth to understand and research community development issues; and a $150,000 grant to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater to create a business incubator for African American artists interested in the intersection of social justice, neighborhoods and artistic creation.

Additional grantmaking to youth artists and other teaching artists will be made later this year.


For information contact:
Carmen Lee
Communications Officer
The Heinz Endowments
412 338 2628

Follow us on social media
Twitter: @heinzendow
Instagram: theheinzendowments


© 2017 The Heinz Endowments