Mariah Torres: $15,000 for the post-production phase of a half-hour comedy, “Rock Bottom,” to be included in the pitch packet to networks and streaming services. The biographical show focuses on the artist’s adventures chasing her dreams as an artist in New York City.
Tahirah Walker: $15,000 to support Black Book Lady, a literary arts organization that builds on the artist’s experiences as a writer, mother and daughter. The grant will allow Walker to pursue her dream of writing full-time, starting with stories about her relationship with her mother who died suddenly.
Alisha Wormsley: $15,000 to support “Children of NAN,” an archive of objects, photos, video footage, film, sounds, philosophies, rituals and performances that will serve as a survival guide for Black women by Black women, much like the Green Book documented safe travel for Black people. The archive will draw on ancient knowledge, art, social practice and mysticism.
Celeta Hickman: $20,000 for “Black Bead Story: The Digital Spectacles,” a series of seven short films, plus events called “spectacles” that feature the sacred, secular, Afrocentric and period designs of bead artist and accessories designer Celeta Hickman, and include public screenings, masquerade performances, wearable art and a catalog.
Muffy Mendoza: $20,000 for the “Brown Mama Monologues” traveling performance series, which uses the art of storytelling to redefine the American motherhood narrative to include the experiences of Black mothers. Storytellers will include mothers from the D.C. metro area, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia who will craft and share their stories in presentations in these cities.
Global Posse Productions: $20,000 to finish Mukwai Wabei Siyolwe’s documentary film, “Roofless.” The work shines a light on the correlation between displacement and how music-making in the Black diasporic communities of Pittsburgh and Rio de Janeiro includes the constant desire to find home after centuries of displacement, as well as a longing to connect through music back to their source: Africa.
Black Art Futures Fund and Women of Color in the Arts: Two grants of $5,000 each were made to these national arts organizations in response to the impact of systemic racism on Black-led organizations that the Movement for Black Lives has amplified, and to connect Pittsburgh-based artists with Black artists and arts programming that have a national profile, with the goal of elevating local artists, their artwork and the creative field.
SLB Radio for Project X: $5,000 to gather data, convene a team and define the operations framework to successfully launch Project X, a free online resource that creates a bridge between classrooms and exciting careers by offering authentic real-world lessons and projects. Led by Dennis Henderson, Project X will be designed in partnership with innovative companies including Pixar, Disney and filmmaker Ava DuVernay.
Legacy Arts Project for the Extraordinary People Next Door podcast: $5,000 to develop a project plan for launching the podcast created by Jason Orr and Amil Cook, which will highlight the stories of local everyday heroes.
SLB Radio for Long Exposure: $5,000 to support a collective of young Pittsburgh-based street photographers as they develop a full project proposal.
Community Empowerment Association: $3,000 for the Moving the Lives of Kids Community Mural Project to create a public art memorial in the center of Homewood.
The panel of artists and arts and culture professionals who made the selections includes Michael Canton, host/producer of “The Soul Show” on WYEP-FM Pittsburgh; Raymond Ejiofor, a dancer, choreographer and teaching artist based in Los Angeles; Kaisha S. Johnson, founding director of Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA); Faheem Majeed, an artist and resident of the South Shore neighborhood in Chicago; and Eva Wo, a West Philadelphia-based multimedia artist, photographer, curator and organizer.