Pew's Millions for Arts & Culture for Philadelphia: What’s New for 2016?

Over the last couple years, we’ve made a point to cover the huge annual commitment that the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center) has made to local groups in the Philadelphia area. This is always a huge time of year for arts groups around town because of the amount of money from such a prominent name in grantmaking. Here's a quick look.

More Support to Go Around

Last year, the group gave $9.6 million and this year’s total funding topped $10 million. While 49 artists and art groups received the center’s support in 2014, there were 53 grantees in this 2016 batch. Admittedly, these gains aren’t astronomical, but they are showing a slow, steady growth that’s promising for local arts and culture groups.

More Advancement Funding

Notably, the center is now committing more money to advancement grants. This is significant because theyr'e multiyear commitments that designed to support bold initiatives for planning and development in Greater Philadelphia. The center awarded two of these grants in 2014, three in 2015, and five this year.

This year’s advancement grants are going toward implementing new business and program models, conducting market analyses, and research and development for new marketing and distribution strategies. Sample grantees include Opera Philadelphia and the Please Touch Museum.

In Philadelphia and all across the country, we’ve been seeing a big push among funders for capacity building grants to boost the business side of nonprofits. This is a funding area that used to attract minimal attention, but has become a regular part of the standard funding strategy. Arts groups are particularly seeing a lot of this kind of support, lately.

Meanwhile, the center has consistently awarded 12 fellowships each year, and project grants have been between 34 and 36 over the past few years.

A Broad Range of Arts Grantees

This isn’t really a new approach, but the center has a reputation for funding a wide range of groups that can squeeze under the umbrella or local arts and culture. Rather than focus on just one or two types of art, the center is keeping its focus broad and funding music, dance, theater, poetry, sound design, film and interdisciplinary practices.

Related: Pew Center for Arts and Heritage: Grants for Theater

Paula Marincola, the center’s executive director, said in a press release:

The talented artists and dynamic organizations that make up our 2016 grantees will enhance the cultural life of the region with exciting new projects and rich artistic voices. The Center has been privileged to fund work by an extraordinary constituency of practitioners—from major civic institutions, to independent artists and curators, to artist-driven and community-based organizations—for over a decade.

Yet the bulk of the center’s support is still project grants, and many of this year’s project grants fall into these three categories:

  • Projects that use the city as a subject
  • World-premiere performances and commissions
  • Projects that weave community narratives into art

The center isn’t afraid to take a chance on new and upcoming arts groups. In fact, it awarded 11 grants to new recipients in its 2016 grant cycle. Check back on the Center’s Apply page soon for an updated list of deadlines for the 2017 grantmaking year. Deadlines for letters of intent typically fall in November.