Grantees Using the Arts to Promote Social Justice
Begun as an economic revitalization project of the Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation in 1991, TRCF funds were used to help ArtWorks repair the interior ceiling of its space, after a harsh winter resulted in its collapse. ArtWorks provides arts education for the high-poverty and unemployment area of Brownsville, in Fayette County.
Greene County Arts Council, 1995
Greene County at-risk children were sponsored to attend the Greene County Arts Council Summer Arts Kids Kamp. Scholarships and busing were provided for youth who would have been excluded because of poor socio-economic conditions and driving distance.
Peace Postures for Children, 1997
With the help of TRCF’s Carol Sharon Endowment, Peace Postures for Children taught a curriculum at East Hills School that integrates themes of self-identity, community, conflict resolution, peace-making and heroism with structured arts learning. Second- and third-graders created their own peaceful world through hands-on artistic exploration, culminating in a performance art production.
Saint Peter’s Church After School Music Program, 1992
The program primarily for African American youth, 9 to 11 years old, uses a music therapy process to promote peaceful conflict resolution and to provide children with positive “experience in structure, self-organization and relating to others.” TRCF helped with the purchase of musical instruments.
Youth Arts and Advocacy Project (Arts Challenge Against Racism), 1998
TRCF funds were used to bring together community activists, experienced and socially-concerned artists, and young artists in a series of interactive workshops realizing the powerful connection between advocacy and art and activism. Young artists will work with established artists who have brought their artistic vision to bear on crucial social issues. The goal of the workshops is to develop creative ways of addressing contemporary issues.
Mary Miller Dance Company, 1999
TRCF funds helped to subsidize free tickets to “Peace 2001, A Journey into the Millennium, Year Four: Education,” addressing the lack of education as a barrier to achieving a peaceful world. Tickets were distributed through peace and progressive organizations sponsoring the project.
Srishti Arts Collective, 2000
A TRCF Special Opportunity Grant helped to produce and perform a major dance-theater work, “Chitrangada,” based on an Indian story about gender roles, desire, honor and duty.
Harambee, Pittsburgh, 1991
This Black Arts Festival, held annually in Homewood, Pa., since 1984, is the largest such festival in the tri-state area. TRCF funded a mural art project to involve students and artists in the community.
Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival, 2009
The Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival’s mission is to highlight the Asian cultures in the Pittsburgh region and to promote intellectual understanding between the East and the West in a fun way. They used Special Opportunity Grant funds to help with costs associated with moving the festival from September to May, to correspond with Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
Community Media, 2001
TRCF funds were used to help with the production costs of the video documentary “Jonny Gammage: Enough is ENOUGH.” The video addresses issues of police brutality and racial profiling as well as the community-based efforts to resolve conflicts between the criminal justice system and minority and marginal communities.
Council of American Islamic Relations – Pittsburgh, 2008
Media Justice Initiative funds went to implementing a comprehensive program encompassing workshops on racial and ethnic phobias in America and the constitutional rights of both media and citizens; a toolkit to enable responses to media attacks; and the production of a DVD and study guide by Muslim youth to be used in educational facilities.
Enough IS ENOUGH Project, Thomas Merton Center, 2006
The video documentary, “Enough IS ENOUGH: The Death of Jonny Gammage,” uses as its framework the incident in which Gammage was killed during a “routine” traffic stop. It examines issues of racial profiling, police misuse of force, and criminal justice, and offers examples of grassroots activism and constructive solutions. TRCF funding was used to help distribute the video, including submitting it to film festivals and planning local screenings.
In Sisterhood: The Women’s Movement in Pittsburgh, 2009
In Sisterhood recorded 20 stories on video, in addition to collecting photos and memorabilia, of activists, primarily lesbians, about their involvement in advancing women’s rights in the Pittsburgh region.
Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, 2010
The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, working in conjunction with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, used a TRCF grant to develop a youth-led community project of creating a 15-minute video. This video aimed at conquering the social biases surrounding Muslim Americans, and creating positive self-images for Muslim youth.
Palestine Solidarity Committee, 2005
This organization used TRCF funds to host a Palestinian Film Festival featuring documentaries, shorts, and films giving the Palestinian story, all followed by facilitated discussions.
Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, 2004
The PILGFF provides a cultural event in the tri-state region designed to support LGBT artists and a needed cultural outlet for the LGBT community. TRCF funds were used to cover the expenses for the Festival’s youth program, Reel Queer (RQ), which introduces youth to cinema arts in a safe drug- and alcohol-free environment. (This group is now known as the Pittsburgh Lesbian & Gay Film Society.)
Rights and Responsibilities, 2005
TRCF supported Part II of this organization’s Africana Human Rights Film Project, which entailed presenting the film “All Power to the People: The Black Panther Party and Beyond,” bringing the photo exhibit “Black Panthers 1968” for a two-month run, and presenting speakers.
Afterschool Music Program at the North Side YMCA, 1997
The program focuses on music as an educational, aesthetic and emotional experience for at-risk children in an atmosphere of nonviolence. Through composing, performing, conducting, listening, enjoying, sharing and reacting to music, students can go beyond the mechanics of music and use it as a means of creating, exploring and achieving.
Conroy Music Association (CMA), 1998
CMA is dedicated to promoting cultural awareness and community building for people with mental retardation. In 1998, mentally challenged choral students traveled to and participated in an interactive theatrical performance of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Cross Current, 1999
TRCF helped to subsidize free performances by Cross Current at strikes, rallies and/or benefits of other social and economic justice organizations.
Renaissance City Choirs/Pittsburgh Gay Chorus, Inc., 2006
Working collaboratively with African American artists and community leaders, the choirs will explore African traditions in music and present them to a broader community while working to build bridges with the Pittsburgh black gay and lesbian community. Funding has also gone specifically to the Women’s Choir to bring their message (gays and lesbians creating change through the power of music) to a broader geographic audience by performing in several smaller cities in southwestern Pennsylvania, and to a special performance to commemorate the crash site of Flight 93 in a September 11th, 2006, ceremony.
Rock Against Racism, 2002
A project of the Thomas Merton Center, the Rock Against Racism is an annual concert that promotes racial reconciliation in Pittsburgh.
Good Little Girls Zine, 2002
TRCF provided funds for production costs to the independent women’s- and gender-issues magazine.
Woodland Hills Academic Foundation, 2002
Woodland Hills School District was formed by a court order in 1981 to address issues of segregation in Pittsburgh’s east suburbs. TRCF funds were used to publish a special retrospective magazine to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the District.
Chatham Baroque (Pittsburgh Early Music Ensemble), 1996
Designed to teach children that conflict is normal and that there are ways to solve it, Chatham Baroque presents its conflict resolution program, interPLAY!, in local elementary schools. The program is a drama in which four musicians, who must cooperate in order to make music, are beset with conflicts related to prejudice and inconsiderate behavior. The students help the musicians define and overcome their problems in order to prepare for a concert.
Dreams of Hope, 2009
Dreams of Hope is the first lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and allies youth performing arts group. All performance material is taken from the youth’s life experiences and are written and performed by the youth. Each show is followed by a candid question and answer period with the audience.
Human Rights Coalition, Fed Up! Chapter, 2008
Funds helped stage a showing of Hurricane Season, a multi-media arts production of Climbing PoeTree, exploring critical issues facing humanity during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
I Dream A World: African American History through Poetry, 1992
Launched in March 1991, I Dream a World raises cultural awareness of low-income, African American youth through poetry performance and creative expression workshops on African American history.
Industrial Workers of the World, IU 450, 2001
TRCF provided funding for the construction of street puppets to be used in demonstrations on various issues, such as segregation, education, and sweatshops.
K’vetsh Pittsburgh, 2004
K’vetsh used TRCF funds to cover the expenses for their monthly “all-queer, all-gender open mic cabaret” at Modern Formations Gallery in Garfield. The cabaret consists of two queer-identified artists who perform through music, video, visual art, performance art, and writing, in addition to audience participation.
Pennsylvania Peace Links, 1995
Using middle and high school students as puppeteers, Pennsylvania Peace Links brought the message of conflict resolution to area pre-school and elementary schools. The puppet show was based on “The Tree House,” a donated story written by Lois Lowry.
Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, 2010
By partnering with the Clarence Darrow Foundation, PADP used a TRCF grant to bring a unique and inspirational theater and education project to the Pittsburgh Community. The play integrated arts with community organizing to help attract, education, and recruit new members to the anti-death penalty movement.
Pittsburgh American Indian Center (PAIC), 1994
PAIC is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the Native American and to helping all people discover their great heritage. With a TRCF grant, PAIC sponsored a communal cultural event for native and non-native people featuring native dance, folklore, spiritual awareness, native foods and speakers on the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.
Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, 2005
The Pittsburgh Pride Theater Festival showcased locally written and produced one-act plays with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender themes. It drew gay and straight participants, across races, in the local theater community, and coincided with PrideFest. They have NOT requested funding for their annual Theatre Festival in Black & White, which features Black directors doing plays written by white playwrights, and vice versa.
Rainbow Rising, 2008
Working with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Smithton, Rainbow Rising provides a bi-monthly Coffee House for the LGBT community, consisting of entertainment and a forum for discussion. Their 2008 grant went towards marketing efforts to build community awareness of their programs.
The Andy Warhol Museum, 2001
The Warhol presented the exhibit “Without Sanctuary: An Exhibition of Lynching Photography in the United States” from September 2001 – January 2002. TRCF funds supported Free Tuesdays, waiving admission fees to the exhibit.
Black & White Reunion, 2000
This racially diverse group builds bridges between black and white citizens and communities in Western Pennsylvania, bringing together organizations and individuals currently working to counter racism in an ongoing process of collaboration. They have NOT received funding for their Murals Project, which had children who attended community centers in low-income areas create murals depicting their visions of peace.
Book ‘Em, 2009
This group provides special-request books for prisoners, and, with TRCF’s support, produced and published educational booklets for prisoners in Pennsylvania dealing with law, how to start your own business, and how to write grants. In 2009, they used a grant to update their Pennsylvania Action Directory, a 55-page booklet of resources for prisoners and ex-offenders. They have NOT requested funding for their creation of a life-sized prison cell, decorated with the letters they have received for prisoners, which is available for exhibit anywhere.
Consumer Health Coalition, 2010
In 2009, the CHC instituted the program “Living Together is an Art,” to foster empowerment and learning for people with disabilities, as well as to advance public dialogue via the arts about disability rights. In 2010, they received funding to host a cross-disability conference, with sessions on health, advocacy, employment, transitions, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, Pittsburgh, 2010
GLSEN develops and purchases educational materials for workshops that make schools safe and inclusive environments for all students. Both teachers and students go to their workshops, where they learn about the negative effects of stereotyping, bullying, and name-calling. GLSEN also is implementing the “Safe and Respectful Schools Project,” which will be a series of region-wide programs that prevent discrimination, harassment, and violence against children perceived to be different by their peers. In 2009, GLSEN held the first Unified for Youth (U4Y) Conference, a weekend-long event consisting of workshops and discussions on LGBT issues, supported by a TRCF Special Opportunity Grant. It was so successful that, in 2010, they received a TRCF annual grant to expand the U4Y Conference. Part of the U4Y Conference was the creation of a peace quilt, decorated by the participants.
Latin American Cultural Union, 1999
Local Hispanic youth explored their cultural identity through the building of a “retablo.” Those involved in the project planned, designed and implemented the content and shape of the retablo around the theme Past, Present & Future: Journey of Hispanics in Pittsburgh. (A retablo is a devotional painting.)
Museum of the Quest for Social Justice, 1997
To publicize the history of the struggle for social justice, the museum is developing a traveling exhibit. “The Quest for Social Justice: Struggles to Achieve the American Value of Liberty and Justice for All” consists of 29 panels depicting landmark events of social justice throughout the 20th century.
Partnership for Minority HIV/AIDS Prevention, 2002
The partnership is a “member organization that provides comprehensive, culturally based HIV/AIDS prevention and education services in eight predominantly African-American communities in the city of Pittsburgh.”
Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition, 2006
PDEC brought in Capt. Brian Steidle with a TRCF Special Opportunity Grant, so he could speak at the University of Pittsburgh on the atrocities he witnessed while in Darfur, Sudan. He also was available to meet with student leaders of Darfur coalitions started at many local high schools, to discuss what more students could do to help stop the genocide. They have NOT requested funding for their arts-related projects: Tents of Hope, and the Destroyed Villages Project & Exhibit.)
Steel Valley Arts Council, 2003
TRCF provided funding to create a mural in Homestead using leftover tiles from the Three Rivers Arts Festival. The tiles were painted by community members and visitors, and then were installed along the Ann Street side of 301 East 8th Avenue.
Artists Upstairs, 2008
Collaborating with a variety of other organizations, Artists Upstairs (ArtUp) brought a poster and art exhibit about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Pittsburgh. In addition to the exhibition, they included workshops, performances, speakers, and activities (including teaching origami) at the Children’s Museum.
Azania Heritage International, 2002
AHI uses the creative and performing arts, language, history, and education to empower activists for victory over dehumanization and marginalization based on racial, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic, cultural, and religious or non-religious background.
East Liberty Arts Council, 2002
TRCF funds were used to create the East Liberty ArtPark, a place where children can develop their imaginations, in a misused piece of city land.
Finding Out: Creative Arts Empowerment for Women Offenders, 1997
This project encouraged female offenders to explore and share their personal life stories through performance art and written journals that were used as tools for problem solving and life planning.
Green Millennium Children’s Garden, 2003
Begun in 1999, the GMCG is a place for children from primarily economically disadvantaged families to put their energy to work. The garden provides a green space for youth to connect with the earth through gardening, and learn about ecology, nutrition, and art.
HEArt-Human Equity Through Art, 1997
HEArt promotes the role of artists as human rights activists, encourages artistic expressions that address racial, gender, sexual and other forms of discrimination, and seeks public recognition of the relevance of art as a vehicle for social reform. The group also publishes HEArt Quarterly, a journal of literature, visual arts and reviews.
Marilyn G. Rabb (MGR) Foundation, 2009
The MGR Foundation used its funds to hold a city-wide Peace Rally, bringing together students, working with artists of varying media, to express their thoughts, feelings, and visions about violence. This project encouraged students to be activists for change and agents of peace.
Mon Valley Media, Inc., 2005
TRCF funds were most recently used to produce an hour-long documentary entitled “Death Watch,” about innocent people serving time on death row in Pennsylvania. Other TRCF-funded projects: Free Speech Denied (art exhibit – 2003); Cave vs. Cure: Healing the Landscape (multi-media art exhibit – 2002); Memories of a Forgotten War (film screening – 2001); Unbound Ground (environmental/community art exhibit – 2001).
Women’s Work, 1998
Women’s Work Gallery offers a place for women to share with each other the realities of their lives through their art and writing. TRCF funded a website for the gallery to continue its work in cyber space after funding difficulties forced them to leave rented space.