Articles by

Victoria Rogers

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    Above: The company of The Wilma Theater participates in a combat workshop taught by Ian Rose. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev. Today,  I’m excited to celebrate our latest Philadelphia arts grantees – 22 groups receiving $1.48 million. Each of these organizations represents the artistic excellence and audience engagement that Knight is committed to advancing. Our arts program has a two-pronged strategy: We fund large institutions – the ones that provide programming to thousands of people every day – to help them open up and engage their audiences in new ways. And we look to the grassroots too, seeking out the smaller organizations known for being nimble and innovative. In this group you’ll see a mix of both, and I’d like to spend a moment on a few of them. The City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program, for example, is not just bringing 14 of the country’s top contemporary artists to town for a massive public art project this summer. The program is ensuring the community is a part of the artistic process and shaping the work. Artist Sam Durant, for example, is creating a large-scale, chain link maze to be placed near City Hall, a highly-visible work on the theme of the U.S. criminal justice system. He’s inviting the public to hang their own theme-related personal items on it as well. The Curtis Institute of Music, meanwhile, is expanding the successful pilot of its ArtistYear program, which puts Curtis graduates in schools to not just teach but to become citizen artists. Artistic excellence is a given for musicians today. But they also need to communicate and engage with people off the stage to become part of the fabric of their communities – which this year of service does. You can read more about one of the ArtistYear’s beta -year experiences on our blog. And then we’re thrilled to see smaller organizations stretch and push the boundaries of their work. I think of organizations like BalletX, which is celebrating 10 years with a retrospective of their commissions and a new work; the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, a young group now working on a large-scale collaboration with Opera Philadelphia on the legacy of Andy Warhol; and Fresh Artists and Play On, Philly!, which are fostering a new generation of artists and creatives.