Temple Contemporary launches Velocity Fund to support Philadelphia artists
Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture (Temple University) has announced the creation of The Velocity Fund, an initiative that will directly support visual artists living in the city of Philadelphia with grants of up to $5,000.
Established with the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Velocity Fund is one of 12 Regional Re-granting Programs launched by the foundation to fund “under-the-radar artistic activity” by partnering with leading cultural institutions in cities across the nation where the level of self-organized artistic activity is the highest. The Velocity Fund is the first Warhol Foundation-supported regional re-granting program in Pennsylvania, and only the second on the East Coast between Maine and Florida.
“This is a big deal. With federal arts funding declining, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts recognized a desperate need for artists to support their own practices, and they stepped into the breach,” said Robert Blackson, director of Temple Contemporary. “To do that, they partner with local arts institutions that have access to the surrounding artistic communities—places that are attuned to the needs of their city and its artists. We are honored and grateful to be the Warhol Foundation’s official partner in Philadelphia.”
The Velocity Fund, like all Warhol Foundation-supported regional re-granting programs, was created to reach “informal, non-incorporated artist collectives and to support their alternative gathering spaces, publications, websites, events and other projects.” By choosing Philadelphia, the foundation recognized the city’s role as one of nation’s fastest-growing and most influential centers of on-the-ground artistic activity.
Applications for the first annual round of Velocity Fund grants are available for Philadelphia artists starting today, March 15, 2018, at velocityfund.org. Applications are due by June 1, 2018. A national panel will be convened to assess the applications, and the first round of grants will be awarded on Sept. 1, 2018.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome The Velocity Fund into to the Warhol Foundation’s Regional Re-granting Program, which supports experimental, artist-organized public projects in communities across the country,” said Rachel Bers, director of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. “Rob Blackson and his team at Temple Contemporary have crafted a program that reflects the foundation’s interest in fostering the creative ambitions of a wide variety of artists who operate outside of traditional formats and venues. We look forward to seeing the range of projects that The Velocity Fund will enable Philadelphia artists to produce.”
Blackson stressed that any professional, non-student visual artists living and working in Philadelphia seeking to create any type of project with a public outcome—including websites, books, performances, screenings and more—are eligible to apply “We especially encourage applicants to apply collaboratively,” he said.
Susan E. Cahan, dean of the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, acknowledged Temple Contemporary’s special role as an urban connector in the visual arts.
“Temple Contemporary is a commons where Tyler meets the city of Philadelphia,” she said. “What makes Temple Contemporary sing is its dynamic director, Robert Blackson, and his ground-up model of programming. Instead of sitting in his office and deciding what subjects Temple Contemporary should tackle, Rob is always engaged with the city and its diverse communities. I’m delighted that the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts recognized Temple Contemporary’s unique role in Philadelphia’s dynamic artistic life.”