The Heinz Endowments has announced the first cohort of grant recipients for its new Just Arts program, an initiative that supports artists, organizations and communities who use the arts “to respond to social issues affecting the Pittsburgh region and beyond,” according to a press release.
Six projects will receive grants totaling $434,750.
Jewish Family and Community Services will receive $30,250 for its project “Something Old, Something New.” Led by artist Blaine Siegel, the project matches five recently arrived refugee families from the Democratic Republic of the Congo with five local Pittsburgh artists or artisans to create artwork for the refugees’ homes.
Another project, “Visualizing Inequality,” led by Brian Cohen, a photographer and member of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, will receive $50,000. That Hazelwood-based project, under the auspices of Pittsburgh Filmmakers, will explore the “structural origins and experiences of inequality in American society, and encourage empathetic engagement” through photography and community storytelling.
“Just Arts builds on a rich tradition of truth-telling in the creative community,” said Endowments President Grant Oliphant in a statement. “The projects chosen for this inaugural Just Arts cohort will represent underheard voices, spark discussion, and propose solutions to social justice challenges in our region and beyond. We’re grateful to both the artists and their partner organizations for the energy they bring to tackling these issues, and excited to see their creativity unfurl as these projects come to life.” pjc