Home > Heinz Endowments’ Just Arts initiative envisions more inclusive art future

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Heinz Endowments’ Just Arts initiative 
envisions more inclusive art future 
Program will distribute $500,000 in grants to artists, communities,  organizations over next 24 months


The Heinz Endowments today announced the launch of Just Arts, a grantmaking initiative that will support artists, organizations and communities who harness the power of the arts to respond to social issues affecting the Pittsburgh region and beyond. Rooted in the foundation’s aspirational vision for a Just Pittsburgh, the initiative is designed to foster the development of a more inclusively imagined future through art with $500,000 in grants over the next 24 months.


Grant amounts will vary based on each project’s proposed scope, and will range from $1,000 to $150,000 each. Funding will be awarded for projects that create artistic work and cultural programming in response to critical social challenges and instances of injustice in the Pittsburgh region, contribute to individual and community well-being, and envision solutions.


Artist and community partnerships will be a primary driver for the initiative, with funding priority given to projects that include significant input from communities, neighborhoods, and residents most directly affected by injustice. Projects initiated by youth or that center on youth voices are encouraged.


The application process for the program’s inaugural round of grants is now underway. Informational sessions for interested artists and organizations will be held at noon throughout July at the Hill District (July 9), Hazelwood (July 19) and Homewood (July 26) Carnegie Libraries. Just Arts Letter of Inquiry deadline is Aug. 1, with those awarded grants notified by Nov. 30.


“The idea behind Just Arts is to amplify the power of artists to bring hidden stories and truths to light in our community,” said Endowments President Grant Oliphant. “There is spectacular potential at the intersection of art and social justice, for both artists and the community dialogues their creations spark.” 


In addition to providing a platform for critical discourse and fostering community/artist partnerships, Just Arts projects will include the application of rigorous aesthetic standards and attention to cultural integrity.


The Just Arts initiative was created over an 18-month period with input from an advisory panel consisting of nearly two dozen community leaders with strong connections to the regional art community.


The Just Arts initiative is the result of a natural progression in the Endowments’ history of supporting art that engages communities around challenging topics. Examples of recent Endowments-supported artists and projects that embody the essence of Just Arts include Brian Cohen’s “Out of Many: Stories of Migration,” a photography exhibit that illuminates the immigrant experience in Pittsburgh; Tammy Thompson’s “We Wear the Mask” documentary, which provides accounts of Pittsburgh poverty; and Alisha Wormsley’s “The Well: River Roots” community art project, which explored the lived experience of the Larimer neighborhood.


For more information on Just Arts program guidelines, letter of inquiry process, full list of advisory panel participants, and dates for public information sessions and application deadlines, visit http://www.heinz.org/strategic-areas/creativity/just-arts.

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