CONTACT: Barbara Silzle, Executive Director
215-686-2186 or


Philadelphia, PA–June 23, 2016– The Philadelphia Cultural Fund proudly announces the 2016 Youth Arts Enrichment Grant recipients. The Youth Arts Enrichment Grant Program supports specific programming that uses the arts to enrich the lives of Philadelphia’s young people both in and out of school.

Grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000, totaling $230,000, were awarded to:

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture
Arden Theatre Company
COSACOSA art at large, Inc.
Enchantment Theatre Company
Lantern Theater Company
Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
Settlement Music School
Spiral Q Puppet Theater
Theatre Exile
University City Arts League
Wagner Free Institute of Science

“Congratulations to the Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s 2016 Youth Arts Enrichment Grantees”, said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Through this program, thousands of our youth, many living in the most challenged areas of the City, will be provided with high level instruction, training and access to the arts by some of the City’s most extraordinary arts organizations. These grants speak to the City’s priority to increase opportunities for our young people, and are a direct investment in Philadelphia’s future.”

To qualify for a 2016 Youth Arts Enrichment (YAE) grant, the group had to qualify for and receive a 2016 Art and Culture Grant from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. YAE grants provide project support for programs that occur between July 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017 and will deliver high quality arts instruction, training, and participatory experiences to young people (aged 5 to 18) who are least likely to access cultural enrichment through other avenues. This includes programming in Philadelphia’s most underserved, impoverished communities.

“The arts not only enrich the lives of young Philadelphians, but it helps prepare them for a better, brighter future,” said Executive Director Barbara Silzle. “Students with access to the arts – inside or outside of classrooms – do better academically, aim higher in their career goals, and become more civically involved. These outstanding art programs provide that access.”

A complete list of the grants and the funded programs can be found below.

Established in 1991 to support and enhance the cultural life and vitality of the City of Philadelphia and its residents, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, through the combined efforts of the Philadelphia City Council and the Mayor, promotes arts and culture as engines of social, educational and economic development and has played a key stabilizing role for numerous organizations by providing much-needed general operating funding.


Philadelphia Cultural Fund

2016 Youth Arts Enrichment Grants and descriptions of funded programs

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture — $15,000
Tabadul: Cross-Cultural Exchange Through the Arts at North East High School

Tabadul provides North East High School’s (NEHS) English Speakers of Other Languages the development of artistic tools to tell their own stories. Through the blending of poetry/spoken word, percussion, visual arts/media, music and technology instruction students engage their parents, guardians and teachers in conversations and reflections of identity, cross cultural differences, and notions of place and community. The project culminates with a series of large scale artworks lead by Wendy Ewald, renowned photographer and educator, reflective of the NEHS community installed in several neighborhoods across the City taking the art of the school’s community beyond Northeast Philadelphia.

Arden Theatre Company — $20,000
Arden for All

An in-school arts education program; Arden for All (AFA) is based on the belief that arts-inspired education should be equally available to children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. AFA is designed to encourage literacy, inspire creativity and confidence, allowing students to discover their unique strengths and abilities. The program serves students from 3rd through 5th grade in economically disadvantaged schools in the Greater Philadelphia area. For the 2016/2017 season AFA will distribute 4,170 free tickets to Arden Children’s Theatre productions; distribute 3,600 free copies of show-related core curriculum based books to AFA students; spend 1,224 hours in 68 elementary classrooms in 14 schools and pay for 91 buses to and from the theatre for AFA students.

BalletX — $10,000
Dance eXchange

Dance eXchange, inspired by National Dance Institute (NDI) methodology, uses live music and structured creative learning to teach nearly 200 3rd and 4th grade students at the Andrew Jackson, Chester A. Arthur and Albert M. Greenfield schools. Teaching artists work to develop students’ basic vocabulary of dance, appreciation for listening and dancing to live accompaniment with the goal of achieving a standard of excellence from all participants. NDI pedagogy uses dance as a means towards personal growth skills like self-confidence, teamwork, focus, determination and self-empowerment. Dance eXchange students not only learn to work together, developing critical thinking and collaborative skills, but also come to recognize personal standards of excellence and the value of healthy living.

COSACOSA art at large, Inc. — $20,000
Connection Studios

Connection Studios is a youth development initiative using arts and multimedia technology to engage young people in hands-on art making experiences through direct collaboration with professional artists in weekly workshops held at neighborhood schools and community centers. Connection Studios unites young people in exploring issues facing city youth (e.g. violence, substance abuse, relationships, and peer pressure) and examining viable alternatives through story-telling, design, and studio art while building literacy, leadership, and collaborative planning skills. Artworks resulting from the program will remain on permanent display in public spaces (e.g. city parks, neighborhood healthcare facilities, community centers and schools) and/or are made available to audiences online (for sound art and media projects, which are also distributed to local communities on CD/DVD). The projects will be presented and discussed with the community at large via youth-lead town hall meetings, exhibitions and performances at partner sites.

Enchantment Theatre Company — $10,000
Enchantment’s Artists-in-Residency programs

The life-changing moments that Enchantment Theater Company (ETC) makes possible are born from the belief that creativity is the key to engaging and inspiring young people. Over the course of the academic school year ETC will hold residencies spanning from 10 to 21 weeks at: Amedee F. Bregy, G.W. Childs, William H. Hunter, Henry W. Lawton, and Southwark elementary schools including a 21 week residency at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, all free of charge. Using the methodology of Experience, Study, Create, Refine and Present ETC’s residency programs work with students and their teachers to see high quality performance as an achievable and realistic expectation supplemented through the instruction of mindfulness, narrative creation, creative risk-taking, collaboration, behavioral management, conflict resolution, and the shared goal of performance. Child by child, ETC’s residencies prove that the arts are the most powerful tool for closing the achievement gap by igniting curiosity, developing character and creating pathways to success and excellence giving classroom teachers a transformational set of creative approaches, tools and resources to engage their students and address Common Core standards through the arts.

Lantern Theater Company — $20,000

Through continuing partnerships with local teachers at Parkway Center City High School, the Academy at Palumbo, WB Saul High School for Agricultural Sciences, and Young Scholars Kenderton Charter School CLASSROOM CONNECTIONS provides multiple units of in-school residencies, creating customized curriculums with lessons designed to build students’ creative expression, self-confidence, and comprehension of assigned material and vocabulary. Students work with experienced teaching artists, many of whom are established actors and directors, to use dramatic techniques that clarify characters and bring stories to life while helping students make connections between the thematic elements of older literary works and their own lives in the 21st century. Over the 2016/2017 school year, CLASSROOM CONNECTIONS will serve approximately 1,000 students grades 8 through 12 using the literary works of William Shakespeare, Sherman Alexi, Harper Lee and August Wilson.

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center — $20,000
Teen Photo

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC) is founded on the concept that the arts should be for everyone and offers all students in the Teen Photo after school program full access to its gallery, lab, and educational resources. Teen Photo will engage 80-100 Philadelphia public high school students for 9 months of the school year. The program acts as an art-education safety net for its students who desire access to a creative, exploratory learning experience. The program fills a void through technical skill instruction, open, self-directed study—an important skill for developing higher learning—creative problem solving skills and a network of friends and professional contacts. At the end of the program students walk away with a college-level skill set and a portfolio of printed images for use in their academic or professional lives. In May, 2017, students will hold a self designed and implemented exhibition/reception inviting their friends, families, and teachers. Hundreds of community members are anticipated to attend.

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra — $20,000
Tune Up Philly Expansion

The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s vision is that through music—by tracking and supporting the journey of the student throughout—children living in poverty and in challenging neighborhoods can attain high levels of success and, thus, break through cycles of poverty: on behalf of themselves, their families, and whole communities. Tune Up Philly (TUP) students meet 2-3 times per week for intensive orchestral and small group training in addition to required Saturday rehearsals and concert/performance opportunities within their local communities and the City. Instruction totals over 290 hours per student. Participation also includes admission to Philadelphia Orchestra, other PYO ensemble concerts, POPS concerts, access to art museums and more, all free of charge to TUP families and students. Veteran TUP students across all grades have achieved Proficient or Advanced PSSA scores, with 100% of TUP 8th graders matriculating into competitive magnet and charter schools since 2010. High school veterans of the program upon graduation have placed into Ivy League schools, renowned conservatories, and accredited higher education institutions.

Settlement Music School — $20,000
Music Education Pathways

The Music Education Pathways (MEP) is an intensive, after-school music program offered at Hardy Williams Elementary, Francis D. Pastorius Elementary Mastery Charter, Thomas Holme Elementary, and Franklin Learning Center (high school). The MEP structure partners each school with one of Settlement’s nearby branches so that students at each school receive afterschool ensemble training experiences several days a week from Settlement faculty. Partnership with the specific branch provides each school a designated neighborhood center for students and teachers to reach out for supplemental resources, such as individual and group lessons, live performances, loaned instruments, music, Settlement faculty, even chairs for rehearsals. Primary goals of MEP are that students receive the highest quality music instruction and develop life skills that support academic and socio-emotional learning; cultivation of “grit” and “persistence,” skills that support tenacity in learning. Key results include that students learn about and practice clear and intense listening, work together toward a common goal, gain the ability to self-correct and the maturity to listen to and incorporate instruction and criticism, and communicate with and rely on one another. For the 2016/2017 school year the program will serve 215 children with 130 hours of music study/training and up to 4 opportunities to perform at their schools, their partner Settlement Branch, and an annual concert with students from all participating schools.

Spiral Q Puppet Theater — $20,000
SPARQ (In Schools West) at Blankenburg Elementary School

SPARQ (in Schools West) is Spiral Q’s in-school arts education program that serves 3 to 5 neighborhood school partners each year in the federally-designated “Mantua Promise Zone” in West Philadelphia. SPARQ (in Schools West) – Blankenburg places Spiral Q in residence at Rudolph Blankenburg Elementary School for the entire school year. Spiral Q’s artist ensemble works in residence throughout the year connecting students in kindergarten through 8th grades and teachers in the school in shared inquiry through a school-wide arts education project. Students in kindergarten through 3rd grade are introduced to the building blocks of artistic production and the use of art as a vehicle for collective and participatory expression. Students in grades 4 through 8 engage in deep discourse around their vision for strong and healthy communities and conceptualize and create collaborative works of art that reflect their collective visions. SPARQ (in Schools West) culminates in a 1.5 mile parade with all 4th through 8th grade students that weaves its way through the Blankenburg neighborhood where many school alumni live.

Theatre Exile — $15,000
Paper Wings

Paper Wings supports young, underserved artists by providing them with the proper resources and initiatives to explore their creativity. Paper Wings began as a bilingual program with the primarily Latino students at Norris Square Neighborhood Project (NSNP) as an after-school program. The success of Paper Wings at NSNP lead to the expansion of the program into two neighborhood schools, Andrew Jackson Elementary School and South Philadelphia High School, both located in Theatre Exile’s South Philadelphia neighborhood. The underlying philosophy of this program is helping artists find their own voices, and teaching them how to make their written words soar, while discovering that theatre can be used as a catalyst for change within their community. The work of the students culminates in individual monologues and a play that they write together. The monologues and plays are performed by the students and are seen by audiences made up of their families, fellow students and members of the community. Additionally, the performances take place at Studio X, as a two-day Monologue Festival, allowing for greater production values.

University City Arts League — $20,000
University City Arts League Art in Schools 2016-2017

The primary goal for the University City Arts League’s (UCAL) Art in Schools program is to address the disparity of educational opportunities available to under-served children in UCAL’s West Philadelphia neighborhood by providing quality school arts classes. For the 2016-2017 school year, UCAL will provide free/reduced cost, multi-week, in-school and after school arts classes to: Samuel Powel School (grades K-4); the Henry C. Lea School (grades K-4, 8); Benjamin Comegys Elementary School (grades K-5); and the Science and Leadership Academy Middle School (grade 5) set to open September 2016. The classes are technical instruction in creating art works: pottery, 2-D arts (drawing/painting), and dance. All are aligned with the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards and each class is aimed to support grades not currently participating in special enrichment clubs. Art in Schools 2016-2017 will engage 590 kindergarten through 5th grade students, totaling 270 teaching hours improving at least 80% of students’ skills in craftsmanship, articulation of vision, self-discipline, problem-solving, task follow-through and team work; improving program scope and content to better serve program constituencies.

Wagner Free Institute of Science — $20,000
SNAP: Science, Nature and Art in Philadelphia

The Wagner Free Institute began SNAP in 2013 as GeoKids—an intensive, hands-on science program for 1st to 5th graders with a proven track record of increasing academic achievement and engagement in learning. SNAP was initially designed to extend the GeoKids experience to middle-school students with the goals of making a measurable impact on learning; building students’ self-confidence; and empowering them to find their creative voices. This expansion of SNAP adds the goals of building scientific literacy and knowledge; increasing familiarity with scientists/science careers; and improving students’ attitudes towards school. The new SNAP curriculum will be designed and taught by Wagner Artist-Scientist-in-Residence Martha Knox, a sculptor and printmaker whose art practice engages with the natural sciences. Lessons will combine science experiments with art projects to engage students at three public elementary schools in the Wagner’s North Philadelphia neighborhood: General Philip Kearny School; Robert Morris School; and General George Meade School. Each phase of SNAP will culminate in the creation of an artwork—a sculpture, scientific illustration, wood block print—enabling creative discovery that will inspire students to be lifelong learners. SNAP to serve 450-540 students with a seven-week unit of weekly, one-hour lessons. 450 hours of SNAP will be offered at each school for a total of 1,260 hours of engagement.

Previous Releases from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund

Philadelphia Cultural Fund 2016 Youth Arts Enrichment Recipients, June 23, 2016

Philadelphia Cultural Fund 2016 Art & Culture Recipients, April 20, 2016

Philadelphia Cultural Fund Announces Barbara Silzle as new Executive Director, July 27, 2015