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Investing in the Arts: PNC Arts Alive! Gives $1M to Region's Cultural Sector

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance on Thursday released its Cultural Engagement Index (CEI) for 2010. It revealed encouraging news for a sector in need of some as it stares down an ever challenging fiscal landscape: There was an 11 percent increase in cultural engagement since the last survey in 2008, with increases in eight of nine components surveyed.

Not coincidentally, the five-year, $5 million PNC Arts Alive! initiative, which first began funding local arts and cultural programs in 2009, has come forward to reward and challenge Greater Philadelphia's arts and culture community to innovate since the last CEI report.

Last week, the PNC Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Pennsylvania-based financial services corporation, announced $1 million in funding for 26 organizations throughout the region, including South Jersey and Delaware.

Among the nine new recipients in this year's round of funding is the Main Line Art Center, which is preparing for its 75th anniversary of serving artists of all abilities. With $35,000 from PNC Arts Alive!, the Center will produce On the Road With Arts Alive, a year-long project beginning this fall that aims to take art to the streets. The Arts Alive Mobile will be unveiled at a free Family Arts Festival on Sept. 10 and throughout the year, it will make up to three stops per month at schools and community events to engage children in free art activities led by Street Squad Artists.

"We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate 75 years of nurturing artists of all ages, levels and abilities in our community than by bringing art to the public," says Judy Herman, the Main Line Art Center's executive director.

"Cultural institutions in the community are very lucky to have the support of foundations like the PNC Foundation, who recognize the importance of art in the community."

Few institutions have a better feel for the depth, breadth and needs of the region's arts and culture community. Since launching PNC Arts Alive in 2009, PNC's regional HQ here has reviewed nearly 500 applications, awarding 76 grants totaling $3 million.

Last week's announcement came on the heels of $2.7 million in grants to 36 organizations through the Knight Arts Challenge, a three-year, $10 million initiative of the Miami-based Knight Foundation.

Here's a full list of PNC Arts Alive grant recipients:

New Recipients
Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, $27,000
The PNC Arts Alive Open Rehearsal Series will provide students with access to four working rehearsals.

Commonwealth Youthchoirs, $50,000
The grant will fund The Good Raised Up, a sung story recounting an event along the Underground Railroad.

Fleisher Art Memorial, $35,000
ColorWheels is a professionally staffed mobile arts studio that will make stops through Philadelphia.

Main Line Art Center, $35,000
The PNC Mobile Arts studio will travel the county to engage schools and communities in free art activities.

People's Light and Theatre Company, $40,000
PNC Arts Alive Family Discovery Series includes subsidized ticket prices on Family Access Nights.

Perkins Center for the Arts, $35,000
Social Artworking is a social media campaign to expand and diversity the center's audience.

Philadanco, $45,000
PNC Arts Alive Philadelphia Dances will offer 20 free performances by company apprentices.

Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus, $35,000
In honor of its 30th anniversary, PGMC will stage three performances of Meatamorphosis.

Scribe Video Center, $35,000
PNC Arts Alive presents Street Movies!, a series of free outdoor films and discussions in 14 different locations throughout Philly.

Returning Recipients
Appel Farm Arts & Music Center, $45,000
Grant will fund New Roots and Branches, a concert series with subsidized tickets.

Bay-Atlantic Symphony, $40,000
The PNC Arts Alive grant will be in the form of a season-long ticket subsidy, reducing seat prices by more than 30 percent for the classical series.

Fairmount Park Art AssociationFairmount Park Art Association, $40,000
Sculpture Saturdays presented by PNC Arts Alive continue for six consecutive Saturdays in September and October, 2011.

Mann Center for the Performing Arts, $43,000
PNC Arts Alive, Philadelphia ON Parade! is a free family performing arts festival.

Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities, $35,000
PNC Arts Alive will fund audience development for the Cape May Music Festival.

Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe, $50,000
PNC Arts Alive will present the festival and UNTITLED, a new public art piece inspired by Philly's architecture and public spaces.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, $50,000
To provide free passes and transportation for the Special Family Events and Every Family Part programs.

Philadelphia Orchestra, $80,000
PNC Arts Alive supports eZseatU and Sound All Around.

Ritz Theatre Company, $40,000
PNC Arts Alive in the Park: Theatre Under the Stars, provides three free performances of Barnum at Wiggins Park in Camden.

Spiral Q Puppet Theater, $25,000
Spiral Q Puppet Theater will present Punchlines, short performances at 16 busy transit stops.

Taller Puertoriqueno, $30,000
Will bring together performers from Center City and Latino musicians from North Philly.

Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, $35,000
PNC Arts Alive! Family Fun Days will include interactive, family-oriented activities on 25 Sundays and the Festival of Fine Craft.

Returning Service Partners
Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, $40,000
ArtReach, $20,000
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, $50,000
South Jersey Cultural Alliance, $20,000

Open Minds, $20,000

JOE PETRUCCI is managing editor of Flying Kite. Send feedback here.
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