The Velocity Fund has launched its annual open call to provide grants for community-focused projects produced by Philadelphia artists and collectives.

Artists can apply online through June 6. No fee is required to submit a proposal. The projects should be experimental in nature and emphasize collaboration.

Philadelphia Contemporary, an arts organization that presents visual art, performance art, and spoken word across the city, administers the fund.

Since 2018, the fund has supported 52 projects with grants of up to $5,000 paid directly to the artists. The work has ranged in diversity, media format, outcome, and impact.

One of the program’s 2021 recipients, artist César Viveros, took a step back last year. He wasn’t painting a mural or creating a sculpture this time, as usual. He thought about his upbringing, about the ways his elders faced adversity in Mexico. He applied for a grant to create a communal space for storytelling and belonging at North Philly’s Iglesias Gardens.

With his grant, he developed three cultural workshops last summer called “From the soil to the table.” At least 600 students, community leaders, and residents from around the region participated in the gatherings to tell stories and create memories around harvesting and the preparing of food based on oral history and Indigenous ancestral wisdom.

“We made tamales and the enchilada sauce with tomatoes, chiles, and corn we picked from the garden’s crops,” Viveros explained. “We planted seeds together, cooked lamb and pork together and we ate together at a moment when the pandemic was soaring in people’s minds.”

Wi-Moto Nyoka, who created Dusky Projects, hired eight arts and sound professionals, including an engineer and a theater director, to improve the second season production of Black Women are Scary, a horror podcast that dramatizes short radio performances and scripts written by BIPOC creators.

Nyoka said the $5,000 grant, networking sessions, and support given for live events has brought her closer to other media makers and artists in the city, in addition to providing creators of color with a way to expand their work in these genres.

On April 16, artist Maria Dumlao opens a multimedia art exhibit at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education along with grassroots collective Bahay215, a grassroots collective that “occupies land that is part of the territory of the Lenni-Lenape.”

Through pot lucks, trail walks, and the gallery exhibit, the group will offer global conversations through the Filipino American experience about the plants we eat, their roots in colonialism, why food creates a sense of belonging, and how our practices lead to conversations about solutions to climate change. The project runs through Aug. 6.

Velocity Fund was established with financing from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, whose regional grants support vibrant “under-the-radar” artistic activity by partnering with local cultural institutions.

This year, Velocity Fund is hosting a series of free info sessions, both hybrid and in-person, where artists and groups can learn more about the initiative, the application process and projects that past grantees have developed. You can register online or walk-in. Here are the details for the following events:

April 2022

The TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image and Icebox Project Space will host an in-person event at the Crane Arts Building (1400 N. American Street) on Friday, April 22, at 4 p.m.

The Velocity Fund will host an online joint session with The Leeway Foundation on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.

The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation will host an in-person event at the Annenberg Center’s Arts Lounge (3680 Walnut Street) on Friday, April 29, at noon.

May 2022

Vox Populi will host an in-person event featuring 2021 grantee Rami George at its office (319 N. 11th Street, #3) on Sunday, May 1, at 1 p.m.

The Velocity Fund will host an online joint session with CFEVA Philadelphia Open Studio Tours on Monday, May 2, at noon.

Philadelphia Folklore Project will host an in-person event featuring 2021 grantee César Viveros at its office (735 S. 50th Street) on Wednesday, May 11, at 6 p.m.

The Velocity Fund will host an in-person joint session with Leeway Foundation at the Cherry Street Pier (121 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd) on Friday, May 20, at 1 p.m.

June 2022

The Velocity Fund will host an online joint session with NextFab featuring 2021 grantee Maria Dumlao on Thursday, June 2 at 1 p.m.