The organization dispersed $92,375 in grants to programs in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. The grants were provided by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, a regionalized funding program of the Pennsylvania Council of Arts, with additional support from PECO.
Project Stream grants are worth up to $2,500 and this year, two LGBT groups were among the winners: Brat Productions and The Bearded Ladies. The average Project Stream award is $1,489.
Founded in 1996, Brat Productions is a theater company that works with new artists in nontraditional venues to produce contemporary shows and re-envisioned classics.
The Bearded Ladies was founded in 2010 as an experimental cabaret group that deals with the politics of popular culture, sex, gender and artistic invention.
Bearded Ladies artistic director John Jarboe said the cabaret is a queer company that always involves some sort of gender performance. The group received a grant of about $1,800 to support its project “Parades! Parades! Parades!” which will involve street performances.
“Bearded Ladies is trying to break down the boundaries of access to arts and culture,” Jarboe said. “We are taking our works to the streets this spring and fall. Each show we are doing will have street-performance elements to them. This grant is going to help us pay performers, costumes and allow us to do these large-scale parades to bring new audiences to our work and our work to people who aren’t normal theatergoers.”
The group is currently producing three shows: “Marlene and the Machine”; “Andy: A Popera,” a project in partnership with Opera Philadelphia; and “Wide Awake: A Civil War Cabaret.”
Cultural Alliance interim executive director Michael Norris said these grants, while small, can have a huge impact on the community and the art scene.
“These PPA Project Stream grants fund projects that directly impact schools, seniors and community-based projects around the Greater Philadelphia region,” Norris said. “They reflect the core principles of the Cultural Alliance’s Ground Swell Community Engagement work, using the arts to fuel positive civic development.”
For more information on the Cultural Alliance, visit http://www.philaculture.org. For more information on Bearded Ladies and Brat Productions, visit http://beardedladiescabaret.com or www.bratproductions.org.