Local Gay Artists Up for Knights Arts Grant

Meet the six LGBTQ finalists and learn about their artsy aspirations.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation just announced 69 local finalists who will be in the running for a 2013 Knights Arts Grant, and six of them are openly gay. The finalists were chosen from a crop of 1,200 Philly artists who submitted applications to snag the grant, which is meant to fund “the best ideas for engaging and enriching Philadelphia through the arts.” Since the contest began running two years ago, the Foundation has awarded $5.5 million to 71 local artists, spawning such great Philly ideas as the Association for Public Art’s Open Air display last fall and the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra‘s free series of performances and mini-conducting lessons.

You can view the full list of finalists here, but for now, let’s focus on the LGBTQers and their projects. Let’s all send good, gay vibes so that these names are called when winners are announced in the spring:

  • Matthew Neenan, artistic director of BalletX submitted a proposal to “further the careers of young dancers by teaching them the art of choreography through a mentorship program.”
  • CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia founder & managing director Thaddeus Squire wants to “offer holistic support for artistic projects by launching a nonprofit arts trust that will provide project management, fiscal sponsorship, legal consulting and more.”
  • Pig Iron artistic director Dito van Reigersberg (pictured as Martha Graham Cracker) would use the funds to “merge two indie arts genres by translating the music of rock band Dr. Dog into a multi-media opera, integrating environmental sound design.”
  • The funds would help the awesomely named Jumatatu Poe, founder and artistic director of idiosynCrazy Productions, “build community around contemporary dance in Philadelphia through free professional dance training offered by a diverse group of local, national and international teachers.”
  • We’d be promised more outside-the-box musical irreverence if Coming: A Rock Musical writer and star Erik Ransom got funding to “offer more opportunities for emerging literary artists by working with writers to produce readings and productions of new musicals.”
  • Brat Productions, who presented the reversed-gender version of Carrie, drew up a proposal to fund “a rehearsal space to be shared by seven small professional theater companies,” including another gay-themed-theater champion, Mauckingbird Theatre Co.