In this moment of global crisis and police brutality it’s more important than ever to recognize and stand with artists who have borne unfair burdens of societal bias and oppression. In an effort to acknowledge and address systemic inequities especially impacting artists from marginalized communities in times of COVID-19, Swim Pony is making a statement of solidarity. To that end, we’re re-allocating $2,500 of our general operating funds to support Philly’s vibrant and diverse performing arts community. We do this recognizing that as a company run by a white, educated, able-bodied, and cis identified woman we have received disproportionate funding access and privilege in our community.
The Solidarity Fund will allocate these funds to Philly-area performing artists who self-identify as part of a marginalized community to make their work. Artists may use the money towards their practice in whatever way they wish. We recognize that there will likely be more demand than the funds we have available. As such, we leave the selection to artists within the communities we seek to support and have assembled a team of readers who include Akeem Davis, Tamanya Garza, donia salem harhoor, TS Hawkins, Asaki Kuruma, Erlina Ortiz, Cat Ramirez and Pax Ressler. This group will make all selection decisions based on their assessment of applicant need and artistry and Swim Pony will not have an impact on the choices they make.
To be considered by the reader team, send an email to email@example.com with the subject line “Solidarity Fund” AND your name. In the body of the email write 2 or 3 brief sentences OR 1 min audio/video recording about your current creative work and funding need. We receive applications until Friday, June 12th at 5pm and will send notifications to all applicants by June 26th at the latest.
Once notified they will receive funds, artists can be paid either by check or directly through Venmo. Swim Pony takes no credit for or ownership over any creative work produced.
Language around money is often embedded in oppression and Swim Pony recognizes that the funding industrial complex is fraught with systemic inequity. As such, we invite recipients to label what this money “is” in whatever way that is empowering and meaningful to them. We see it as a “gift” in the sense that it comes to you without expectation of delivering a product. It is “payment” in the sense that your work has value and should be compensated. It is a “grant” in the sense that your work is worthy of professional recognition. It is a “tool” for you to use as you see fit.
Finally, this idea is a living one and we aim to be transparent and open to change in our attempts to carry it out. Thanks to those who have already lent advice and feedback. (H/t to Tamanya Garza, Daniel Park and Gabriela Sanchez.) If you have any questions or concerns please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond within 48 hours.