Power Street Theatre Company is home to a collective of multicultural and multidisciplinary artists.

Bartol Blog

Learn what is happening in the field of arts education and teaching artistry. Past blog posts with links to resources can be found by searching or by clicking on a category below. Check in often as we update our blog and link to local and national resources.

Announcing our 2021 Organizational Grantees!

We are thrilled to announced that the Bartol Foundation has distributed $155,000 in grants of $6,000-7,500 each to 24 Philadelphia arts and cultural organizations. This represents an increase of 25% over 2020 in the dollars distributed.  The Foundation supports organizations in a range of artistic disciplines with an emphasis on arts education and community-based arts programs. A complete list with information on each grantee is available here.

The 2021 roster of grantees reflects the Bartol Foundation’s commitment to supporting cultural organizations that provide exceptional, sustained arts experiences to children, teens and adults throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. The Bartol Foundation prioritizes community-based organizations which authentically connect to and represent the people they serve, in which demographics of the staff, board and teaching artists align with the community served.

These awards include 8 first-time grantees representing a third of all grants.  Four organizations operate through fiscal sponsors, enabling organizations which do not hold non-profit status to receive support.   Of the 24 grants, 21 organizations requested and received general operating support. 

“The Bartol Foundation continues to prioritize ways to support organizations which are embedded in their communities and to work to remove barriers to receiving grants,” said Beth Feldman Brandt, Executive Director of the Bartol Foundation. “A third of our new grantees have budgets under $100,000 and the smallest has a budget under $20,000. Providing general operating support is the lifeline of essential day-to-day dollars to keep these small organizations going.”

“Adding new grantees recognizes that even while philanthropy is targeting support during COVID to organizations with which they have an institutional relationship, it’s important to also open the doors to others who do not yet have access to these relationships,” added Sannii Crespina-flores, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Founder of the Un-Inhibited Muse Film Festival, the global youth initiative Do Remember Me and the art collaborative Yram Collective. “Providing arts education programs give creative voice to communities which have been marginalized or silenced. These voices are even more important as we process our experiences in the past year of the pandemic and continued racial injustices.”

The $5,000 George Bartol Arts Education Award, given annually to an organization that exemplifies the Foundation’s priorities, will be announced later this summer. 

Updated guidelines and applications for the next round of grants will be available in the winter of 2022 on our website here with an application deadline of May 2, 2022.

Who We Are: Welcoming Our New Board Members and Officers

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Who We Are

Welcoming Our New Board Members and Officers

Each member of the Bartol board brings their unique perspective to our conversation, perspectives that are embedded in the work we do and the people we serve.  Our focus on diverse voices has always been present on the board.  Today we are especially focused on adding board members who will activate new networks so that more people know about what Bartol does and the resources they can access.

Here’s a cool infographic that shows you more about the board’s demographics.  Since we ask our grantees to do this, it seems fitting that we will also be transparent in sharing our story.  You can read about all of our board members here.

The Class of 2021

This year’s class includes two dancers, a musician and a theatre artist.  But being true creatives, they all juggle multiple day jobs.

  • Betsaleel Charmelus is a program director for the anti-violence, music based non-profit Beyond the Bars, facilitates as a music instructor for survivors of sexual trauma with JJPI’s B.O.S.S Program, and member of the nationally acclaimed, all-black rock band ill Fated Natives.
  • Cat Ramirez is a Philly-based director and producer.  They currently serve as the Creative Director for Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists and the Interim Line Producer at The Bearded Ladies Cabaret
  • Iquail Shaheed is the executive artistic director of Dance Iquail, a Philadelphia-based dance company working at the intersection of dance and social justice.  He is on the Faculty of Goucher College and is pursuing his Ph. D.
  • Sinta Penyami Storms Through her work to preserve the traditional Indonesian culture, Sinta founded Modero & Company.  She is also the Events and Operations Manager at Philadelphia Folklore Project. 

Most importantly, each of these new board members are passionate about the role that the arts play in activating social justice and in amplifying voices that have been silenced.   

And Our New Officers

We also welcome two new officers to our Executive Committee.

  • Wit López (Secretary) is a visual artist, performer, and arts administrator. They are the Artistic Director of Till Arts Project, an arts-services organization serving LGBTQI+ artists in the Greater Philly area.
  • Hannah Gillean (Treasurer) is a Director, Cobalt LP at Hamilton Lane.  Hannah is a finance professional who is passionate about supporting Philadelphia and the arts outside of her day-to-day job.

We can’t wait until the city reopens and we can be out meeting you again! 

2021 Bartol Foundation Application Now Open

Ahora podrá aplicar a la beca de la Fundación Bartol en Español.

Like all of you, we at the Bartol Foundation have been navigating the weight and sadness of the past year.  We appreciate your patience as we thought about how to adjust our grant process and application to make it more equitable and streamlined.  The application is now open for our upcoming deadline on Monday, May 3 at 5:00pm.

Eligibility:  Our eligibility requirements remain the same.  You must be:

  • A non-profit organization with a current 501(c)(3) status or have an affiliation with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor.
  • Presenting programs focused on community-based, hands-on, in-depth arts education.
  • Presenting programs within the City of Philadelphia.

Check out additional requirements here first before you start the application process. 

What’s the Same? What’s Different?

Mandatory Check-In/Virtual Site Visit:  Anyone applying for a grant at this deadline needs to arrange a mandatory check-in call or virtual site visit by going on this form by Friday, April 2.  The check-in must be completed by May 1, 2021.  You can read more about this here.

Apply in Spanish:  You are now able to apply in Spanish. While we haven’t been able to translate our entire website yet, you will see the option of applying in English or Spanish when you get ready to access the online application.  If you have questions, you can email bfbrandt@bartol.org and to be connected with a Bartol board member who can answer your questions in Spanish.

Ahora podrá aplicar a la beca de la Fundación Bartol en Español. Para más información presione aqui. ¿Preguntas? Envíenos un correo a bfbrandt@bartol.org

What Can You Apply For? We encourage you to apply for general operating support.  This year we have two categories.  If all of your programs focus on arts education, you can apply for regular general operating support.  If arts education programs are one component of your organization (for example, you also present performances or exhibitions), you can now apply for general operating support for your arts education programs. This will enable you to outline your general arts education programs if you are unsure of specifics for 2021-22 due to ongoing COVID restrictions. You can also still apply for a specific project.

Application Questions:  We have revised the application to take into account that the last year has been unprecedented and the coming year is still uncertain.  We want to hear about how your programs have adapted to COVID restrictions and what you project to do in the coming year based on what you know now.  We are open to hearing what you think you might do if your programs remain virtual, resume in person, or are presented in a hybrid of both. 

What if our program changes after we apply? Do your best to project what your programs will look like and if you receive a grant, we remain open to adapting our funds to your needs as the year unfolds.  Applying for general operating support will give you the most flexibility but we will also be ready to hear if your project changes as the year evolves.

A reminder that the application is due Monday, May 3, 2021 by 5 pm.


As always, reach out with any questions to bfbrandt@bartol.org.

Thank you for all you do.

Get to Know the Grantee: Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers

This week, we are in conversation with Katie Moore, Business Director at Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (KYL/D) about how they have pivoted their school residencies in the virtual classroom. You can also check out their short mindful movement videos here.

Your CHI Dance program focuses on mindfulness through movement, primarily for elementary school children. You have created a really robust program since COVID moved programs online, led by your Education Coordinator, Sophie Malin. How are you navigating through five schools, all with different needs?

Teaching virtually is definitely different – program development and delivery takes longer to accomplish and technology can be tricky. We had to figure out what was essential to each class we would usually teach in person, and how we could capture that online. We had to keep our focus on mindfulness which is the core of our program and so important right now.

Sophie did an incredible job developing several different components to the program to make for a robust online experience. All of the content is available through a password protected network of pages on our website. On the homepage, there is a survey for students to complete to ensure they set-up a safe dance space with visuals for context. There is also easy access to supplemental content, such as short meditation videos, called CHI Time videos (linked above). Sophie engaged KYL/D dance artists, some of whom are CHI Dance teachers and some of whom are not, to create these additional videos that provide a mindfulness break that a teacher or student can use any time. Then, the website allows the user to select their school to access their classroom specific content.

Prior to starting the fall session, school partners were given the option to pick from three program offerings: 1) all pre-recorded classes for 9 weeks; 2) a hybrid of 6 pre-recorded classes and 3 live classes; or, 3) 9 live classes. Alongside this weekly class content, we also provide a weekly workbook that directly relates to that week’s lesson, which a teacher can use as they like. To provide additional context, teachers are also given a workbook guide.

How did you coordinate all this with the school?

Sophie set-up meetings with principals, teachers and other school administrators at each partner school to explain the three program options in detail to determine each school’s needs before the fall session started. We already had a plan in place for the curriculum to focus on one of KYL/D’s recent works, Fish & Girl, but allowed flexibility within learning sections of the choreography and inspiration behind the piece to also include components that reinforce classroom topics.

The CHI Dance Workbook provides a different method to engage students with dance and mindfulness. Each week contains pages with emotion check-ins, education tips, guided meditations, mindfulness activities, challenges, coloring pages, journal prompts and free thinking pages. The workbook was edited by retired Elementary School Principal, Teacher and Editor, Sheila Lunger. Sheila helped Sophie develop grade specific versions for our two main age groups Grades K-2 and Grades 3-5 along with the teacher guide book that helps classroom teachers understand the intention behind each exercise and how to adapt it for their needs.

Since our program takes place during the school day, we are using Google Classroom and other online platforms which involves getting permissions for KYL/D’s teaching artists to access the virtual classroom. It helps that the classroom teacher is there to refocus children as needed and to provide their own classroom structure to our work. We were also able to do a survey with our 4th grade students that the teacher assigned to them, which has given us great insights into what type of online learning students feel most comfortable with, what their interests are and feedback on how to improve the program next session. Surveys are also provided to teachers before and after each session to help serve as part of our program evaluation. Sophie has frequent check-ins with teachers and principals throughout the course of each session to ensure that the program is meeting everyone’s expectations.

What did you do out of necessity during COVD that you may keep even after COVID has passed?

Our biggest challenge is that we have a long waitlist of classroom teachers within our current partner schools, let alone other schools who want the program; however, we have a limited amount of human resources and internal capacity with our staff and teaching artists.  We are thinking about how we can expand the pre-recorded video program to facilitate in nourishing engagement with our current partner schools and providing an entry point into a potential partnership with a new school. The recorded content could be used as the first step before having classes in person, or maybe be combined with a group of students coming to one of the company’s performances or rehearsals. We all know that the purpose of dancing is to be and move together but maybe these virtual programs are a way to begin to deepen current relationships, build new relationships and expand our reach.

How are you caring for yourself and your teaching artists during this time?

The amazing thing about CHI Dance is that the focus on mindfulness requires you to focus on mindfulness, which is a stress relief tool in and of itself. The videos Sophie and the other dance artists have been developing I’m starting to watch more consistently to provide my own meditation breaks throughout the work day.

Our work requires a lot of collaboration and openness. With CHI Dance sessions, the first step is to always check-in with our teaching artists and have an honest conversation about how many classes they would like to teach and understanding their thoughts on how to improve the curriculum each year. For the digital programs, we understand there will be opportunities to learn how to deliver the program better with more experience. We stay open minded and in frequent communication with each other. Also, I provide Sophie with flexibility to adapt the programs if there is too much on her checklist or if we realize another approach works best. We have a weekly phone call to debrief and learn about what’s going on outside of CHI Dance too. This year, Sophie and I are working on developing more movement training and professional development opportunities in connection with her youth education work. For the other staff and dance artists, I am planning on programs to also focus on training and wellness.

Best. (COVID) Snack. Ever.

Salted pumpkin seeds.

Part of a continuing series featuring our 2020 Bartol Grantees.

Site Visits in a Pandemic?

2021 Guidelines Part I: Site Visits in a Pandemic?

Beth Feldman Brandt, Executive Director

Site visits are the best.  We love traveling around the city to see programs that Bartol funded and to meet new people whose work we may not be familiar with yet. 

We use these visits to connect with you beyond the written proposal to see your work in action.  Often, I find there are commonalities among those we are visiting that we can help address through workshops or shared networking.  These site visits are mandatory so there is a level playing field for all who apply.  In one year, the Board and staff of Bartol can visit 60 organizations.

But we are all learning to adjust during the pandemic.  Our funding priorities will stay the same in 2021 but we will be looking at our application

So what does a site visit look like during a pandemic?  This is something we have been wrangling with over the past few months.

Here is our plan for our Monday, May 3, 2021 grant deadline.

  • Is the site visit still mandatory? Yes!  We still want to hear how you are doing and make sure your proposal would be eligible for funding.  You can do these check-ins two ways:
    • Schedule a phone call or Zoom meeting with me or a board member.  OR
    • Invite us to a site visit to a program you are presenting virtually.
    • Note: We will not be making any site visits or meetings in person.
  • How we will use your site visit?  We will use this only as a check-in, not to make an assessment of the quality of your programs. We realize that not all of you are currently teaching virtually.  And for those who are, there is too much beyond your control to make any kind of judgment about the strength of your program.   We know you are all doing your best.
  • How do I schedule my site visit?  First, check your eligibility here. Then, you can use the form at the end of this page to schedule your call or virtual visit beginning March 1, 2021.  We will confirm back once we have scheduled Beth or a Board member for your check-in.
  • Is there a deadline?  Yes!  We would love to check in as soon as you are ready, but you must request your check-in through our online form by Friday, April 2, 2021 and we need to do our check in by April 26, 2021.

Questions about your eligibility or your site visit? Reach out to Beth Feldman Brandt at bfbrandt@bartol.org

Get to Know the Grantee: Young Artist Program

We are excited to share news from our grantees as they continue to provide great programs despite all the challenges we are facing.  This week, we welcome Kristin Hill, an alumni of the YAP program who runs the instagram account @theyoungartistprogram.


Your organization works with a small group of young people from the LGBT community over multiple years.  How were you able celebrate your graduates last year and then to reach out and engage new participants for your new cohort during COVID?

Sadly, we had to celebrate separately because of COVID, but Mel and Sam (Lead Teaching Artists at the time) did drive-bys with decorated cars and lots of honking. Each of us got flowers, balloons and a little goodie bag of gifts with self care items. We took socially distant photos in our caps and gowns..it was cute! 

Recruiting primarily happened over social media, particuarlying instagram. Our hope is that our caring and kindness for others would shine through on our social media–and it did! We were able to recruit and get a whole new cohort of 8 students.

What approaches are you using to create community among these new folx in our socially-distant/virtual universe?

We still hold the program on zoom from Tuesday-Friday, which is a space where people can come to play games, work on their individual and group art projects, and connect with each other. Mental Health Mondays; a story series where we ask questions in our stories to our followers and respond and share back, has been a great way too. We really want people to know that we care about them and that we’re always open to chat, so we started asking our followers questions about self-care and mental health on Mondays. It’s been really good to hear people’s answers and to help us all feel like none of us are in this alone. 

Having to do things virtually has also brought us some really fun new ideas! We’re currently doing a virtual art auction, something we probably never would have done if there wasn’t a pandemic. We had an opening night over zoom and played games and shared space virtually with the community, it was so fun and sweet!

What have you learned during COVID that you will use even after COVID has passed?

It’s still possible to find connections and to care for people virtually. Virtual hugs are still valid!

How are you caring for yourself and other program members during this time?

For myself, I try to take at least one day a week for myself. That can mean making art and jewelry or watching Bob’s Burgers. I’m trying to maintain some sense of normalcy and make sure I’m living the life that I want. 

We’re all really trying to do our best to care for people over text and zoom calls. I think compliments go a long way! I try to uplift everyone in the program and spread the love and joy. 

Best.  Snack.  Ever.

Dominos Lava Crunch Cakes with a little ice cream on top.. Best thing in the world! I encourage everyone to try it 🙂


Part of a continuing series featuring our 2020 Bartol Grantees.

Get to Know the Grantee: ArtWell

We are excited to welcome Briana Clarke as the new Program Manager at ArtWell. Check out this interview to learn more about her journey.

Tell us a bit about your journey that brought you to become the new Program Manager at ArtWell.

My background consists of diverse community and arts involvement independently and within Philadelphia organizations, including Providence Center, Spiral Q, FAB Youth Philly, and Camp Sojourner Girl Leadership Camp. I’ve been involved with ArtWell since 2016. I started as a Teaching Artist, then Artwell experienced organizational changes, and the Program Coordinator position opened. Because I truly believed in the work of Artwell, there was a strong foundation and sense of community, and I was committed to supporting youth, Teaching Artists, and my community, I  wanted to support the strengthening of the organization. So, I applied for the position to have a greater leadership role and impact on ArtWells growth and direction. I was later promoted to Program Manager, and the journey so far has been fulfilling.

You have had to adapt your programs to teach different disciplines virtually in your school residencies.  What has worked well and what has been challenging?

Overall, trial and error, shifting expectations, and operating with the sense that business is personal and allowing human connection to exist in the workspace has helped and has been the driving force. Our school partnerships are extremely relational, and it played a big factor in adapting our programs. We have centered our teaching around social justice, identity, and the social-emotional learning component of our program during this time. We have coordinated supply distribution to as many partners as possible. The art is still happening virtually; however, students’ opportunities to participate in dialogue about topics they care about, connect, and express have been crucial and our priority.

It was challenging to move forward with some of our school partners this year due to schools and teachers adapting themselves. And although we have seen an increase over the months, and students express excitement for classes, student engagement is still one of our challenges. Youth are Zoomed out!  

We are hearing from our grantees that some things you did out of necessity during COVID, you will continue to do even after COVID has passed.  What might you continue to do even after COVID?

When the pandemic hit, and through the racial unrest, we reached out to our partners and connected with them individually to determine what supports they needed. In response, we began customizing engagements. This involved lots of meetings with principals, classroom teachers, teaching artists, and other community partners. We worked to involve everyone as much as possible throughout the process, which we already do; however, I believe there is a higher level of grace and involvement. For some of our partners, we are carrying out our traditional programs virtually. However, for other partners, we have gone deeper. We are offering additional program supports like clubs, office hours, and school-wide town halls. We have also offered virtual engagements for the general public during COVID. This time has highlighted the deeper involvement we can have from our community. Not just at the beginning and end, but throughout. We hope to preserve this level of community involvement post-COVID.

You have your own creative practice outside of your work with ArtWell.  Tell us more!

Yes, I’m a painter who primarily focuses on highlighting the joy and pain connected to Black Lives through vibrant colors, juxtaposition, metaphors, and symbolism. I also spend time designing social media graphics and fliers.

How are you caring for yourself and your teaching artists during this time?

Checking in with Teaching Artists personally, professionally, and consistently. Holding more team meetings, having compassion, patience, calling, texting, and allowing people to just be sometimes. In addition to one on one check-ins, we have monthly skill builds for our Teaching Artists. This has been an important time to connect, preserve the sense of community virtually, enhance online teaching toolkits, play, and promote self and collective care. 

As far as me, I try to paint as much as I can. It’s unfortunate because we rely on technology more than ever to stay connected to people; however, I also try to take breaks from social media, texts, and calls for brain breaks and self-care. Youtube rabbit holes and music, period. 

Best. Snack. Ever.

Not a healthy one, but I love salami! Cured meats…a well-made charcuterie board, is loooove.  

Part of a continuing series featuring our 2020 Bartol Grantees.

Get to Know the Grantee: Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture

In 2020, we made our selections for the grantee winners just as the COVID-19 pandemic closed all schools and community programs. In recognition of these difficult circumstances, we enabled each organization to define how they could use the funding to strengthen their programming during the shutdown (e.g. developing curriculum, delivering remote programs, etc).

We are excited to welcome Mohannad Ghawanmeh as the new Executive Director of Al-Bustan.  Mohannad will be the second Executive Director of Al-Bustan, taking over from its founder Hazami Sayed. 

Tell us a bit about your journey that brought you to become the new Executive Director of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture.

The journey began with cofounding the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival in 2002, in response to the Sep 11 attacks, as an effort to affirm the breadth and complexity of Arab culture and to defy malign and then intensely propagated stereotypes of Arab and Muslim people. Thus the festival was founded in the same year as Al-Bustan and was motivated by similar impulses and was programmed by Mizna an Arab American Arts organization that does work similar to Al-Bustan’s. I went on to direct/curate four editions of this festival and led the first edition of two others, including the film festival organized by the Arab American National Museum. I continued to work with both of these Arab cultural organizations for years to come, including as I attended PhD school for a degree in Cinema and Media Studies, which I acquired in June.

You moved from California to take on this role. What drew you all the way across the country to become part of Al-Bustan?

Al-Bustan is such an accomplished, impactful organization and I am so committed to cultural production that empowers and inspires that applying to lead Al-Bustan, to succeed its venerated Founding Director Hazami Sayed was an “all-brainer”!

What are you most excited to do or learn in the next year?

Arts and education programming is the facet that most excites me about my work, I do admit. However, guiding Al-Bustan through the unpredictable, choppy waters of the months to come and preparing the organization for a transition to serving a constituency no longer threatened by COVID19 is what commands my attention most.

Part of a continuing series featuring our 2020 Bartol Grantees.

Back and full of gratitude.

by Beth Feldman Brandt, Executive Director

What a roller coaster of events and emotions we have had since I left on sabbatical in August.  I am so grateful to the Bartol team for continuing to  support you, our community of teaching artists and partners, while I was away. 
It was not the sabbatical I expected when I first made plans last October.  But I was able to revive my creative poetry life and my bass guitar practicing. I  was also  the Program Volunteer for #VoteThatJawn, working with amazing high school and college students to get out the vote in Philly.  My projects included collaborating with Bartol grantee Spiral Q for events that included creating the dancing mailboxes and with Big Picture Alliance to create this short film about the youth vote.
I was inspired by the young people, many of whom were not even old enough to vote, who worked so hard to engage people to make their voices heard.  Often they were driven to vote for those who can’t.  They were driven by issues like climate change and police reform.  They leveraged TikTok and Instagram and Saturday registration drives at Shop-Rite.  COVID didn’t stop them from making change happen.  
It was powerful to be reminded of the ways that the arts can amplify organizing and activism efforts.  How poets and musicians can articulate and heal what ails us.  I am coming back to Bartol Foundation ready to integrate all the worlds I inhabited while I was away – creativity, activism, organizing and true community engagement, into how we serve you. 
I know it is a challenging time to move forward when everything ahead is so uncertain.  But we can give ourselves permission to pivot and change as we go.  And to extend grace to ourselves and others as we navigate this world.
Photo Credit: Beth with her wife, Karen, getting out the vote at Overbook Elementary School.

Get to Know Board Member: Wit López

Our staff and board is run by a group of esteemed and dynamic people from all over the arts community of Philadelphia who are passionate about using art as a way for all to connect to joyful, creative lives.

Wit López (They/Them), is a visual artist, performer, and arts administrator. They are the Artistic Director of Till Arts Project, an arts-services organization serving LGBTQI+ artists in the Greater Philly area. Wit believes that marginalized artists should have support for their practices and equal access to resources as artists from privileged backgrounds. 

Wit Lopez

What keeps you busy in your work and life these days?

Art, art, and more art! I’m an artist, art critic, arts administrator, and arts services consultant, so my life revolves around the arts and I love it!

What intrigued you about being a member of the Bartol board?

The trauma-informed workshop for artists and the grants for teaching artists let me know that Bartol is an organization truly considering the wellness of artists in the community and trying to equip artists with resources. I’m a huge supporter of many organizations that view artists as whole humans and I also believe that artists work should be financially supported, and Bartol is doing both!

What do you hope to learn? What do you hope to contribute?

I’m open to endlessly learning, so I don’t want to put any limitations on my chances to learn by deciding on specific expectations now (or ever). I’m big on skill-sharing and giving out information freely, and I plan to apply those feelings to my contributions as well. I’ll learn and contribute in any way I can.

And our favorite question: Best. Snack. Ever.

I love this question, haha. I’m going to say french fries.

Part of a continuing series featuring our Bartol Board Members.

Get to Know the Grantee: Power Street Theatre

In 2020, we made our selections for the grantee winners just as the COVID-19 pandemic closed all schools and community programs. In recognition of these difficult circumstances, we enabled each organization to define how they could use the funding to strengthen their programming during the shutdown (e.g. developing curriculum, delivering remote programs, etc). Erlina Ortiz, playwright and play maker for Power Street Theatre, describes how their organization adapted to these unprecedented times: 

How are you adapting your project or organization during quarantine/this political moment?
We have moved everything online. Our classes will be going online in the Spring and we are doing A LOT of brainstorming on how to make that a successful venture that serves our mission and values. 
Has the quarantine resulted in opportunities to take your practice online in any way?  If so, tell us about it.
We had a Children’s Festival that went virtual and was a success, a Digital Rally for Philly Arts that took over social media for two days, and we’ll be doing an online reading series and community discussions this fall.
There is also value in sharing challenges.  If you are comfortable doing this, what are some of the challenges that you are dealing with? Short-term? Long-term? Who knows?
The way we have connected with our North Philly community has been by knocking on doors, going to bodegas, talking to folks in the park, sharing a meal – it’s being in the community. Being IN community. That’s basically against the law right now so figuring out how to stay connected with our base of supporters safely is a real challenge. 
Have you found moments of creativity or grace in the past few months?
I have, thankfully, though I can only speak for myself. I’ve been writing a lot mostly which has actually always been my coping mechanism through rough times. I also took the Yale free online Science of Well Being class and that was very enlightening. I’ve been using the skills I learned to keep me balanced. 
And always our favorite question.  Best. (Quarantine) Snack. Ever.
Is pizza too basic? Nachos? Literally anything greasy or fatty that hides my feelings. Half of Power Street is basically vegan now though so this answer may be controversial.  

Part of a continuing series featuring our 2020 Bartol Grantees.

What You Told Us: 2020 Teaching Artist Survey

Thanks to the 116 teaching artists who took the time and thought to take our annual survey! And congratulations to TAHIRA who won the $50 gift card raffle.

This year more than ever, we really wanted to hear about your practice, how you have been affected by COVID-19, and how you envision your future practice in this new hybrid virtual world. We are already using this information to inform our board and partners, and to plan our free fall teaching artists workshops. Here are just a few things we learned.

The Effects of COVID-19

  • 72% of you transferred existing work with an organization to a virtual platform and 33% transferred your independent teaching artist work to a virtual platform.
  • 61% of you lost work with an organization and 50% lost independent teaching artist work.
  • 12% were able to get new work from an organization and 12% were able to get new work independently.
  • You lost from $300 to $30,000 in cancelled gigs for your teaching artist practice.

Teaching Virtually

  • You adapted your teaching by offering shorter sessions or simplifying your curriculum
  • You created online videos, activity workbooks, and art kits.
  • 68% of you think it is likely or highly likely that teaching virtually will be a significant part of your teaching practice in the future.
  • Only 3 respondents created intellectual property agreements for their new virtual work with an organizational partner.

Other Interesting Facts

  • 56% of you are receiving professional development through an organization you work with, increase from 36% in 2019.
  • 53% of you are securing work on your own.
  • 43% of you are working for organizations as independent contractors, a significant increase from 32% in 2019.
  • only 28% of you are working for an organization as an employee.
  • 34% of you are offering programs at organizations other than schools or cultural organizations.

We are continuing to read through all of your comments and ideas. Stay tuned for free professional development workshops over the next year that will respond to your requests including tools and practices for teaching online in different arts disciplines, trauma-informed practice training, approaches to talking about racism in the classroom, and creating safe and healthy environments for learning.

We appreciate everything you are doing to continue to bring arts to our communities. We will do our best to support you in this journey.

Get to Know the Micro-Grantee: Jasz The Poet

A blog written by one of our micro-grantees, Jasz The Poet about her experiences spiritually, mentally and artistically through quarantine.

Quarantine has been a game changer. Coming into this season, there were plenty of things I needed to do or cut but taking action on those tasks was not a priority. However, it feels like God strategically used this time to ground me on what’s most important through a period of personal, professional, and relational development. Since March, I’ve learned more about myself, gained a clearer perspective of my entrepreneurial journey, and have strengthened and shifted relationships. Above all else, I’m further understanding the connection between mind, body, and spirit, and for the first time in a long time, I’m moving in full alignment which has transformed the way I navigate art and productivity. 

Prior to quarantine, I struggled with having enough time. Even though I made my own schedule, I still found myself rushing through or skipping over activities that fueled my spirit in order to tend to tasks that drove my business or income. I often felt a tug to sit still, read regularly, or pray longer, yet an inner part of me would always be reluctant to the stillness. Ironically enough, quarantine took away many of my excuses for rushing and gave me the space to move differently. I now find that when I spend time walking outside, engaging in unlimited devotion time, reading a book, or being casually creative, the tasks that previously weighed on me suddenly seem like activities for which I’m even more equipped to handle. My ideas and inspiration flow abundantly and rushing now feels oppositional to the natural current of life.

By spending time pouring into my spirit, I was able to declutter my mind. As an overthinker, this clarity has been monumental because I can now focus on goals without spiraling down a path of insecurities, obstacles, and distractions. For example, prior to quarantine, I started a 40-day accountability group through which I led Sunday calls and distributed weekly guides with journal prompts, guiding verses and self-care suggestions. I knew this was something that brought together a variety of my skillsets from teaching and facilitation to introspection and accountability. However, during quarantine I had numerous revelations about how this fit into the larger framework of my community work in addition to receiving the inspiration to create a complementary 40-Day devotional. My life purpose is more apparent and my various projects and skillsets are finally blending together in sensible ways.

The current challenges for freelancers and contract workers are great. With the unemployment rate higher than it has ever been, with small organizations being gravely impacted by the COVID-19 quarantine, with a society the systemically undervalues the arts, the art community at-large will have to fight tooth and nail for the financial support it deserves. Freelance artists and teaching artists will be uniquely affected at a time when art has proven to sustain emotional health but is still not given the recognition it deserves. Art is not a commodity, it’s a necessity. Access to the arts should not be a privilege when it should be a fundamental right. Where challenges abound so does enlightenment. Personally, I am taking this time radically re-envision art education. I know I am not alone in this endeavor.

The last piece of this fully aligned puzzle is my body. Being more in tune with the energy and flow of life, I’m able to pinpoint stresses and discord within my body. Unfortunately for me, there have been several moments where I learned this the hard way. A month into quarantine, I managed to pinch a nerve in my arm—possibly during a workout but the cause is still unknown- which resulted in me being ordered to complete rest for 10 days while my arm (my primary, right arm to be specific) rested in a sling. As if quarantine and intentional stillness weren’t enough, I was being forced to rest even more. The lesson about resting was driven home when I came back from the doctors with my arm in a sling only to find a book I ordered (Pursuit of Holiness) on my doorstep. God knew I wasn’t going to prioritize that book if left up to my own devices, so He made it so I’d be able to completely dive in with no distractions. My body told me what it needed, and my spirit and mind were able to be fed as a result.

As we slowly emerge from a period of forced hibernation and lesson learning, I am thoroughly convinced that many things cannot go back to how they were before. Once you know something, you can’t unknow it. I am much more aware of the divine purpose for the work I am compelled to do, and the ability to do it well is directly dependent on my submission to the natural order of things. In the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success which I read last year, the author speaks about the realm of infinite possibility that exists when we accept the uncertainty of life while tending only to what we can control. Though all of the lessons haven’t been easily learned, that is my new focus. I am grateful for what this time has taught me, and I’m confident that the routines, projects, and revelations gained or strengthened during this period will definitely be worth the process. 

And always our favorite question.  Best. (Quarantine) Snack. Ever.

My favorite quarantine snack has been the gummy wild berry life savers!


Part of a continuing series featuring our 2020 Bartol Micro-Grantees.

2020 Bartol Grant Awards


Philadelphia, PA—The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation announced today that it will distribute $115,000 in grants of $5,000 each to 23 Philadelphia arts and cultural organizations. The Foundation supports organizations in a range of artistic disciplines with an emphasis on arts education and community-based arts programs. A complete list with information on each grantee is available here.

The 2020 roster of grantees reflects the Bartol Foundation’s commitment to supporting cultural organizations that provide exceptional, sustained arts experiences to children, teens and adults throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. The Bartol Foundation prioritizes community-based organizations which authentically connect to and represent the people they serve.

Two first-time grantees bring new perspectives and audiences to the roster of grantees.

  • Scene-N-Action Productions Company, Inc uses the performing arts as a tool to cultivate talent, creativity and self-enrichment, while simultaneously creating an inclusive community for youth.
  • The Young Artist Program centers BIPOC, LGBTQ+ identifying youth artists as well as adult leadership, using art as a tool for personal growth and social change by providing students with both art instruction & opportunities for political activism.

“The Bartol Foundation increased its overall giving in 2020 by almost 40% over 2019, including emergency grants to our grantees to pay teaching artists unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Beth Feldman Brandt, Executive Director of the Bartol Foundation. “This year’s roster of grantees is working in uncertain and challenging times with very limited resources.  A third of our new grantees have budgets under $100,000 and the smallest has a budget of $14,000. The majority of these organizations requested and received general operating support which provides essential day-to-day dollars to keep these small organizations going.”

“This current round of funding supports organizations committed to bringing the arts to communities which have been historically marginalized and silenced,” added Sannii Crespina-flores, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Founder of the Un-Inhibited Muse Film Festival, the global youth initiative Do Remember Me and the art collaborative Yram Collective. “We are grateful for these community anchors as they use arts education to amplify these voices and nurture creative spirits when it is most needed.”

The $5,000 George Bartol Arts Education Award, given annually to an organization that exemplifies the Foundation’s priorities, will be announced later in the summer.  

Updated guidelines and applications for the next round of grants will be available in the winter of 2021 on the Foundation’s website at www.bartol.org with an application deadline of May 1, 2021.

The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation works at the intersection of arts, education, community and philanthropy, grounded in our belief that deeply meaningful arts experiences strengthen people and communities. The BartolFoundation advocates for and facilitates partnerships in which cultural organizations, teaching artists, community partners, and funders work toward the common goal of providing high-caliber, equitable arts education to people in Philadelphia, especially those in the most under-resourced or under-served communities. We utilize our knowledge and resources to create more resources and opportunities for all.