FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Project Stream Grant—Interview with Allison Vanyur, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
Photo: People’s Emergency Center, 2016 Project Stream grantee. (Courtesy of Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance)
The Philadelphia region offers a wide range of funding opportunities for community-based artists and organizations. One example is Project Stream, a grant administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. Learn more and get application tips in our Q&A with Allison Vanyur, Grants & Events Manager at the Cultural Alliance.
Can you explain a bit of background information about the Project Stream Grant?
Project Stream is a program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), a state government agency. They run a number of different arts funding opportunities, but two of them—Project Stream and Program Stream—are facilitated by regional partner organizations, so this gives the decision-making power to local communities. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance facilitates Project Stream in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. This opportunity is open to any individual, nonprofit organization, or fiscally sponsored organization in Pennsylvania. The grants support any type of arts-specific projects, including exhibitions, performances, poetry readings, and art education programs. The maximum amount you can request is $2,500.
Do individuals need to have a fiscal sponsor or can anyone apply?
Individuals do not need to have fiscal sponsors. Any individual over the age of 18 who lives in the five-county Philadelphia region can apply. If an organization wants to apply and they do not have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, then they would need a fiscal sponsor.
What impact do you hope that Project Stream will have on Philadelphia’s cultural landscape?
The main goal of Project Stream is to promote access to the arts in every county in Pennsylvania. The PCA distributes Project Stream grants in every county of Pennsylvania. So, our goal is always that the pool of applicants represents the diverse communities that make up the region. Every Project Stream grant must have a public component of some sort—such as an exhibition or something that the public can come to—so that anyone in the community can experience or participate in the project.
I think another thing that makes Project Stream really unique is that it’s open to organizations that don’t necessarily have a specific arts focus. So, a church or a community center that does not typically present arts programming can apply for the same opportunity as a ballet company or a museum.
What advice would you give someone applying for the first time?
I think the most important thing to remember when you’re writing a Project Stream application is that these proposals are reviewed by a volunteer panel of your peers. Anyone who lives in the region can volunteer to serve as a panelist, and they all have varying degrees of arts expertise. We really want the stakeholders in the community to have a voice in what is presented in their communities. For this reason, I always tell people to assume that panelists are not familiar with your work, or even with your artistic discipline—to really over-articulate and be very, very clear when you’re describing your project and identifying the goals you hope to reach.
How can interested individuals learn more information?
Interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.