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.