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The 2020 cohort of Creative Resilient Youth, a teen-led collective responding to gaps in mental health dialogue and resources in schools

In 2019, five Philadelphia projects were selected to receive $15,000 each for the inaugural Added Velocity Award, a regranting initiative administered by Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and funded by the William Penn Foundation. The grantees — APIARY, Black Quantum Futurism, Creative Resilience Collective, Grizzly Grizzly, and The Reentry Think Tank — were selected to receive further support due to their achievements as 2018 Velocity Fund Grantees.

Andrea Ngan from Creative Resilience Collective (CRC) marveled that Added Velocity “has helped us see that there are grantors that value our model of youth leadership at the intersection of art and mental health.” CRC used the fund toward stipends for the teens they work with, materials for their zines and posters, and to support nearly a year’s worth of facilitations.

APIARY 11: The Essential Issue, launching October 2020, investigates the shifting understanding of the term “essential” as it applies to businesses, resources, human beings, and human bonds

Of all the Added Velocity grantees, CRC is the youngest, having formed in 2017. At the other end is APIARY, a community-sourced literary magazine, which was founded in 2009 and is run by a team of volunteers. APIARY used Added Velocity to fund free writing workshops and to produce APIARY 11: The Essential Issue.

Steve Burns, the Project Director of APIARY, expressed that being able to provide support to the staff was the “bedrock” that allowed for broader and better support to the Philadelphia community. He remarked, “Receiving these funds has allowed us to see a future for APIARY as a sustainable organization that works in a consistent rhythm of production.”

The basis of Black Quantum Futurism’s (BQF) practice is recognizing time as a commodity that is often withheld from Black and brown people, and from womxn and gender non-conforming folks in particular. The collaborative duo, Camae Ayewa — aka musician Moor Mother — and Rasheedah Phillips, used funds from Added Velocity to distribute 60 Black Womxn Temporal Portal Toolkits. The toolkits were given out in tandem with BQF’s annual gathering, Black Womxn Time Camp, which is a series of workshops centered on time travel and giving participants the tools to, as Rasheedah Philips described, “prepare us for Black quantum womanist futures.”

Black Quantum Futurism, “IRL Black Womxn Temporal Portal” (2019) (photo by D1L0 DeMille)

Also looking to the future is Reentry Think Tank (RTT), an advocacy group that builds connections between returning citizens and artists. Together, they are changing the public perceptions of incarceration and fighting for progressive changes in Philadelphia. After receiving Added Velocity, RTT funded a touring exhibition for their Reentry Bill of Rights. Although the exhibition is currently unavailable due to the pandemic, Co-Director Courtney Bowles is confident that RTT will eventually be able to, “Connect the stories and demands of the Reentry Think Tank fellows with thousands of Philadelphians across the city.”

For “Reentry Bill of Rights: A Blueprint for Keeping Us Free,” 1,200 Philadelphians impacted by the criminal justice system blended art, research, and activism to create the country’s first Reentry Bill of Rights

Grizzly Grizzly is also using Added Velocity to share their practice with the public. Based in Philadelphia for over 10 years, Grizzly Grizzly is looking to build connections with neighbors and folks outside their social network. According to member Amy Hicks, Grizzly Grizzly will continue to develop a number of projects to build engagement, including digital publications, walking tours, artist talks, and virtual exhibitions.

Grizzly Grizzly, interior excerpt from issue 3 of the digital publication In Dialogue, featuring work by artists Leroy Johnson and Brandan Henry (August–September 2020)

For more information on Temple Contemporary’s Added Velocity Award and the 2019 recipients, visit velocityfund.org

– Logan Cryer, 2020

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