A sound-art tour about gun violence in Garfield, a poetry manuscript about white American identity and lessons with a master glass artist represent a few of the projects to be funded by $220,000 in grants from the Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.
The second funding cycle of "Investing in Professional Artists" will support the work of 12 artists and three organizations in areas ranging from musical composition and playwriting to drawing and dance. Individual artists will receive $8,000 to $10,000, while organizations will get $35,000 each.
The grants support artists working toward a finished project, according to Germaine Williams, senior program officer for arts and culture at The Pittsburgh Foundation.
"This was an opportunity to do direct grants that support creative time, and that's usually the hardest piece for artists to get support for," he said.
The grants signal the foundations' efforts to expand funding to individual artists. Even the three organizations selected for the grants -- Balafon West African Dance Ensemble, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and ArtUp -- will use the money for artists' residencies.
"Artists not affiliated with an institution are not as visible and don't, by and large, have access to foundation support," said Janet Sarbaugh, program director for the arts and culture program at the Heinz Endowments.
The grantees were selected from 142 applications submitted by January and screened by a local panel. A national panel selected the winners.
Zach Dorn, a multimedia puppeteer who received one of last year's grants, said the award allowed him to incorporate new materials and technologies into his shows, such as 16mm film and live projection. Mr. Dorn, half of the duo Miniature Curiosa, used the funding to help develop two puppet spectacles. The first, called "The Luna Park Project," explored the history of an old Pittsburgh amusement park. The second, "Birds of America," a live-action horror film, will take place in October at New Hazlett Theater.
"My vocabulary really changed, and my skill set really changed," he said.
While the foundations have committed to one more year of funding, Ms. Sarbaugh and Mr. Williams hope to extend the program.
Elizabeth Bloom: email@example.com or 412-263-1750.