Knight Arts Challenge Award Winner Ready to Implement Ideas
The Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, which is based in Mt. Airy, won.
For Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra Musical Director Jeri Lynne Johnson, winning a Knight Arts Challenge grant for the second year in a row will help the orchestra fulfill one of its goals.
"Black Pearl wanted to do something that was closer to its own mission of cultural diversity," Johnson said.
The orchestra was one of several entities to receive a grant, which were announced this week by the Knight Foundation. Just over $2.75 million was awarded to 35 organizations around Philadelphia.
Black Pearl received a $50,000 grant. In doing so, it became the only program to win an award twice. It also received a grant last year.
The orchestra will now need to work to match that funding in order to receive the grant. It spent part of the past year getting the money to match its initial grant, which was for $25,000 and will allow people to come on stage during a concert to take mini-conducting lessons from Johnson.
Johnson said the orchestra will spend the next year attempting to match the funding.
The grant will allow them to give a series of pops concerts that will be a departure from the norm. There will be Latino influences, for example, in the pieces and performances.
The concerts will be intended to be celebrations of world music instead of traditional pops shows.
Black Pearl's regular concert season is strictly classical.
"We're really hoping that the community can really get behind (the idea)," Johnson said.
Black Pearl wasn't the only Mt. Airy-related entity to win a grant. Erica Hawthorne, who works for Ken Weinstein at Trolley Car Diner, won a $60,000 award to give a boost to local artists by creating a mini grant program to help finance their art making with awards (ranging from $50 to $1,000).
You can read about Hawthorne's efforts here. The Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse Project won an $80,000 grant to incorporate the work of light artist James Turrell into their new facility there.
Johnson praised the Knight Program as a whole.
"It gives anyone with a great idea access to a potentially fantastic grant that can help them realize their artistic ideal," she said.