Arts Council Awards $48,000 to 24 Local Creative Entrepreneurs

Pittsburgh – December 21, 2021 – Twenty-four Western Pennsylvania creative entrepreneurs have been awarded a total of $48,000 from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council to support their business' general operations in the first distribution of funds from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts' Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator program. Grants range from $500 to $2,000 and go toward starting or operating a creative business in Allegheny, Beaver, Greene, and Washington counties.

In addition to grants, all applicants received free consultation services from local small business development organizations. These organizations include Bridgeway Capital, Chatham University and the University of Pittsburgh.

"The creative economy drives our community's identity and culture," shares Arts Council CEO, Mitch Swain. "We are thrilled to support these recipients who have grown their businesses and have evolving plans to bring their creative work to this region."

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator program launched in October to support economic recovery and increase opportunities for creative workers. Grant funds were used to support businesses with gross revenue of less than $200,000 working in fields such as marketing, architecture, visual arts, crafts, design, film and media, digital games, music, entertainment, publishing.

Fifty-one percent of the funds were reserved for Black, indigenous, or persons of color (BIPOC), or individuals residing in communities identified by the Small Business Administration's low-income communities map.

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator awardees each received $2,000 in general operating support for their work. The awardees include:

  • Genevieve Barbee-Turner received support for small batch, limited edition, queer, feminist, goth tarot decks featuring horror film artwork as part of Killer Pancake.
  • Grahamicus Barnard received support for a written and visual adventure-framing life guidance project, How Mountain.
  • Becky Billock received support for a gamified digital platform for learning music theory, as part of Noteful.
  • Ameela Boyd received support to create functional "holistic" clothing that incorporates sensory systems, as part of The Covering, LLC.
  • Anna Brewer received support for video production as part of Anna Brewer Productions, LLC.
  • Nathan Brooks received support for culturally relevant streetwear as part of Rebel Bred Clothing.
  • Cat Burton received support for freelance creative strategy and consulting in fashion as part of Create Art Together.
  • Dianne C. received support for styling a body-inclusive fashion line as part of ENVOI Lifestyle Showroom & Styling.
  • Rona Chang received support for minimum waste, maximum comfort clothing as part of OTTO FINN.
  • Sarah Cohen received support for floral accessory design as part of PetalVision Glass.
  • Sarah Daigneault received support for jewelry art as part of MetaMorph Jewlery Studio.
  • Michael DuPuis received support for creative and sustainable residential design and contracting as part of Highwood Builder.
  • Dana English received support for publicity and marketing practices for musicians and filmmakers as part of The Plain English Consultant.
  • Lori Hepner received support for her visual art practice involving photographic prints, digital video and real-time projections, and more. This support should help Lori seek gallery representation in 2022.
  • LaQuesha Hill received support for custom clothing, shoes, accessories and housewares as part of Jameelah's Creations.
  • Arlene Holtz received support for her art practice, including art journals, cards and workshop facilitation.
  • Drew Kail received support for mindful living goods and décor as part of Camp Copeland Studio.
  • Maria Leppo received support for household products, jewelry and art, as part of SanfranEveryday.
  • Manuel Moya received support for marketing, event planning and video production workshops as part of M2 Productions, LLC.
  • Dan O'Donnell received support for portrait paintings as part of Portraits by Faj.
  • Sadik Roberts received support for value-centric marketing and advertising services as part of Pyramid Pgh, LLC.
  • Dominique Scaife received support for children's play dolls and accessories that celebrate children of color as part of KoolImageDolls.®
  • Samantha Soto received support for sustainable, handmade soaps, lip balm, toothpaste, lotions and deodorant as part of Compostable Artifacts.
  • Robert Thompson received support for marketing and design services for municipal governments, community development corporations and other civic-focused, nonprofit organizations, including a creative placemaking program, as part of +Public.

These grant programs are funded annually statewide by the PCA, a state agency under the Office of the Governor, and administered regionally by Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), PCA's statewide network of re-granting partners. The Arts Council is the PPA Partner for Allegheny, Beaver, Greene and Washington counties.

More information on Greater Pittsburgh Art Council grant programs is available here.

Photos for media to download available here