As theaters and arts organizations began to go dark, creative employees were being laid off, and many working artists (60% of those we surveyed) were ineligible or unaware that sources of relief funding were available for them, the Cultural Alliance was able to jump into action. Thanks to the success of our fundraising in 2019 and the leadership of our staff and board, we were able to help fill these gaps in funding, and provide a network of support to partner organizations.

Warkenda Williams-Casey has had a vision for the future of dance in Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania. In 2019 her dream became actualized as she founded Black Swan Ballet Company, to encourage ballet dancers of color in their dance training and experience as well as changing the face and body of the ballet world for the better.  As a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Preserving Diverse Cultures Grant and an artist emergency relief grant from the Cultural Alliance in 2020, Warkenda speaks about the challenges she has overcome in the world of dance, and the power the arts have to affect lives as we continue to navigate the pandemic.

“The artist relief grant was truly a lifeline for my family and my practice.”

Warkenda Williams Casey, Founder, Black Swan Ballet Company

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