The Arts + Business Council is proud to announce the 2021 Arts + Business Council Leadership Award honoree, Aviva Kapust, Executive Director, The Village of Arts and Humanities, who is being awarded for forging a new, legible path for arts organizations to engage in community economic development and advocating for equitable revitalization in underserved urban communities.

Aviva KapustAviva is a designer, social innovator, and cross-sector community developer. Her work brings community members together with artists, activists, public and private enterprises, and multidisciplinary experts in order to bring about equitable social change.

During her 8-year tenure as Executive Director at The Village of Arts and Humanities, a 36-year organization rooted in the deeply disinvested Fairhill-Hartranft neighborhood of North Philadelphia, Aviva has assembled and led a top-tier team of dedicated individuals who are working to ensure that Black residents of the Fairhill-Hartranft neighborhood are supported to lead, steward, and benefit from neighborhood revitalization.

Aviva has been able to move local and national funders into values-aligned partnerships with The Village which has, in turn, helped influence the way the funders design their grant programs and engage with other grantees. She is a go-to advisor to both the philanthropy and nonprofit sectors as they work to create the socio-economic conditions necessary for delivering consistent ground-level arts and community development efforts in Philadelphia and across the US. Aviva is deeply committed to forging new, legible pathways for arts organizations and groups to engage in community economic development, and for CDCs to maintain relevance and resilience in the face of societal shifts.

During her tenure, The Village has re-established itself again as a center for social innovation and as a trusted community anchor that is able to respond to new ideas, challenges, and opportunities in real-time, with and for the community it serves. She’s lifted up and honored the legacies, histories, and lessons of those who came before—Lily Yeh, Arthur Hall, James “Big Man” Maxton, El Sawyer, and so many others.

During the last 24 months, Aviva has envisioned, assembled, and begun to deploy more than $8m in arts-rooted neighborhood investments that create shared-equity homeownership opportunities for extremely low-income residents; support community members to design and implement alternatives to policing; provide job skills training in ceramic tile setting and production; and offer below-market-rate studio space and $167k in emergency funds for Black working artists. Aviva has been the driving force—in collaboration with her co-directors, staff, and board of directors—behind the organization’s “NextGen Village” project which is currently underway and includes restoring and upgrading The Village’s iconic creative campus to serve generations to come.

[Virtual] Arts + Business Council Awards
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Virtual Event

The Arts + Business Council’s annual awards program honors leaders in the Philadelphia region who embody and foster cross-sector collaboration between creative and business communities. Join us in celebration of this year’s honorees along with creative and business community leaders from throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.