Awards Celebration

For the past 38 years, the Arts + Business Council has hosted an annual awards ceremony to celebrate its mission and increase support to enable the organization to expand its impact and reach. On May 23rd, 2023, the Arts + Business Council honored projects that demonstrated an impactful collaboration between the arts and business sectors.

Thank you for attending the 2023 Arts + Business Council Awards Celebration

Supporting the Arts + Business Council’s annual awards celebration raises crucial funding to enable the organization to continue its impact and expand its reach. Thank you for your support.

2023 Arts + Business Council Awards

Art has the power to move, shake, and shape the world around us. It is at the intersection of many things, including business. When arts and business are paired together, we begin to see the transformation our region is striving towards in our neighborhoods and workplaces. Powerful partnerships can create more access and resources for diverse artists, showcase communities by sharing their unique stories, and give marginalized Philadelphians paid, hands-on career training. This is the power of the arts + business communities joined hand-in-hand.

Each year, the Arts + Business Council honors projects that continue to demonstrate an impactful collaboration between the arts and business sectors. We learn more about the works of the year’s awardees and businesses advancing the arts, appreciate live performances, and enjoy an evening filled with drinks, light fare, and mingling with the Arts + Business Council’s community, including creative and business leaders, advocates, and artists from throughout the region.

Moore College of Art & Design
1916 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

4:00-4:30PM | Registration
4:30-5:30PM | Awards Ceremony Program
5:30-7:30PM | Reception

Individual Artists | $75
Artists who primarily work independently and their primary occupation is an artist.

Nonprofit Professionals | $95
Individuals whose primary occupation is with a nonprofit organization.

Business and Government Professionals $125
Individuals whose primary occupation is with a company or government entity.

Dress code is business, creative or cultural attire.

2023 Honorees


In collaboration with WXPN, WRTI, and REC Philly.

Black Music City recognizes and honors the influence of Philadelphia Black music history by awarding grants for new work to Black creatives working in a range of mediums who are inspired by that rich musical history. The Black Music City project amplifies the voices of artists, pushes new creative works into the world, and expands the social capital circles to which grantee artists have access. Each cohort ends with a professional, live event (free and open to the public) that celebrates and promotes the completed grantee projects.

Since 2020, Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Philadelphia Fellowship for Black Artists, sponsored by TD Bank, has been designed to fund, foster, and elevate the important work of Black artists of all mediums residing within Philadelphia. Through a seven-month cohort, Mural Arts guides 15-20 artists striving towards success through a robust public art curriculum while creating opportunities for collaboration with community members and other artists working on active Mural Arts projects.

The Preservation Trades Center hires Philadelphians underrepresented in the skilled trades — returning citizens, women, people of color — into paid, hands-on career training. Ten individuals with limited experience — under- or unemployed, or previously unable to enter trade unions — join our four-week Masonry Academy co-taught by a professional mason and a master conservator. Participants learn a craft, gain mentors, participate in professional development, and gain industry exposure through field trips and lectures. Successful graduates are offered employment and sponsored into a labor union such as the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local #1.

2023 Featured Artists


Black Music City Grantee

Rising out of West Philadelphia, Nashirah is a selector who knows no boundaries. Starting out at a small family-owned restaurant, Nashirah quickly worked her way up, securing spots as a resident DJ for some of the most prominent venues and bars in Philadelphia. Nashirah has founded popular events such as Beats and Babes and Interna$hional Bounce, building a reputation for playing up-tempo music ranging from staccato club music to sounds of the African Diaspora.


Black Music City Grantee

Fareed is an award-winning trumpet player, educator, composer, and producer. During his time at Temple University, he was the recipient of The Presser Award and performed with the university jazz band, which earned two GRAMMY nominations. He is the bandleader of the Fareed Simpson Quintet and co-leader of Brothers.Ink. He has also produced The Second
Line Bebop Series, a short film series, and he was the director of the short film Saxophone City. Additionally, he is an educator serving on the adjunct faculty at Temple University.


Black Music City Grantee

The Julia is a 22-year-old singer-songwriter based in Philadelphia. A songwriter at heart, Julia’s music blends pop, jazz, R&B, and folk, with dashes of electronic production. Grounded in poignant lyricism inspired by songwriters such as Kevin Garrett, Amy Winehouse, and Hozier, Julia writes about family, love, betrayal, and grappling with the concept of “the self.” Fresh off a national tour opening for Australian ambient pop artist Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Julia is gearing up for a series of releases throughout the rest of 2023 while continuing to perform.


Artist Directory Member
2023 Business on Board Host Organization

The Established in Philadelphia in 1969 by Baba Robert Crowder, Kulu Mele is the fruit of many people’s dreams, the nation’s longest-enduring African dance company. For 50+ years, Kulu Mele has embodied excellence in West African, Cuban, and African Diasporan traditions, including contemporary American Hip Hop. Kulu Mele performs works from their repertoire year-round, bringing culturally meaningful African dance, drum, and culture to communities, schools, programs, and festivals throughout Philadelphia and beyond. Staples from the repertoire are also reinterpreted; the company continues to grow and evolve. /span>


Philadelphia Fellowship for Black Artists Fellow, in collaboration with Ife Williams.

Yinka is the founder of “Crafting Community,” which fosters social connection through shared artistic experiences. She completed a pottery intensive with master potters in Ghana, has participated in many prestigious residencies, and is currently building the OYA Studio Museum, a host residency space that supports the work of Black ceramic artists.

Ife was the inaugural Sculptor-in-Residence at the Paul Abrams Endowment Project, where she developed an apprenticeship program for teens, led workshops for Educators, and created original artworks using traditional stone carving techniques. She currently works with thrown and altered porcelain wall installations.

Past Honorees

In its 38 years, the Arts + Business Council Awards have taken different forms to best recognize leaders who embody and foster cross-sector collaboration between creative and business communities. Along the way, some award categories have been added to highlight specific verticals within our communities while other categories have been retired to make room for new, innovative ideas.

2022 Honorees


For their Love & Grit Storefronts Project, which aimed to reinvigorate and beautify the city’s empty storefronts by transforming them into art installations.


For the Everyday Places Artist Partnerships project, an initiative of Barnes West–a collaboration between the Barnes and People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation–that connected social impact artists with neighborhood businesses to engage residents in art-making activities, sparking creativity, hope, and healing.


For their EMERGING MARKETS project, a two-year series launched in May 2020, which presented informal musical events where Philadelphians shop, work, and play, and broke down barriers to access to classical music.



Visionary Sponsors

Independence Blue Cross
PECO, An Exelon Company



Sponsorship opportunities available. Contact Liz Thompson at [email protected]


Tickets and program book ad purchases can be processed on the Chamber’s event page once updated. Please direct any questions regarding the event, sponsorship, or program book ad opportunities to Liz Thompson, Director, Arts + Business Council, at [email protected].

Projects must meet the minimum criteria:

1) The project was executed and/or active on or after May 2021.

2) The project primarily serves the 11-county Greater Philadelphia area.

3) The project is a collaboration between at least one artist, arts organization, or group, and at least one business.

Additional preferred criteria include:

1) A history or relationship with the Arts + Business Council.

2) How much the project centers inclusion, diversity, equity, access, and belonging.

3) A plan for sustainability.

4) All parties involved are based in Philadelphia.

Anyone; the nominator does not need to have a direct connection to the project.

The Arts + Business Council’s advisory board will evaluate and score nominations based on how well the project meets the minimum and preferred criteria.