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City of Asylum Awarded $100,000 Humanities Access Challenge Grant from NEH

  City of Asylum’s Global Literary Programming Recognized by National Endowment for the Humanities

PITTSBURGH, PA —The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced that City of Asylum will be one of 34 organizations to receive an award in the NEH’s first-ever Humanities Access Grant program. This award of $100,000 will provide City of Asylum with two years of match-based funding and will support City of Asylum’s core multi-cultural literary and humanities programming as well as its community outreach.  

Humanities Access Grants help support humanities programs that benefit youth, communities of color, and economically disadvantaged populations.  City of Asylum was among the few non-academic institutions to receive this prestigious award, a testament to both of the quality of City of Asylum’s programs and the effectiveness of its outreach to the diverse residents of its community.  

THe NEH award supports programs that bring community members together to engage directly with authors, journalists, and public intellectuals in extensive Q & A and moderated public discussions to create “a vision of a possible future.” All City of Asylum programs are free to the public.  

“NEH Humanities Access  grants were mainly awarded to universities and museums,” said Silvia Duarte, City of Asylum’s Assistant Director. “The offer of this grant speaks to the high caliber of our literary-based humanities programs, as well as the access we provide to the diverse communities of Pittsburgh.“

Three of the thirty-four NEH awards were for Western Pennsylvania organizations, which recognizes the variety and strength of local humanities programs and their commitment to outreach. Other Western Pennsylvania recipients of NEH funding this cycle include Chatham University and Slippery Rock University.

The NEH Humanities Access Grant and will provide City of Asylum the opportunity to:

  • Increase existing humanities programming to 24  programs per year.
  • Add 12 new annual programs focused on specific topics of cultural importance.
  • Continue to attract writers and literary thought-leaders from all over the world.
  • Further its mission to build a community in which creative free expression is exercised, celebrated and defended as a basic human right in a democratic society.

The timing of this award coincides with the opening of City of Asylum’s new facility, City of Asylum @ Alphabet City. Formerly the site of the historic Masonic Building, it is located on the Garden Theater block of Pittsburgh’s Northside. The $12.5 million project culminates eight years of work by City of Asylum to establish the Northside and Pittsburgh as a global cultural hub and expand appreciation of other cultures.  


For more information, contact:

Ayne Terceira

City Of Asylum





Since 2004, City of Asylum has provided sanctuary for exiled writers endangered in their native lands.  In a row of Northside homes, whose facades are covered with texts in many languages, City of Asylum provides the writers with stipends and the support to become self-sustaining and engaged members of the community. Building on that mission, City of Asylum has grown into a dynamic arts organization that has showcased over 300 writers, artists and musicians from 63 different countries. In 2016 it presented over 70 programs to diverse audiences of over 5,000 people. City of Asylum’s hallmark is accessibility and diversity, and all performances were free to the public. City of Asylum is also the U.S. headquarters for the International Cities of Refuge Network.   

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