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Webinar → Are Foundations Obsolete? A Brief History of White Supremacy in Philanthropy

June 30 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

This webinar covers the racist history of Philanthropy, the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, and the toxic culture of liberal niceties contained within. Uplifting the voices of INCITE and others from their book “The Revolution Will Not Be Funded” and our own experiences at Access Philanthropy working as a bridge between Foundations and Nonprofits, we hope to lay bare the inner workings and ideology that make up the philanthropic system. The pillars of this system are rooted in white supremacy and must be recognized and challenged in order to imagine a new organizational survival ecology that is truly just. This webinar seeks to be a contextual and informational tool in the service of bridging the gaps between our current system and a new future. There will be a brief Q & A at the end of the session. Attendees will receive a promo code which they can use to access Access Philanthropy’s MN Arts and Culture Funders Database for free for three months.

We acknowledge the significant past and ongoing labor by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) arts groups, arts administrators, and artists to dismantle oppressive practices and systems within our performing arts community, and we seek to complement, highlight, and support this work as we move forward.

The title of this session pays homage to Angela Y. Davis’s 2003 work “Are Prisons Obsolete?” which invites us to imagine a more just future.


You can view this webinar for free, or you can pay for this programming (and support future programming!) using the option below. Please choose the amount that is right for you.





Walken Schweigert (he/him) is a queer/trans actor, musician, composer and director from St. Paul, MN. A Jerome Foundation Fellow, he is a 2009 graduate of the Dell’ Arte International School for Physical Theatre, and a 2006 graduate of the Perpich Center for Arts Education (Theatre Major). He has worked with the Taller Xuchialt and Ronda de Barro in Leon, Nicaragua; toured with and been mentored by the internationally renowned Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, MA; and has busked on the streets of 11 countries. He has facilitated Theatre of the Oppressed workshops across the Americas, and co-founded an all-transgender theatrical/dance/circus ensemble entitled the Gay Unicorn Triplettes (GUT). A classically trained violinist, he has been part of over a dozen musical ensembles of varying genres, from klezmer to metal. Currently, he performs with the Occult-inspired, witch-pop, Detroit-based band Crune. In 2008 he founded the Unseen Ghost Brigade, an ensemble that toured an original piece of street theatre down the Mississippi River on a raft they built themselves. In its next incarnation, the ensemble was renamed Children of the Wild to produce Schweigert’s first opera The Wastelands. In 2017 Children of the Wild became Open Flame Theatre, and moved to Philadelphia Community Farm, in Osceola WI, where the theatre and Schweigert are in residence indefinitely. Walken was also recently a recipient of a JFund Award from the American Composer’s Forum for the composition of his second opera, The Garden, to be produced by Open Flame Theatre and Philadelphia Community Farm. Walken has worked with Access Philanthropy as a researcher and the database manager for 9 years investigating funders, foundations, and grants.

Sea Thomas is a queer artist, dancer, and theatre-maker currently living in Minneapolis. As a recent Mount Holyoke graduate majoring in Dance and Critical Movement Studies, Sea has often found themself at the intersection of art and social justice. Currently, Sea is an ensemble member with Open Flame Theatre, an all-transgender theatre company based in the Twin Cities, as well as serving as an administrative arts assistant with Alanna Morris-Van Tassel Productions. Their recent projects include a performance role in Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform) by Félix González-Torres, presented in The Paradox of Stillness exhibit at the Walker Art Center, as well as a section in 20% Theatre’s 2020 production of The Naked I with their solo work horsegirl / farmboy — both of these projects have been postponed due to Covid-19. Sea is continually interested in the crosshairs of art and empowerment, and finds personal solace in farming and taking naps in the sun.


This event will take place via Zoom Webinar. Attendees will be able to engage with the webinar via chat and typed Q&A features, but not via microphone and/or camera. Attendees may also join by phone. If you have questions about the webinar technology, or anticipate barriers to participation, please reach out to hannah@mntheateralliance.org for assistance.

Online content is more accessible for some and less accessible for others. This session will be recorded for access after the event date for folks with limited bandwidth (internet or otherwise).

This event will be live captioned in the Zoom window and via StreamText in a separate browser window by Paradigm Reporting. Captioning is also available on the recording via YouTube.



June 30
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Event Category:




Minnesota Theater Alliance