Al-Bustan Named Knight Cities Challenge Winner

Posted On:
12 June, 2017

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture has been named a winner of the 2017 Knight Cities Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We are honored to be among thirty-three projects selected from across the county, and one of five Philadelphia-based organizations.

The Knight Cities Challenge seeks ideas that make cities more vibrant places to live and work, focusing on three key drivers of city success: keeping and attracting talent, expanding economic opportunity and creating a culture of civic engagement. This year’s challenge received more than 4,500 applications.

With this support, Al-Bustan will be able to implement Tabadul: [Re]Presenting and [Ex]Changing Our America — creating cultural exchange forums that activate Thomas Paine Plaza with a public art installation displaying youth expressions of identity across from City Hall.

Giving Philadelphia residents more ways to meet and learn from each other, while encouraging greater connection to place is essential to city-building. Through this project, Al Bustan will help advance these goals, creating a space for conversation amongst diverse groups and highlighting our rich cultural community. — Patrick Morgan, Knight Foundation Program Director for Philadelphia

Photography set up in courtyard of NEHS: "A" for America
Photo sessions set up in courtyard of NEHS: “A” for America

The project will premiere “An Immigrants’ Alphabet” featuring twenty-six 8’x10’ banners co-created by internationally renowned photographer/educator Wendy Ewald and students at Northeast High School to be displayed all around the exterior of the Municipal Services Building.

The surrounding plaza will be activated through a series of pop-up activities engaging the public around questions of belonging, identity, and immigration. These events will be led by artists and youth and will incorporate music, poetry and art.

As the public art spurs cross-cultural exchange and discussions around immigration and integration, Tabadul attempts to address how to represent and engage with the diversity and complexity of people in our city/country in light of growing xenophobia and nativism.

This initiative is particularly timely as Philadelphia is a city seeking to be a model for inclusivity and tolerance with Mayor Kenney committed to retaining Philadelphia’s status as a Sanctuary City and the Office of Immigrant Affairs prioritizing serving the needs of immigrant families through advocacy and inclusion in citywide economic development policies.

Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more visit,

About the Knight Cities Challenge – The Knight Cities Challenge supports ideas that make the 26 communities where Knight Foundation invests more vibrant places to live and work. The challenge focuses on ideas that advance one or all of three key drivers of city success: attracting and keeping talented people, expanding economic opportunity, and creating a culture of civic engagement. For more visit,