Gap Fund Update

DJ Aura: Gap Fund Artist Profile

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The Village launched the Emergency Gap Fund for Philadelphia’s Black Working Artists in April 2020 to support Philadelphia’s culture bearers, visionaries, connectors and creative entrepreneurs with unrestricted grants of $500 during the pandemic. These profiles showcase a few of the remarkable creators that make Philadelphia the city we are proud to call home.

DJ Aura behind her turntables

For DJ Aura, creating spaces for celebration + connection is serious business. 

“Joy is critical to our survival,” she says. “And I like to think of the spaces I create and the mixes I put out as a conduit for joy.” 

Aura provides music for parties, showcases, poetry readings, and curates her own events including parties like Femme Noir and The Love Below. Sofistifunk, her party w/colleagues Duiji Mshinda and John Morrison at Dahlak showcases her artistic vision: bring people together to make memories and share delight. 

“It’s a gumbo of so many different kinds of people who otherwise wouldn’t interact,” Aura says. “West Philly natives, generations deep, transplants, free spirited bohemian people who allowed the wind to carry them into the space, Dahlak regulars. They dance, genuinely interact with each other, follow each other on Instagram, and the party becomes their thing to do on a Saturday night.” 

A crowd of young people dance at Dahlak Paradise

In the face of COVID-19, Aura has adapted her practice as best she can, putting out mixes on Soundcloud, DJing live from her living room, and even booking Zoom birthday party gigs. “I feel like dancing is important right now. It’s such a thorough energy release.” 

As Aura adapts, she says, “the Gap Fund has been incredibly useful to me. I think a lot of people don’t consider the expense and operational costs of creatives. All the cool engaging fliers you see — I have to pay someone to do that. If I want to be paid for my work, then I need to pay others for their work as well. As long as I’m working, they’re working. So this fund multiplies throughout the creative community.” 

During the pandemic, Aura says, “I hope people understand how essential creatives are, and invest in them. When DJs play live they introduce you to music you’ve never heard before. They’re expanding your horizons, providing a soundtrack to get through the day. When we come out of this, I want the arts to be appreciated and invested in on a greater level.”

Check out Aura’s newest mix, Psalms of Earthseed [vol. 1] which creates “a space for joy, movement, & selfcare with an eclectic blend of deep house, afro-beats, Trap, & R&B” to delve further into her work. And follow her on Instagram for updates on new mixes and events.