Our Pew Fellows represent a diverse range of artists, ranging from playwrights to poets, visual artists to filmmakers, and composers to choreographers. In 2015, Fellows performed and exhibited their work at theaters, festivals, and in museums around the globe, received prestigious awards, and garnered international media attention. Here are a few of the year’s highlights.
Awards and Accolades
Pew Fellows continue to be recognized for their artistic achievements with awards and fellowships. In theater, Pig Iron Theatre Company co-founder Quinn Bauriedel (2002) was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship, while theater artist and playwright James Ijames (2015) was the recipient of the Philadelphia Theatre Company McNally Play Award for his play White.
Poet Afaa Michael Weaver (1998) was honored with the 2015 Phyllis Wheatley Book Award in Poetry, for his book City of Eternal Spring, and CAConrad (2011) was the recipient of the Believer Magazine poetry award for his book ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness.
The Center awarded five new artist residencies to Pew Fellows in 2015, supported by our ongoing partnership with the Alliance of Artists Communities. The recipients are poet Laynie Browne (2014); poet Thomas Devaney (2014); filmmaker Ted Passon (2014); choreographer Jumatatu Poe (2012); and poet J. C. Todd (2014).
Visual artist Alex Da Corte (2012) debuted a new solo show, Die Hexe, at Luxembourg & Dayan in New York City. The exhibition garnered national media attention, including W Magazine, Artforum, and The New York Times, which wrote that the show “dazzles at every turn…sustains an impressive, even Koonsian sense of detail and beauty.”
Visual artist Ryan Trecartin (2009) co-curated the 2015 New Museum Triennial, with reviews from Gotham Magazine, Blouin Artinfo, and Vulture, which called Trecartin “one of the best artists of his generation.”
Judith Schaechter’s (1992) stained-glass work, The Birth of Eve, was acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Nora Atkinson, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, called Schaechter “one of the foremost innovators, teachers, and practitioners in her field.”
Visual artist Pepón Osorio (2006) collaborated with Temple Contemporary and former Fairhill Elementary School students, families, and community members to create reFORM, an immersive exhibition and discussion space that was featured in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Al Día, which called reFORM “an art installation that goes deep into the social and emotional effects of displacement.”
Nearly 60 of Emmet Gowin’s (1994) photographs were hand-selected by the artist to be displayed at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York for his show Hidden Likeness. In a review, The New York Times argued that Hidden Likeness “all but redefines the genre” of artist-selected exhibitions.
Several poets and authors published new books this year, including Laynie Browne’s (2014) Scorpyn Odes (Kore Press), Thomas Devaney’s (2014) Runaway Goat Cart (Hanging Loose Press), Major Jackson’s (1995) Roll Deep: Poems (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.), Ken Kalfus’ (2009) Coup de Foudre: A Novella and Stories (Bloomsbury Publishing), and Beth Kephart’s (2005) One Thing Stolen (Chronicle Books).
Performances and Premieres
Musical premieres came from Jennifer Higdon (1999), whose first opera Cold Mountain premiered in a sold-out run with Santa Fe Opera and was called “proof that we are living in a Golden Age of American opera” by The Washington Post; and Kinan Abou-afach (2013), whose composition referenced Andalusian poetry as part of the Center-funded project Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music, presented by Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture.
Theater artist Geoff Sobelle’s (2006) intimate, solo theater performance, The Object Lesson, toured across the country, garnering critical acclaim and a New York Dance & Performance Bessie Award for “Outstanding Visual Design.” Thaddeus Phillips’ (2002) one-man show 17 Border Crossings received its New York premiere at BAM Fisher, with The New York Times noting the work’s “inventive approach to staging.”
Locally, Pig Iron Theater Company founders Dito van Reigersberg, Dan Rothenberg, and Quinn Bauriedel (2002) premiered the Center-funded show, I Promised Myself to Live Faster at FringeArts, and playwright Bruce Graham’s (1993) Rizzo premiered at Christ Church Neighborhood House as part of Theatre Exile’s season.
Musician Pablo Batista (2000) and Kùlú Mèlé African Dance and Drum Ensemble led by Dorothy Wilkie (2007) performed as part of Pope Francis’ remarks on immigration at Independence Mall during the papal visit to Philadelphia.
A new documentary about poet and activist Sonia Sanchez (1993), BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, debuted at International House as part of the BlackStar Film Festival. Pew Fellows Janet Goldwater (2005) and Barbara Attie (2005) co-directed and produced the film, which features appearances by Questlove, Talib Kweli, Ursula Rucker, Ayana Mathis, Amiri Baraka, John Bracey, Nikki Giovanni, Bryonn Bain, Imani Uzuri, and many others.
In 2002 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 57 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.
Over its 18-year history, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Lively Arts Series has engaged local and national artists to share their work with the college and surrounding Blue Bell community.
Raphael Xavier presents Raphstravaganza, a contemporary circus-style performance featuring street performers, extreme BMX riders, acrobatic contortionists, and live music.
In 1992 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 16 visual arts, dance, and music artists in the greater Philadelphia region, including Odean Pope and Judith Schaechter.
The 2011 FringeArts Festival featured the American premiere of Improbable Theatre’s production, which took inspiration from the iconic puppet show Punch and Judy.
Filmmaker and Pew Fellow Rea Tajiri on documenting the aging process, her affinity for storytelling, and her most treasured possession.
Noted abstract painter Thomas Nozkowski is known for his richly colored and intimately scaled paintings.
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center) today announced 53 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. The 2016 awards total more than $10 million and provide funding for 12 new Pew Fellowships, 36 Project grants, and 5 Advancement grants.
Daisy Fried is a poet and a 1998 Pew Fellow.
Since 2011, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has provided recent Pew Fellows with opportunities to take sojourns outside of the Philadelphia area, for residencies intended to push their artistic practice and expand their horizons.
David Ellsworth is a visual artist and a 1999 Pew Fellow.
Journalism and first-person storytelling will intersect in a multi-media project featuring a series of public radio broadcasts and podcasts, presented in collaboration with First Person Arts.