Fellows Friday News: Michael Djupstrom’s Cherry Blossom Festival Commission, Beth Kephart and Caroline Lathan-Stiefel’s Work at the Airport, and More

1/5: Michael Djupstrom, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/5: Jenn McCreary, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
3/5: Chris Forsyth, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
4/5: Sonia Sanchez. Photo by Erika Vonie.
5/5: Micah Danges, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news highlights, composer Michael Djupstrom premieres a new piano quintet at the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, writer Beth Kephart and visual artist Caroline Lathan-Stiefel display works at the Philadelphia International Airport, and The New York Times reviews musician Chris Forsyth’s new album.

In the News

Musician Chris Forsyth’s (2011) new album with The Solar Motel Band, “The Rarity of Experience,” debuted to rave reviews from NPR, The New York Times, and others. On its “Songs We Love” segment, NPR called Forsyth “one of rock’s most lyrical guitar improvisers.” Read more>>

Kansas radio station KCUR interviewed ceramist Lauren Mabry (2015) about how the Pew Fellowship has impacted her practice, saying “Mabry feels as if Philadelphia has embraced her and her work, which has given her a sense of belonging and is allowing her to thrive.” Read more>>

Harpist Mary Lattimore (2014) released her new album “At the Dam,” garnering positive reviews from NPR, WHYY, and Pitchfork, which wrote that the record “bursts with ambition and ideas, offering a meditation on the ever-evolving relationship Lattimore has to her instrument.” The album’s track “Jimmy V” also topped BBC Radio’s “6 Music Recommends.” Read more>>

Poet Sonia Sanchez (1993) recently led a haiku workshop at the historic Johnson House in Germantown, in which attendees read and discussed 19th century works from abolitionist poets and participated in haiku writing exercises. In an article about the event, Newsworks quoted Sanchez as saying “you’ve got to listen…to the words said and unsaid, and the silence in between.” Read more>>

Photographer Eileen Neff (1994) was awarded an artist residency with Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest’s “Art in Nature” program, during which she will explore the natural geography and plant life in the Kentucky region. Read more>>

Premieres, Releases, and Events

The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. has commissioned a new piano quintet by composer Michael Djupstrom (2014), which will premiere on March 26 during the festival’s opening ceremony. Djupstrom’s orchestral work Suite from ‘The Wedding’ premiered during a recent concert by the ensemble Symphony in C at the Kimmel Center, Inc. Read more>>

On April 12, writer Beth Kephart (2005) releases her book This Is the Story of You, a young adult mystery about a storm that strikes the New Jersey shore. Kephart was recently featured on WHYY’s “Articulate with Jim Cotter” television segment, in which she spoke about how movement shapes her stories. Watch the segment>>

Choreographer Meg Foley (2012) presents action is primary, a two-week exhibition and performance series at Icebox Project Space, April 6-23. The installation explores Foley’s improvisational practice of “3:15 dances,” in which she and her collaborators perform a spontaneous dance at 3:15 p.m. each day that they document through photo, video, sound, and writing. Read more>>

Two Pew Fellows, poets CAConrad (2011) and Jenn McCreary (2013), participated in a conversation with visual artist Candy Chang about art and ritual. The event was hosted by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program as part of a series of public programs related to Chang’s new mural The Atlas of Tomorrow. Read more>>

The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia premiered Jennifer Higdon’s (1999) new choral composition, an interpretation of the hymn Alleluia written in honor of the Mendelssohn Club’s Conductor Laureate Alan Harler, at the Eastern Voices concert on March 5. In May, the ensemble will premiere new works by Pew Fellows James Primosch (1996) and Robert Maggio (1999). Read more>>

On View

Visual artist Caroline Lathan-Stiefel (2015) and writer Beth Kephart (2005) each have work on display at the Philadelphia International Airport. Lathan-Stiefel’s installation Eannead is an abstract, mixed-media interpretation of the human brain, on display in Terminal A. Kephart’s essays “Love: A Philadelphia Affair,” offering an insider’s perspective of the city from the daily commute on SEPTA’s rail line to the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, are on view in Terminal D. Read more>>

Visual artist Micah Danges (2015) was selected to participate in Chewing the Scenery, a group exhibition at Crane Arts’ Icebox Project Space curated by Jonathan Santoro and Meredith Sellers, on view through March 27. Read more>>

Common Touch, a multisensory exhibition curated by Teresa Jaynes (1999) and based on the Library Company of Philadelphia’s collection of pre-Braille texts for the visually impaired, opens on April 4. Read more>>



Michener Art Museum will present a symposium on the work of Sheeler, his time as a fashion photographer for Conde Nast, and the legacy of his artistic career.

Chamber Music Now commissioned new works by Philadelphia-based composers, inspired by the history of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Grants & Grantees

Within a welcoming educational environment, Al-Bustan supports the Arab-American community’s pursuit and affirmation of its cultural identity.

Hip-hop artists and scholars will explore and unpack the experience of racism through music and lyrics.

PRISM Quartet will premiere new works by Guggenheim Fellow Steven Mackey, Berlin prize recipient Ken Ueno, and Greek composer and conductor Stratis Minakakis, as part of Color Theory.

Grants & Grantees

“I’m interested in the landscape for political reasons, environmental reasons…things that have to do with us and our society right now,” says painter and 2008 Pew Fellow Mauro Zamora.

Founded in 1910, International House Philadelphia (IHP) presents cultural programs in the areas of music, exhibitions, and cinema—the latter being its flagship program.

Grants & Grantees

PRISM will explore the artistic possibilities that arise at the intersection of saxophone music, technology, and time-based visual art, to lay the foundation for an evening-length production.

Poet Afaa Michael Weaver publishes a new book of poetry, visual artist Alex Da Corte’s video installation Blue Moon is projected on Times Square billboards, and filmmaker Cheryl Hess receives a 2016 Tribeca Documentary Grant.

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is a service organization that represents the interests of 400 arts, culture, and heritage organizations in the Philadelphia area.

Grants & Grantees

Internationally noted artist Michael Rakowitz will weave the stories of local Iraq War veterans and Iraqi refugees, cultural traditions, music, and found sound into a participatory performance at Independence Mall, combined with a ten-episode radio program for a national audience, providing an intimate, multifaceted, and sustained portrait of Iraq.

Raphael Xavier and Eileen Neff receive Guggenheim Fellowships, exhibitions by visual artists Alex Da Corte and Ryan Trecartin make a splash in national venues, and Tania Isaac and Meg Foley each present new dance works in Philadelphia.