Mayor Michael Nutter has named poet Frank Sherlock (Pew Fellow, 2013) as Philadelphia’s second-ever poet laureate. He hails Sherlock as one of the city’s “most talented homegrown artists.” He’ll serve for two years, during which time his duties will include mentoring young poets, official readings, and community-service work. He will succeed Sonia Sanchez (Pew Fellow, 1993) as poet laureate.
Sherlock calls himself lucky to receive the honor, saying, “This city raised me, beat the hell out of me a few times, and still reveals the magic of Philadelphia Otherly Love.” He views poetry as a call to action and a tool for encouraging interactions and conversations within public spaces. “Each poem can emerge as an insistent act when it does not simply describe existing certainties, but develops new forms, tones, and images that transvalue and transform,” he says.
The poet laureate position was conceived by the mayor in 2011 and is organized by the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy. The committee includes a range of writers, publishers, and cultural officials.
Michael O’Reilly is a producer and a 1994 Pew Fellow.
Linda Shearer has been the Executive Director of Houston’s Project Row Houses since 2009.
Choreographer and Pew Fellow Merián Soto on legacy, her interest in the body and its relationship to consciousness, and more.
Stephen Berg (1934–2014) was a poet and a 1993 Pew Fellow.
Bristol Riverside Theatre is a vibrant, engaged community theater in the northeast reaches of the Philadelphia area.
Pew Fellow and visual artist Benjamin Volta leads an artmaking workshop as part of Historic Germantown’s ongoing Center-funded project Elephants on the Avenue.
Astrid Bowlby is a visual artist and a 2005 Pew Fellow.
Nette Compton is senior director of ParkCentral and City Park Development for the Trust for Public Land in New York City.
Brian Rogers is a director, video artist, co-founder, and artistic director of the Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City, Queens.
A performance and newly commissioned album-length musical composition by Jace Clayton will take its inspiration from the artwork and record collection of Albert Barnes—including a recording which is credited with introducing African American spirituals to the wider world—offering audiences a way to reconnect with and to reimagine the Barnes Foundation collection through sound.
A world premiere, music-theater work by playwright Colman Domingo and directed by Patricia McGregor will offer a fresh perspective on the artistic legacy of vocalist and jazz pianist Nat “King” Cole by bringing to light both his on- and off-stage personas, as well as telling the story behind the 1957 demise of his groundbreaking national television variety show amidst America’s growing civil rights movement.
Ezra Shales is an art historian, curator, and artist whose research, publications, and exhibitions explore the intersections of design, craft, and art in modern and contemporary culture.