Frances McElroy

2009 Pew Fellow

Frances McElroy, 2009 Pew Fellow. Directed by Glenn Holsten.

“I’m inspired by my subjects, which is why I want to make something about them.”

Frances McElroy (b. 1946) creates elegantly crafted documentaries that delve deeply into personal stories. Her work is particularly inspired by the accounts of individuals who have been transformed by unexpected forces. She is the founder and executive director of Shirley Road Productions, whose mission is to create educational and cultural programs that are innovative in content, point of view, and production. She has produced and directed a wide range of award-winning documentaries, as well as educational and cultural videos for various nonprofit organizations. McElroy’s work has been screened at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; 7th Constellation Change Screen Dance Festival, London; the Latin American Film Festival, Silver Spring, MD; Duke University, Durham, NC; and the Melbourne Latino Film Festival, Australia, among others. She received her B.A. from Rosemont College, Bryn Mawr, PA.


Pew Fellow and former Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez leads a poetry workshop exploring the history of Johnson House, Philadelphia’s only intact stop on the Underground Railroad.

Equilateral, a novel by Pew Fellow Ken Kalfus, was chosen by The Daily Beast as its 2013 Novel of the Year.

Grants & Grantees

Toshi Makihara is a 2013 Pew Fellow whose performance work effortlessly blends percussion with dance-like body movement.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Karina Muñiz is currently the political director of Mujeres Unidas y Activas, a grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women based in California.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Julie Carr is the author of several books of poetry, co-publisher of Counterpath Press, and a 2011 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

We recap our recent gathering of Fellows, Rebecca Rutstein is selected for an “Artist-at-Sea” residency with the Schmidt Ocean Institute aboard the Falkor research vessel, and musicians Mary Lattimore and Chris Forsyth release new albums.

Dancer, choreographer, and 2013 Pew Fellow Raphael Xavier takes hip-hop techniques from the street to the stage and tells the autobiographical story defined by sacrifice, passion, and transcendence.

Collaborators & Colleagues

John King is a composer, guitarist, and violist and the recipient of the 2009 Alpert Award in the Arts for Music.

The Philadelphia Folklore Project supported the artists’ work on a multimedia piece that commemorated nine Africans who were once enslaved in the President’s House in Philadelphia.

Grants & Grantees

In 2007, the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 83 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

Collaborators & Colleagues

John Corbett is a writer, musician, radio host, teacher, record producer, concert promoter, and, with co-owner Jim Dempsey, of Corbett vs. Dempsey art gallery in Chicago.

Pew Fellow Raphael Xavier takes his Center-supported autobiographical dance, The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance, to Chicago.