J. Louise Makary

2013 Pew Fellow

1/2: J. Louise Makary, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
2/2: J. Louise Makary, BùXíng, 2010. Photographs improvised in an 18th-century mansion are set to a nonsense conversation purchased from an online sound-effects library.

“Working collaboratively while still leading the inquiry, I see my role changing from sole author to facilitator.”

J. Louise Makary approaches film as a platform to explore, critique, and dissect narratives and their uses. “I am intrigued by their ability to connect us to history, to our values, and to other people,” she says. “But I believe that, compelling as they are, narratives must be looked at critically because they are almost always ideological.” Makary’s films combine dance, still photography, and experimental techniques, introducing unexpected, challenging elements into traditional narrative structure. She is particularly invested in historical narrative—a concern that arose during her time as artist-in-residence with the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks. She shot two subsequent films, Bùxíng and Paloma and Raúl in San Seriffe, at the Powel House, an eighteenth-century historical landmark building in Philadelphia. Her current work-in-progress is Sung’s Pilgrims, a film in which historical re-enactors find their role-playing options limited by race or ethnicity, and what can happen when an actor resists portraying the roles that historical record demands. In developing her script, Makary engaged in improvisational exercises with her actors and interviewed historians, costumers, and re-enactors. She was a 2014 summer artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine. Makary holds an MFA in film/video from Temple University.


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.

Integrating contemporary art within the Mütter Museum’s approach to medical humanities interpretation, an exhibition plan will be developed to focus on the centennial of Philadelphia’s influenza pandemic.

Dancer, choreographer, and Pew Fellow Raphael Xavier tells the autobiographical story of an artistic journey defined by sacrifice, passion, and transcendence.

An actor, director, stage designer, and playwright, Thaddeus Phillips “creates visual spectacles that take audiences to new frontiers.”

Collaborators & Colleagues

Eric Johnson is a librarian by training, currently serving as head of innovative media at the VCU Libraries of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Pew Fellow Yolanda Wisher leads a workshop exploring creative reflection in conjunction with the Center-funded Elephants on the Avenue, presented by Historic Germantown.

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.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month this April, we highlight the recent achievements of many of our Pew Fellow poets.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Meiyin Wang is the associate artistic producer of The Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival and Symposium in New York, which presents new and cutting-edge theatrical work from the U.S. and abroad.

Grants & Grantees

Karen E. Outen is a writer and a 1998 Pew Fellow.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Jenny-Sayre Ramberg is the Director of Planning and Design, Exhibits/Design, at the National Aquarium, Baltimore. In 2015, she served as a panelist in Exhibitions & Public Interpretation.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Nick Stuccio is President and Producing Director at FringeArts, and is the co-founder of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.