Jennifer Kidwell

2016 Pew Fellow

1/5: Jennifer Kidwell, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/5: Jennifer Kidwell, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
3/5: Jennifer Kidwell. Photo by Ian Douglas.
4/5: Jennifer Kidwell in Underground Railroad Game. Photo by Johanna Austin.
5/5: Underground Railroad Game. Photo by Johanna Austin.

“The comedic sensibility of my work is inspired by American comedians of the 1970s who, like performance artists, created without restraint and so were able to crack open dangerous truths.”

Jennifer Kidwell’s (b. 1978) poignant, performer-driven theater work addresses the complexities of race and notions of American history with sharp intelligence and wry humor. Invested in probing challenging social and historical truths, Kidwell says her work is “concerned with discomfort and/or confusion around normative practices and systems.” With Scott Sheppard, she premiered and performed in Underground Railroad Game, lauded by The Philadelphia Inquirer as a “brilliant theatrical commentary on contemporary race relations.” A graduate of Pig Iron Theatre Company’s School for Advanced Performance Training, Kidwell created and appeared in the company’s Center-funded project, I Promised Myself to Live Faster, and The Wilma Theater’s production of Antigone. For the 2014 Whitney Biennial, she performed in Joe Scanlan’s provocative piece Dick’s Last Stand as the artist Donelle Woolford. She is co-artistic director of the theater company Lightning Rod Special and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based performance space JACK. She holds a BA in English and comparative literature from Columbia University.


In conjunction with FringeArts’ presentation of Macbeth by South African theater artist Brett Bailey, a series of film screenings will be held to explore the social, political, and artistic themes within the work.

The Object Lesson works in the margins between theater and visual art installation, between audience and actor. Since its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Object Lesson has received extensive praise, and was named a “Fringe First.”

Grants & Grantees

People’s Light & Theatre Company produced the regional premiere of this production by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Horton Foote.

Collaborators & Colleagues

As curator of visual arts at MASS MoCA since 2006, Susan Cross has organized a string of major exhibitions.

Born in Venezuela, Kotain works with various Philadelphia-area nonprofit cultural organizations to teach others about his Arab and Latin musical traditions.

Grants & Grantees

The Arden Theatre Company produced a musical that sketched the artistic life and thoughts of Impressionist painter Georges Seurat and his great-grandson, also an artist.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Dance and choreographer Megan Bridge co-directs < fidget >, a platform for her collaborative work with composer, designer, and musicologist Peter Price.

Originally created with Center support for the 2012 FringeArts Festival, Georgia Tech Arts now presents Thaddeus Phillips’ Red-Eye to Havre de Grace at the Ferst Center for the Arts.

Grants & Grantees

Fatu Gayflor (Pew Fellow, 2014) learned music, dance, and traditional arts at an early age in rural Liberia. She states that her goal is “to use singing and songwriting to build cooperation and community among Liberians.”

Makihara’s performance work blends percussion with dance-like body movement, exercising a rigorous, systematic, and practiced process of experimentation and repetition.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Cesar Garcia is the founding director and chief curator of the Mistake Room, Los Angeles. A curator, writer and educator, Garcia formerly served as the associate director and senior curator of LAXART.

Grants & Grantees

New York-based artist Demetrius Oliver’s Print Center exhibition consisted of live-feed video projections that drew from telescopes aimed at the constellation Canis Major.