Travis Macdonald

2014 Pew Fellow

1/4: Travis Macdonald, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/4: Travis Macdonald. Photo by JenMarie Macdonald.
3/4: Cover of Travis Macdonald’s The O Mission Repo (Fact-Simile Editions, 2008).
4/4: Excerpt from Travis Macdonald’s The O Mission Repo (Fact-Simile Editions, 2008).

“I believe that poetry, and perhaps every creative gesture, is an act of discovery. As such, it depends more on the map than the traveler.”

Travis Macdonald (b. 1980) questions authorship with poems that are lively and whimsical without being frivolous, and which offer critique and reflection of the contemporary moment. “My current artistic concerns surround the creation and application of poetic procedures onto, into, and around language,” he says. “These procedures can be both generative and manipulative.” In works such as The O Mission Repo, which is created from The 9/11 Commission Report, Macdonald sets out “with an eye towards sculptural reconstruction through reduction, [creating] a parallel narrative that is both reflective of, and independent of the original form.” In addition to his writing, Macdonald is the co-founder and co-editor of Fact-Simile Editions, a Philadelphia micro-press dedicated to publishing works of contemporary poetry that use mostly reclaimed or recycled materials. He received his M.F.A. from Naropa University in 2007.


Bassist, composer, and Pew Fellow Jymie Merritt discusses the early influence of Duke Ellington on his artistic practice, his interest in digital composition tools, and more.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news highlights, visual artist Candy Coated designs colorful bikes with the Mural Arts Program and Indego, and composer Jennifer Higdon prepares for the premiere of her opera, Cold Mountain in Santa Fe. The Chicago Tribune profiles fiction writer Max Apple, and Poet Afaa Michael Weaver receives the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Award.

An array of imaginative public installations and creative community programs led by local artists and historians introduced audiences to the rich architectural heritage of the three-mile Philadelphia Rail Park, and culminated in a summer 2016 installment of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s popular Pop Up Garden.

Grants & Grantees

In 2003 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 63 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

2014 Pew Fellow and poet Thomas Devaney considers poetry an act of exploration. He answers our questions on collaboration, daydreaming, and more.

Collaborators & Colleagues

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

Raphael Xavier presents Raphstravaganza, a contemporary circus-style performance featuring street performers, extreme BMX riders, acrobatic contortionists, and live music.

Meg Foley presents an exhibition of improvisational research and performance documenting up to 750 dances, which Foley performs on a daily basis at 3:15pm.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Mark Russell is the co-director of New York’s Under the Radar Festival, headquartered at the Public Theater.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Valerie Cassel Oliver is senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. She has organized numerous exhibitions that have earned national and international acclaim.

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

Collaborators & Colleagues

Elizabeth Smith is the executive director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in New York City.