“All my life, my parents drummed Ukrainian art, Ukrainian this, Ukrainian that. I was always connected. It was home. So when I went to Ukraine for the first time I said, ‘Wow, I’m really here. There is a country called Ukraine.’”
Vera Nakonechny (b. 1947) is a Ukrainian embroiderer, bead worker, and weaver. She came to the United States as a teenager and continued studying the various techniques of Ukrainian embroidery her mother taught her as a young girl. She became a part of the Ukrainian-American community in Pennsylvania, where she continued to expand her skills as an embroiderer. In 1991 Nakonechny was able to return to her homeland, where she conducted archival research and studied with master craftspeople. The love for her culture gave her the inspiration to learn all she could about the various styles and techniques so that they could be preserved in their original pure form from different regions of the Ukraine.
In 2007 Nakonechny received a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Folk Arts. In 2003 and 2006 she received grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to apprentice with Master Yuriy Melnychuk from the Honchar Museum, Kyiv, Ukraine. She has also studied with Masters Zenovia Shulha from the College of Textiles and Arts in Lviv, Ukraine, and Eudokia Sorokhaniuk and Stephanie Shumska-Mayer. Her work has been exhibited at such places as the Down Jersey Folklife Center, Millville, NJ; the Joseph Kobrinskiy Museum in Kolomyia, Ukraine; the Philadelphia Folklore Project; the Ukrainian Museum, New York, NY; and the Ukrainian Festival, Washington, D.C.
Visual artist Ken Lum is a professor in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dean Otto is the associate curator of film/video at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN.
lê thị diễm thúy is a Vietnamese-American author, poet, and performance artist whose work explores the role of the body as the site of memory.
Jan Yager is a visual artist and a 2003 Pew Fellow.
Orchestra 2001 commissioned and premiered works by three composers: Pulitzer Prize winners Paul Moravec and George Crumb, and Guggenheim Fellow Robert Maggio.
Raphael Xavier presents Raphstravaganza, a contemporary circus-style performance featuring street performers, extreme BMX riders, acrobatic contortionists, and live music.
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.
Pew Fellow Yolanda Wisher leads a workshop exploring creative reflection in conjunction with the Center-funded Elephants on the Avenue, presented by Historic Germantown.
Filmmaker and Pew Fellow Heidi Saman recalls the first film that influenced her practice, what inspires her to tell stories of the immigrant experience, and more.
Pew Fellow Yolanda Wisher was appointed the third Philadelphia Poet Laureate by Mayor Jim Kenney on February 5, 2016.
Astrid Bowlby is a visual artist and a 2005 Pew Fellow.
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.