Since 2011, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has provided recent Pew Fellows with opportunities to take sojourns outside of the Philadelphia area, for residencies intended to push their artistic practice and expand their horizons. The Pew Fellows selected for these residencies find themselves in new surroundings—creative communities that nurture artistic expression and exploration, located in California, Alberta, and under the big sky of Wyoming—thanks to a partnership between the Center, the Alliance of Artists Communities, and three North American artist residency programs. An additional partnership with the MacDowell Colony, a renowned community and residency program rooted in artistic excellence, also gives one Pew Fellow each year the opportunity to spend time as The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellow in Residence at one of the oldest and most prestigious residency programs in the country.
In an effort to connect Pew Fellows with resources both inside and outside the region, the Center worked with Caitlin Strokosh, executive director of the Alliance of Artist Communities, to identify residency programs with interdisciplinary focuses and facilities. According to Pew Fellowships Director Melissa Franklin, it was important to offer Pew Fellows a group of residencies that were all very different: “These residency programs accommodate artists practicing in all disciplines, in keeping with the multidisciplinary scope of the fellowships. They represent a diverse group of creative communities and the working environment each offers is very different, reflecting the wide variety of artists that we support.” The resulting consortium is made up of the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada; Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA; and the Ucross Foundation in northeast Wyoming.
These artist residencies are meant to extend the Center’s relationship with Pew Fellows beyond the given time period of their awards and contribute to a long-term impact on their work. The invaluable time to work diligently in new spaces and to network with artists from other areas has the potential to impact the trajectory of a Pew Fellow’s career, opening up possibilities for new creative discoveries, which these artists can then bring home for a future impact on the Philadelphia region. “I had such an amazing and productive time,” said musician Greg Osby (2012 Pew Fellow), speaking of his 2013 retreat to the Ucross Foundation in northeast Wyoming. “The change of environment did wonders for my creative flow and I now recognize the value of getting away.”
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s artist residency program was featured in the Winter 2013 issue of Trust, the official magazine of The Pew Charitable Trusts.