From the Executive Director
Welcome to The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage website. The Center, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, is a multidisciplinary grantmaker, supporting seven areas: dance, visual art exhibitions, heritage, management, music, theater, and individual artist fellowships. In 2012, the Center awarded over $6.3 million to artists and organizations in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region whose work is distinguished by excellence, imagination, and courage. These grantee projects, about which you can learn more by browsing our Grants Awarded page, engage a full spectrum of cultural practice, and appeal to a broad range of audiences, greatly enriching the cultural life of the greater Philadelphia area and beyond.
Already in 2013, the Center has supported many of the most inventive and thought-provoking performances, exhibitions, and events in the region. Dancing around the Bride at the Philadelphia Museum of Art traced Marcel Duchamp’s influence on the dance, music, and visual artwork of four equally protean figures: John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. The design of the exhibition, by contemporary artist Philippe Parreno, included artworks, stage sets, and live music and dance performances—a reflection of the vibrant, interdisciplinary art world we find ourselves in today. February saw major Center-funded performances in the Philadelphia area, including the East Coast premiere of the critically acclaimed, 2012 Pulitzer-Prize winning opera Silent Night, written by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell and co-commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and the Minnesota Opera. In addition, the Painted Bride Arts Center presented Body Against Body—a restaging of the seminal duets of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, which remain some of the most significant examples of postmodern dance to date.
As we move into the spring season, we look forward to a number of other Center-funded exhibitions and events, featuring projects from creative leaders working in Philadelphia and elsewhere. JG, a newly commissioned film by British-born, Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean, inspired by her correspondence with author J.G. Ballard about his writing and Robert Smithson’s iconic earthwork Spiral Jetty, is on view at Arcadia University Art Gallery through April 21. That month will also see Crossroads Music’s 24-hour, nonstop Raga Samay Festival, featuring five consecutive concerts performed by leading Hindustani musicians from India and the United States, and the world premiere of 1812 Productions’ It’s My Party, a comedic theater piece created from two years of workshops and interviews with women from all walks of life, exploring the role that comedy plays in their lives. In June, celebrated ballet choreographer William Forsythe will visit Philadelphia to work with the Pennsylvania Ballet on the restaging of Artifact Suite, a complex work that pushes dancers beyond their perceived physical limits, demanding sharp timing, precise syncopation, and coordination.
In addition to our grantmaking, the Center has also embarked on a number of projects that take on critical questions surrounding artistic practice. Push Me, Pull You, an ongoing series featuring thought leaders and practitioners from across the country, investigates various issues surrounding (co-)authorship in cultural production. Another series, Pigeons on the Grass, Alas, features brief but insightful interviews with visual art curators working around the world; these interviews will be collected for an upcoming Center publication. In addition to these endeavors, we have engaged a variety of cultural thinkers and practitioners in conversations around practice, which we are pleased to share on our website. In recent months, we have discussed historical interpretation for the stage with Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel; queried Tacita Dean on her use of time as a medium; and asked Helen Molesworth and Paul Schimmel to consider the relationship between curating and historiography. The latest installment of our danceworkbook series, Susan Foster! Susan Foster!, provides an in-depth exploration of the dance scholar’s “performed lectures.” In addition, at the end of 2012, I took time to reflect on the Center’s Visiting Artist Program with our first participant, three-time Obie Award winner Ain Gordon, in an exclusive interview that you can read in installments on the Center website.
As we look forward to an exciting fall season, keep up with all that we do: Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-date news on all of our upcoming events and activities.
Paula Marincola, Executive Director
Top: Zoe Strauss (Pew Fellow, 2005), I-95, detail, 2000-2009, color photograph, 11” x 7.3” each. Image courtesy of the artist and Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York.