2014 in Review

This year’s exciting grantee projects and the thought-provoking conversations around questions critical to artistic and interpretive practice have once again reaffirmed our commitment at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to making Philadelphia a widely recognized hub for dynamic cultural experiences.

In 2014, we have awarded over $9.3 million to 35 Project Grants (with nine first-time grantees), 12 Pew Fellowships, and two of our new and innovative Advancement Grants. Additionally, we announced that Pew Fellowships will be raised to $75,000 for each Fellow in the 2015 grant cycle, an increase of $15,000 from the current amount.

Our year in review captures only a portion of the region’s remarkable cultural vitality and the compelling contributions of artists and scholars to our ongoing research. We are deeply gratified to continue to have the opportunity to support and foster the creative life of the region.

—Paula Marincola, Executive Director

Follow us all year long on:

Grantees in the Spotlight

Celebrating the Life of a Home

In May, Temple Contemporary’s Funeral for a Home commemorated the life of a single Mantua row home before it was razed, as a response to years of widespread demolition in sections of Philadelphia. Hundreds in the community—family, neighbors, clergy, a youth orchestra, and a gospel choir—gathered for a free public event to honor the home and its former residents.

Exploring the Evolution of Zydeco

WXPN’s yearlong project, Zydeco Crossroads, explores the origins and evolution of zydeco, a form of African-American roots music that blends Cajun traditions, blues, and R&B. Concerts, community dance events, and a new documentary film capture the vitality of contemporary zydeco and its intersections with hip-hop, soul, and rock.

Expanding Fellowships Across Communities

The Center continues to provide recent Pew Fellows with opportunities for artists’ residencies outside of the Philadelphia area, intended to further their artistic practices and expand their networks. The Fellows selected for 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.

Creating a Voyage of the Imagination

Covered in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mural Arts Program’s psychylustro offers a real-time landscape painting for 34,000 daily train passengers over a five-mile stretch of the city’s Northeast Corridor. The seven bright, bold passages by Berlin artist Katharina Grosse were completed in May 2014, but continue to attract attention, while changing over time as the elements gradually reclaim the space.

Dissecting Adulthood

Premiering in the 2014 Fringe Festival, New Paradise Laboratories’ The Adults drew theatergoers into a dark vacation where whim and provocation were the norm. Sound and set design, as well as highly physical theater techniques, drew rave reviews from The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Huffington Post, Philebrity, NewsWorks, and many others.

Re-interpreting Bharatanatyam

Leading Bharatanatyam dancer Malavika Sarukkai reinvigorated this traditional form through experimentation and improvisation, opening the process to the public through workshops and demonstrations, presented by Sruti, the India Music and Dance Society. Sarukkai’s performance, The Eternal River, paid homage to India’s sacred Ganga River.

On the Horizon

MacArthur Fellow and visual artist Ann Hamilton will create a tactile bidding, an ambitious new project for The Fabric Workshop & Museum.
The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia’s Bach-Mendelssohn Project culminates in a performance of the St. Matthew Passion.
Theater artist and Pew Fellow Thaddeus Phillips will develop ALIAS, a new bilingual theater work inspired by his experience working on Colombian telenovela Alias El Mexicano.
Bryn Mawr College’s Trisha Brown: In the New Body will offer a retrospective of selected dances by Brown, a major internationally known postmodernist choreographer.
Opening March 2
Framing Fraktur pairs traditional fraktur from the Free Library of Philadelphia’s collection with works incorporating text as image from seven contemporary artists.
Obie award-winning playwright Ain Gordon is “embedding” himself in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s daily functions to reflect on the documentation and preservation of history and create a new work of theater for An Artist Embedded in History.

Questions of Practice

Our Questions of Practice research series engages artists and cultural practitioners from around the world, offering an ongoing dialogue on issues critical to artistic production, interpretation, presentation, and reception. We encourage you to explore our website for lines of inquiry on Co-authorship, Restaging and Reconstruction, and more.

Here are a few of our reading and viewing recommendations.

At the Center of Culture

“Our dreams motivate our realities, if we let them—and when we...keep them active.”

—Kristy Edmunds

This year, Kristy Edmunds, executive and artistic director of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, became the Center’s newest visiting scholar, serving as a “catalyst in residence.” Edmunds visited Philadelphia several times, engaging in conversations with Center staff and constituents.

in conversation with Paula Marincola, the Center's executive director

in conversation with Limor Tomer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Edmunds cites four reasons, including an opportunity to use her “whole self.”

Stay tuned

The brilliant and influential contemporary choreographer Lucinda Childs is the subject of our fourth danceworkbook, launching in early 2015. The web-based publication is an excavation and reexamination of Child’s early dances as seen through Child’s own extensive archives, photos, essays, and a series of restagings performed in Philadelphia.

Photo Credits

Sold-out crowd at the Philadelphia Freedom Festival, Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Derek Brad.

Israel Galván, featured in Pasión y Arte's 2014 Flamenco Festival. Photo by Felix Vazquez.

A memorial wreath for 3711 Melon Street during Temple Contemporary's Funeral for a Home service. Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera America.

A WXPN Zydeco Crossroads event. Photo by John Vettese.

Outside of the Ucross Foundation, part of the Pew Fellows residencies consortium. Photo by D'Arcy Fallon.

Katharina Grosse, psychylustro, 2014, view of Twin Walls from a moving train. Photo by Steve Weinik for Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

The Adults, New Paradise Laboratories. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.

Malavika Sarukkai, presented by Sruti, the India Music and Dance Society. Photo by Brian Slater Birmingham.

Ann Hamilton, the event of a thread (installation view), 2013. Score by David Lang. Commissioned by the Park Avenue Armory for the 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall, New York. Photo by Thibault Jeanson.

Documentation of Barbara Kasten working in her studio, New York, NY, 1983. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performing Julia Wolfe's Anthracite Fields at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. Photo by Derek Smythe.

Gert and Uwe Tobias, Ohne Titel (untitled). Courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

On the set of Colombian telenovela Alias El Mexicano. Photo by Thaddeus Phillips.

Ann Hamilton, the event of a thread (installation view), 2013. Score by David Lang. Commissioned by the Park Avenue Armory for the 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall, New York. Photo by Thibault Jeanson.

Figure 8, performed by the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Photo © Thibault Gregoire, 2013.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania's digital display wall and exhibition cases. Photo by Vincent Fraley, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Romeo Castellucci.

Detail from Snarla, Issue 2, Miranda July and Johanna Fateman, 1993, Santa Cruz, CA and Portland, OR, 5.5 x 8.5".

Cynthia Ling Lee.

"Again, in another time and place: A conversation on reconstruction, restaging, and reenactment,” left to right: Patricia Lent (Merce Cunningham Trust), Shannon Jackson (UC Berkeley), Richard Schechner (NYU), and Sharon Hayes (visual artist).

Community feast on Pearl Street, using tables and chairs designed by Walter Hood, built by community members during an Asian Arts Initiative block party. Photo by Tim Kyuman Lee.

Kristy Edmunds.

Former members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform in the Philadelphia Museum of Art galleries during Dancing around the Bride. Dancers appear courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust. Photo by Constance Mensh, courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Visiting scholar Kristy Edmunds in conversation with Limor Tomer at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on May 28, 2014.

Lucinda Childs. Photo by Cameron Wittig, courtesy of Pomegranate Arts.