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