2015 in Review

This year marked The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s tenth year of grantmaking. Over our first decade, the Center has been privileged to fund extraordinary work by a dynamic and talented constituency of practitioners—from major civic institutions, to independent artists and curators, to artist-driven and community-based organizations.

Our “year in review” and the tenth anniversary video featured to the right represent the broad scope of our funding, and the remarkable accomplishments of our grantees. As we reflect on the past and set the stage for the future, we are deeply gratified to continue to support the diverse cultural ecology of our region.

We invite you to explore a snapshot of the year, and preview what’s to come in 2016, below.

Paula Marincola, Executive Director

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Grantees in the Spotlight

In 2015, the Center awarded over $9.6 million through 34 Project grants (including 12 first-time grantees), 12 Pew Fellowships, and 3 Advancement grants. Center-supported projects also brought Philadelphia's rich artistic voices to new audiences with tours that reached 40 cities in 12 countries.

Exposing Drama On Stage and Off

Two Ingmar Bergman screenplays were reimagined for the stage in the US premiere of After the Rehearsal/Persona by acclaimed director Ivo van Hove and his Dutch theater company, Toneelgroep Amsterdam. Performances at the 2015 Philadelphia Fringe Festival drew audiences into the complicated lives of theater artists through deeply emotional and physical performances that match the layered, psychological drama of Bergman’s texts.

Restaging a Contemporary Artist

Receiving critical acclaim in The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, and Architectural Digest, among others, the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Barbara Kasten: Stages offered the first major survey of the photographer’s nearly five-decade body of work. Following a successful run in Philadelphia, the exhibition toured to the Graham Foundation as part of the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, and will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in Spring 2016.

Bridging Musical Cultures

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture explored new approaches to musical languages and tradition by bringing together a classical Arab chamber ensemble, the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble; a Western choir, The Crossing; and Palestinian vocal soloist Dalal Abu Amneh. Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music culminated in the premiere of two new compositions by Arab-American composers Kareem Roustom and Pew Fellow Kinan Abou-afach.

Breaking New Ground in Opera

A Center Advancement grant has helped to ensure Opera Philadelphia’s future vitality by supporting in-depth, strategic audience research that has resulted in a new, annual season-opening festival, debuting in September 2017. “Over the last few years, Opera Philadelphia has been working on becoming the very model of a modern opera company,” reported The Washington Post.

Capturing the Voices of a School

Temple Contemporary commissioned Pew Fellow and MacArthur Fellow Pepón Osorio to respond to the 2013 closing of two dozen Philadelphia public schools. Osorio collaborated with former Fairhill Elementary School students, families, and community members to create reFORM, an immersive installation and discussion space where the students’ contributions were “among the most eloquent components,” according to The New York Times. The exhibition continues through May 20, 2016.

Supporting Artistic Development

This year, our Pew Fellows performed and exhibited their work at theaters, festivals, and museums around the globe, received prestigious awards, and garnered international media attention. In addition, through the Center's ongoing partnership with the Alliance of Artists Communities, five Fellows were awarded artist residencies to work in renowned programs outside the region.

Questions of Practice

Our relaunched Questions of Practice online platform brought together the ideas of leading cultural practitioners and artists from around the world to explore a variety of issues critical to cultural practice.

On The Arts & Communities

From creating socially engaged art to the responsibilities of artists and curators, see what the Laundromat Project’s Kemi Ilesanmi, dancer and choreographer Germaine Ingram, the Abbe Museum’s Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, and Cohabitation Strategies’ Lucia Babina had to say about the role of the arts in communities.

On Being Contemporary

We invited dance pioneer Anna Halprin and revered artists Barkley L. Hendricks and Peter Saul to reflect on their own contemporaneity and answer the questions, “Who gets to be a contemporary artist? When? And why?”


Kristy Edmunds, executive and artistic director of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, concluded her tenure as the Center’s Visiting Scholar by offering her view on why it is important for an arts ecology to extend beyond the local.


This year, we asked a number of performance curators about the issues critical to their practices. Here, Philip Bither of the Walker Art Center, Argeo Ascani of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, and Kristy Edmunds of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA discuss curatorial decision-making, risk, and experimentation.

A Steady Pulse

In February, we launched our newest multimedia online publication, A Steady Pulse: Restaging Lucinda Childs, 1963–78. A dynamic reexamination of the early dances of one of America’s most influential contemporary choreographers, the publication brings together Childs’ extensive archives, scores, photos, videos, newly released essays, and footage from a series of restagings performed in Philadelphia.

Grantees in Conversation

Our grantees represent a diverse spectrum of large and small organizations, artists, curators, historians, and cross-disciplinary practitioners whose work enhances Philadelphia’s cultural life. Learn about the organizational and artistic practices of many of Philadelphia’s leading cultural institutions and practicing artists in our series of grantee interviews.

On the Horizon

Photo Credits

Chopin Without Piano, produced by Centrala, Warsaw. Photo by Natalia Kabanow. Courtesy of Swarthmore College.

Yolanda Wisher, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

After the Rehearsal/Persona by Toneelgroep Amsterdam. Photo © Jan Versweyveld.

Barbara Kasten, Construct 32, 1986. Courtesy of the artist.

Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble in concert with The Crossing choir and Dalal Abu Amneh, 2015. Photo by Chip Colson.

Lisette Oropesa in Verdi’s La traviata, 2015. Photo by Kelly & Massa. Courtesy of Opera Philadelphia.

Temple Contemporary’s reFORM exhibition, 2015. Photo by Constance Mensh.

Jumatatu Poe, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

Lucinda Childs’ Available Light, 2015 Fringe Festival. Photo © Jacques-Jean Tiziou. Courtesy of FringeArts.

Bob and Roberta Smith, Art Makes People Powerful, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Pierogi Gallery.

Extinct Entities. Photo by Daniel Tucker.

Pati Hill, A Swan: An Opera in Nine Chapters (detail), 1978. Courtesy of Arcadia University.

Raised-printed music sheet in First Annual Report of the Managers of the PA Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, 1834. Courtesy of Library Company of Philadelphia.

Janine Antoni and Stephen Petronio, Honey Baby, 2013.

Holding It Down, Harlem Stage. Photo by Mark Millman Photography. Courtesy of Kimmel Center, Inc.

Pee Wee and his horse Rosie at RAIR for Mohamed Bourouissa’s film Horse Day. Photo by Lucia Thomé.

Leaning Duets, performed by Trisha Brown Dance Company, 2013. Photo © Thibault Gregoire.

The Crossing performs John Luther Adam’s Canticles of the Holy Wind. Photo by Rebecca Oehlers.

Hank Willis Thomas, Strawberry Mansion, 2011. Courtesy of Hank Willis Thomas and Wyatt Gallery.