2016 Grants & Grantees

We are pleased to announce our 2016 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. 53 grants totaling more than $10 million will provide funding for 12 new Pew Fellowships for individual artists working in a variety of disciplines; 36 Project grants for the presentation of exceptional cultural programs offered to a wide range of audiences; and 5 Advancement grants to support bold organizational initiatives led by exemplary arts and culture organizations. Browse the full list of grantees and use the sorting menu below to view by grant type.


> Read the press release for further details.

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Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture
(Dis)placed: Explorations in Poetry, Art, and Music Composition

Four artists of Arab heritage will come together in an international collaboration to create new poetry, music, and visual art works grappling with notions of displacement.

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The Barnes Foundation
Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie
With the city as its subject, this gallery exhibition, along with newly commissioned installations in unexpected Philadelphia locations, and citizen-created photos and videos, will capture urban life in novel ways.
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Erin Bernard
The History Truck W.I.C. Work/Shop
Informed by first-person accounts of the Women, Infants, and Children (W.I.C.) nutritional assistance program, this mobile exhibition and series of public programs will explore the lived experience of welfare and expand the Philadelphia Public History Truck’s programmatic focus.
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That Which Is Fundamental
The first multi-concert retrospective of Julius Eastman, an African American composer who was active internationally in the 1970s and 80s, but who died at age 49, will include rarely-performed works that showcase the composer’s broad compositional practice.
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Choral Arts Philadelphia
1734–1735: A Season in the Life of J.S. Bach
A recreation of 18 rarely-performed cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach will be performed as originally intended: in an arc spanning the Christian church calendar and the seasons.
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Kyle “JustSole” Clark
The Life of a Just Sole
Bringing together some of hip-hop’s most influential pioneers, Clark will present what he calls his “physical autobiography” in a dance-theater performance blending street dance techniques with spoken word narration and video.
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Andrea Clearfield
Fellow, composer
Clearfield creates deep, emotive musical languages that she says, “synthesize disparate elements into a musical whole,” in works that explore themes ranging from freedom and oppression, to ancient cultures, religion, health, and technology.
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The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Transmissions and Transformations: Injecting Art into Medical Humanities Exhibitions
Integrating contemporary art within the Mütter Museum’s approach to medical humanities interpretation, an exhibition plan will be developed to focus on the centennial of Philadelphia’s influenza pandemic.
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Christopher Colucci
Fellow, sound designer, composer
Colucci’s sound designs for theater are distinguished by their sense of musicality, and what he describes as a “sensitivity to the power of sound to evoke the ineffable.”
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Advancement Grant
A new, user-friendly technology platform will enhance and streamline DataArts’ data collection and analysis tools, used nationally by thousands of cultural nonprofits to drive data-informed decision-making.
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Ryan Eckes
Fellow, poet
Eckes’ poetry documents the voices and histories of urban life through narrative-driven, investigative, and experimental texts that draw from sources such as news archives, personal accounts, and corporate correspondence.
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EgoPo Classic Theater
Lydie Breeze Cycle
The world premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright John Guare’s Lydie Breeze Cycle, an epic trilogy about an American family, set between the Civil War and the birth of 20th-century industrialism, will be performed in a consecutive cycle for the first time.
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Daniel Fishkin
Composing the Tinnitus Suites: 2016
Informed by personal experiences with tinnitus, this collaborative performance series and electroacoustic installation will explore hearing damage, anchored by a handcrafted 20-foot long instrument of piano strings, amplifiers, and a mixer.
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Fleisher Art Memorial
Bring Your Own Project
This creative “place-keeping” project will put Fleisher’s spaces and resources into the hands of Southeast Philadelphia community members, in an effort to make exhibitions more responsive to area residents and to preserve and promote the diverse cultural life of immigrant-rich neighborhoods.
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The Franklin Institute
Advancement Grant
The Franklin will undertake an expansive, two-year digital media initiative that will expand the organization's interpretive programming and audience engagement, through new technology platforms and a collection of stories that connect audiences to the impact of science on the lives of everyday people.
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Brett Bailey: Macbeth Performances and Residency
South African theater artist Brett Bailey will visit Philadelphia for a three-week residency and the US premiere of his adaptation of Verdi’s opera Macbeth, set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, presented in collaboration with Opera Philadelphia.
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Kelsey Halliday Johnson
Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art, & Technology 1970-1985
This exhibition will survey a generation of pioneering female artists in relation to the technology innovators who helped shape the information age.
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Sharon Hayes
Fellow, visual artist
Hayes blends various mediums—including video, performance, installation, and photography—to probe the complex intersections of history, politics, gender, and speech within private and public spaces.
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The Quiet Circus
A year-long series of participatory performances at Washington Avenue Green will activate a one-acre site on the Delaware River waterfront that served as the entry point to Philadelphia for immigrants in the early 20th century.
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Institute of Contemporary Art
I is for Institute
An investigation of the idea of “institutionality” in the context of contemporary art will inform future curatorial and programmatic initiatives, in an effort to increase audience engagement with the ICA and its programs.
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Jazz Bridge
Philadelphia Real Book Concerts - New Music in Jazz and Blues
Legendary Philadelphia jazz musicians—including guitarists Pat Martino and Monnette Sudler, pianist Dave Burrell, and saxophonist Jimmy Heath—will headline a four-part concert series inspired by the first published collection of compositions by the city’s jazz artists.
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Lela Aisha Jones
Fellow, choreographer
Jones’ choreographic practice fuses personal history, diasporic movement, social commentary, and interdisciplinary methods, drawing from, in her words, “the individual and collective lived experiences of blackness.”
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MJ Kaufman
Destiny Estimate
An experiment in narrative structure that combines several forms of storytelling, physical language, and a cappella choral music, this world premiere play will investigate “questions of prophecy, fate, and predestination,” says Kaufman.
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Mark Kendall
Fellow, filmmaker
Kendall’s poetic cinematic voice permeates his experimental documentary films that reflect on journey and transformation, globalization and global warming, and, as he says, “the everyday conditions of our everyday lives.”
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Jennifer Kidwell
Fellow, theater artist
Kidwell’s poignant, performer-driven theater work addresses the complexities of race and notions of American history with sharp intelligence and wry humor.
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Michael Kiley
An immersive, participatory vocal performance, developed from the sounds, stories, and movements of individual bodies, will place audiences amidst performers, creating an intimate experience of group voice.
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Matthew Levy
Fellow, musician, composer
Levy’s performance practice and compositions bridge modern classical music with rhythmic and improvisatory aspects of jazz, guided by his dedication to exploring the saxophone’s genre-defying capabilities.
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David Ludwig
The Anchoress
The world premiere of composer Ludwig’s song cycle for soprano, presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, will channel the voice and inner life of an imagined medieval “anchoress,” bridging Renaissance and contemporary musical languages.
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Tiona McClodden
Fellow, visual artist, filmmaker
McClodden’s interdisciplinary work traverses documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installations, to explore elements of race, familial histories, and social change.
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Jymie Merritt
Fellow, composer
Recognized as a pioneering jazz bassist and composer who has played with numerous musical luminaries over his 60-year career, Merritt composes work that brings forth collective improvisation within a complex rhythmic and harmonic language.
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New Paradise Laboratories
Hello Blackout!
This world premiere will integrate contingency—accident, chance, and improvisation—into the ensemble’s physical theater style, with live music by composer and Pew Fellow Bhob Rainey.
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Nichole Canuso Dance Company
Body of Text
Choreographer Nichole Canuso and her ensemble will engage in an interdisciplinary discovery process with an oral historian, a writer, and a vocal teacher to develop new performance techniques that integrate movement, voice, and personal history.
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Opera Philadelphia
Advancement Grant
Opera Philadelphia will implement a new business and program model that will feature an annual season-opening, multi-venue festival, launching in fall 2017, supported by new marketing strategies and a broad range of performance offerings designed to draw audiences from both inside and outside the regional metropolitan area.
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Pennsylvania Humanities Council
Chester Made Cultural Exploration Zone
This multi-part project will animate Chester’s downtown cultural corridor by engaging the local community, along with experts in public history, placemaking, and tactical urbanism, in a series of events and programs interpreting the city’s underground history.
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People’s Light
Advancement Grant
An in-depth market analysis and new approaches to diversified programming will attract new audiences and deepen relationships with existing patrons, in an effort to position People’s Light as a vibrant civic center for its region, with theater at its core.
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Brian Phillips
Rowhouse Workshop
This exhibition and website will investigate Philadelphia’s long history of row house development as an architectural territory to be mined for physical and social histories, new ideas, and urban innovations.
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Thaddeus Phillips
100 Billion Nights
Performance art, pop-up storybook design techniques, and a cinematic score will combine in a visual theater work for children and adults devised and performed by Phillips, in collaboration with visual artist Steven Dufala and composer Juan Gabriel Turbay.
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Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Assembled
Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk will invite audiences to reimagine the city through a series of interactive pop-up art experiences across Philadelphia, laying the foundation for an installation that will activate the Museum’s public spaces.
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Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
Monument Lab: A Citywide Public Art and History Exhibition
“What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia?” Five temporary public artworks, created by artists Ai Weiwei, Zoe Strauss, Kara Crombie, Kaitlin Pomerantz, and Alexander Rosenberg, and on-site “laboratories” for public feedback will consider this question and notions of monumentality within the civic sphere.
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Philadelphia Zoo
Creating Empathy for Animals in Diverse Audiences
A discovery process to study the connection between anthropomorphism and empathy for animals will inform how the Zoo can leverage its large and diverse collection of animals to encourage visitors to become conservation-minded, civically engaged advocates for animals and nature.
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Pig Iron Theatre Company
A Period of Animate Existence
A symphonic theater hybrid for actors, classical musicians, and intergenerational choirs will offer a meditation on life and planetary cycles, set in a time of rapid ecological and technological changes.
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Please Touch Museum
Advancement Grant
Please Touch will research and develop a new set of blended digital and hands-on exhibitions, education programs, and marketing and distribution strategies designed to expand the Museum’s range of audiences, increase the frequency of visits, and enhance its programs for children ages 2 to 11 and their families. 
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Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia
Revisiting a Better Philadelphia: 1947-2017
A contemporary restaging plan will be developed to showcase the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s 1947 Better Philadelphia Exhibition—a pivotal historic project that helped define the future of urban redevelopment.
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PRISM Quartet
Breath Beneath
PRISM will explore the artistic possibilities that arise at the intersection of saxophone music, technology, and time-based visual art, to lay the foundation for an evening-length production.
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Heidi Saman
Fellow, filmmaker
Influenced by Italian neo-realism’s emphasis on working-class protagonists, Saman’s films examine cultural identity, family, class, and daily life among Arab Americans.
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South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
Where We Belong: Artists in the Archive
A multidisciplinary cohort of artists will consider how SAADA’s materials can inform new works that grapple with questions of identity and belonging, and create a platform for overlooked histories.
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Tempesta di Mare
Reclaiming Telemann
A two-part concert program, with a live talk show hosted by Live from Lincoln Center’s Fred Child and an accompanying studio recording, will offer a renewed perspective on the artistic legacy of baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann.
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Temple Contemporary
Symphony for a Broken Orchestra
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang will create a new composition for 1,500 broken instruments gathered from Philadelphia public schools, to be performed by a 600-member orchestra comprised of students, teachers, and professional and amateur musicians.
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Tiny Dynamite
The Lamellar Project
A live and digital theatrical experience will question the impact of technology on human connectivity as two actors perform their roles on separate continents—one live in a theater and the other projected through a live-streaming video feed.
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Tokay Tomah
Fellow, traditional African vocalist, musician
Tomah uses traditional folk songs of compassion, trust, and reconciliation to generate collective strength and foster dialogue about critical issues facing Liberian immigrant communities.
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Alex Torra
This Spanish-language, ensemble-devised performance piece will examine American privilege and the complexities of cultural identity, informed by Torra’s personal experience as a Cuban American.
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WHYY, Inc.
WHYY/First Person Arts Storytelling Project
Journalism and first-person storytelling will intersect in a multi-media project featuring a series of public radio broadcasts and podcasts, presented in collaboration with First Person Arts.
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The Wilma Theater
This world premiere play, written by the Wilma’s artistic director Blanka Zizka, invites audiences to consider the immigrant experience and questions surrounding identity, homeland and exile, the idealism of youth, and the compromises of adulthood.
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