Projects supported by grants from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage are making headlines as a busy spring cultural season gets underway. Read on for the latest highlights.
Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America (running through Oct. 10, 2023) is featured in an in-depth story in The New York Times as the exhibition opens across two Philadelphia institutions: the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). Supported by a collaborative project grant from the Center, the ambitious partnership commissioned 20 artists to create new work that considers a question inspired by the words of Benjamin Franklin and James Weldon Johnson: “Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy?”
The article notes how this innovative project influenced the ways both museums think about effective partnerships. “We are partners, but we are two very different institutions,” Dejay Duckett, vice president of curatorial services at AAMP, told the Times. “For us to be able to talk candidly about equity and make sure at every step that was respected, it was very good for both institutions.”
The Philadelphia Tribune also featured the exhibition, and previously, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the museums’ collaboration and PAFA's plans for a "complete retelling" of its permanent collection.
Now on view at the Institute for Contemporary Art, BlackStar Projects’ Terence Nance: Swarm (through Jul. 9, 2023) has made it into the pages of Vogue, W Magazine, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, among other outlets. “The immersive 5-part exhibit offers audiences the chance to meander through the gallery space where 10 years of Terence Nance’s cinematic surrealism is exhibited...Each exhibit is uniquely designed as if to create its own swarm of viewers who sit or stand in close proximity to experience the art,” the Inquirer reports.
Nance and exhibition curator Maori Karmael Holmes will be in conversation during a free program on April 28 at the ICA.
WXPN’s Black Opry Residency recently hosted five emerging Black Americana artists in a program providing creative and professional development opportunities. “Music labels aren’t in the artist development business anymore,” WXPN's general manager Roger LaMay told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “They used to sign new artists and say, ‘OK, we’ll work with them for a few years and eventually they will be successful.’ That’s sort of going away. Our mission is to connect artists and audiences. That’s what we do—give artists more tools and exposure to move forward.” Learn more about the project and artists in the video above from the University of Pennsylvania.
The exhibition Seeing Through Space (through Jul. 23, 2023) at the Museum for Art in Wood features newly commissioned artworks from six women-identifying artists who consider and interpret the mashrabiya, a traditional Islamic architectural element. WHYY takes a look at the artists’ contemporary work in the exhibition, which is part of the larger Mashrabiya Project encompassing gallery talks and a communal woodworking project that invites the public “to try their hand at a wood turning lathe machine,” reports WHYY. “At the end of the exhibition, [hundreds of] pieces will be assembled into a homemade Philly mashrabiya.” See more in this report from 6abc.
Elle Decor and The Architect’s Newspaper enlighten their readers on the contributions of the first woman architect to practice independently in the United States—whose life, work, and legacy are surveyed in the exhibition Minerva Parker Nichols: The Search for a Forgotten Architect at the University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design (through Jun. 17, 2023). Among the design drawings and archival materials on display are new photographs of Nichols’ surviving buildings, taken by Elizabeth Felicella. “The photos, taken in black and white film, reveal the architect’s remarkable range, including commercial and industrial buildings, hotels, schools, churches, and several women’s clubs, though her chosen forte was residential architecture,” says Elle Decor.