Fellows Friday News: Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places

25 Mar 2015


Lori Waselchuk, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.


Bhob Rainey, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.


Orrin Evans, 2010 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

In this month's Pew Fellows news highlights, novelist Beth Kephart describes seeing the landscape of her unwritten novel through the eyes of videographer Lori Waselchuk. Composer Bhob Rainey makes music out of squid neurons and mathematical formulas, and poet Major Jackson discusses the simple act of paying attention.

Taking Inspiration from Philadelphia and Each Other

Beth Kephart (2005) describes the genesis of her recent novel, One Thing Stolen, for Philly.com, pinpointing a walk around West Philadelphia with filmmaker Lori Waselchuk (2012). Kephart praises the community and the "conversation, one person reaching out to another, the sustenance of shared exuberance...Often art begins there."

Jazz pianist Orrin Evans (2010) recently celebrated his birthday with a live performance at Chris' Jazz Café, and spoke with The Philadelphia Inquirer about his influences. Of working with other artists in Philadelphia, he says, "It was about the spirit of union and reunion, as well as family, the village. There's history, love, and respect, too."

Scribe Video Center founder Louis Massiah (1994) is interviewed for The Philadelphia Tribune about Scribe's history and work. When Massiah returned to Philadelphia after graduating from college, "he realized that Philadelphia didn't have a place where non-college students could go to have access to video equipment," and worked to address that need.

Kate Watson-Wallace (2007) and King Britt (2007) will co-present The World Is a Screen, an evening of music and dance at FringeArts for First Friday on April 3. Five experimental artists will come together to create an improvisational score in real time. April 3, 8 p.m., 140 North Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia.

New Performances and Exhibitions

David Patrick Stearns of WRTI interviews composer Bhob Rainey (2013) about his experimental composition techniques, including music drawn from squid neuron mapping. Rainey's recent performance at Vox Populi Gallery also received coverage in The Philadelphia Inquirer, which compared him to John Cage: "Though he follows many John Cage precepts, he makes Cage sound folksy."

The New York Times ArtsBeat blog announces the world premiere of Exodus, a new work by hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris (1996). The piece will be performed in June as part of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's two-week season at Lincoln Center.

WHYY interviews visual artist Anthony Campuzano (2009) on his work featured in Framing Fraktur, an ongoing Center-funded exhibition at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Campuzano's contemporary paintings and drawings work in connection to historical fraktur as "visual abstractions" based on language and stories.

Broadway World announces that Interact Theater Company will produce Thomas Gibbons' (1997) play, Uncanny Valley, at Philadelphia's Adrienne Theater in April. The play is "a piercing look at humanity's desire for immortality and the eerie feeling that we may be crossing a dangerous precipice." April 8–25, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.

Alex Da Corte's (2012) installation at Luxembourg and Dayan, Die Hexe, continues to gather press. Curbed calls it "visually compelling and eerie." Vogue listed the show as a must-see this spring, along with Ryan Trecartin's (2009) co-curated 2015 New Museum Triennial.

In a feature on the 2015 New Museum Triennial, Vulture calls co-curator Ryan Trecartin (2009) "one of the best artists of his generation...someone who has narrowed the space between objects, images, digital manipulation, cultural narrative, millions of colors, and layers of sound to a supercharged splinter."

Pew Fellows In Conversation

Poet Major Jackson (1995) is the featured speaker for this month's New Yorker Poetry Podcast, in conversation with Paul Muldoon on Derek Walcott. The two discuss the act of attention in poetry.

Textura interviews jazz musician Greg Osby (2012), asking about his involvement with Music for Saxophones: Heritage/Evolution, which was recently released in CD form.

Visual artist Astrid Bowlby (2005) will speak at an upcoming panel discussion at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, hosted by New York arts critic and writer David Cohen. April 8, 6–8 p.m., 118 North Broad Street, Philadelphia.

Architect Jenny Sabin (2010) will speak at Cornell University's Charter Day in April, on "Seeing and Hearing at the Cutting Edge: The Time of Experience." April 26, 9–10:30 a.m., Alice Statler Auditorium, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.