International and US Artist Residencies Awarded to Pew Fellows Ryan Eckes, Leah Stein, and Rea Tajiri

13 Feb 2019


Rea Tajiri, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Ryan Eckes, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is pleased to announce that three Pew Fellows have been selected for international and US artist residencies, a program supported by the Center’s ongoing partnership with the Alliance of Artists Communities and with the MacDowell Colony.

These residencies—designed to provide time and space for artistic development and to create networking opportunities outside of Philadelphia—will take place in the spring of 2019:

  • Poet Ryan Eckes (2016) will live and work for five weeks at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy.
  • Filmmaker Rea Tajiri (2015) will travel to Newfoundland, Canada, for a six-week creative retreat at Fogo Island Arts.
  • Choreographer and dancer Leah Stein (2018) will spend a month at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

The 15th-century castle at Civitella Ranieri, located in the Umbrian countryside, affords opportunities for both individual artistic practice and the exchange of ideas among guests, who are each assigned what Ryan Eckes describes as a “wonderfully odd and peculiar” private studio. These surroundings will be wholly new for Eckes, who is visiting Italy and participating in a residency for the first time. At Civitella, he plans to continue working on an in-progress book of poetry and “experiment with new forms,” he says. Eckes is looking forward to creating new work “in a remote place, a place I have never been, for a sustained period of time.” The Civitella Ranieri Foundation is the legacy of philanthropist Ursula Corning (1903–2002), who for decades hosted a steady stream of friends, artists, and occasionally strangers at her castle.

Fogo Island Arts is located on a remote tract off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, in what Rea Tajiri sees as “a fairly raw confrontation with the ocean, the sun, and maritime culture.” The cultural history of the island is one of the factors that drew Tajiri to the site. A former artist-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony and Banff Centre, Tajiri considers engagement with the Fogo Island community as a vital dimension of her upcoming residency. Beyond this exploration of local identity, Tajiri plans to edit and bring close to completion a documentary that addresses themes of memory and caregiving. Tajiri says she approaches editing as an “immersive and all-consuming process” and expects that it will be “interesting to have such an intense environment outside my window.”

Founded in 1907, New Hampshire’s MacDowell Colony is one of the oldest and most prestigious residency programs in the United States, hosting more than 8,000 of the world’s most honored artists. Leah Stein, whose site-specific dance works have responded to several Philadelphia landmarks including Eastern State Penitentiary and Bartram's Garden, is excited to create work in an environment that contrasts with Philadelphia. “These days,” she explains, “I am craving to be in a quieter setting with less stimulation.” Stein plans to focus on a specific project at MacDowell, titled Standing in the Wake, which she envisions “as an umbrella for several works, larger and small scale.” The piece will require research and experimentation “with recording sound and movement and layering time through a recording process.”

Since 2011, the Center’s residency partnerships have sent over 40 Fellows to residencies in Canada and the United States, including the Ucross Foundation in northeast Wyoming, the Banff Centre in Alberta, the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, and the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California. Eckes’s 2019 residency in Italy marks the program’s first residency offered outside of North America.

While residencies afford valuable time and space for focused creative production, they also present an opportunity for artists to connect with one another across disciplines and beyond their local communities in mutually beneficial interchanges. This year’s residents will work and live in the company of artists from around the world, extending Fellows’ opportunities to forge connections with artists from internationally diverse spheres of practice, and to raise the profile of Philadelphia’s extraordinary range of talent.

Learn more about the residency program and see all past Pew Fellow residency recipients.>