Pew Fellows News: CAConrad Receives Lambda Literary Award, Leroy Johnson’s Work at the Barnes Foundation, Stacy Levy’s Installation Enlivens the Schuylkill River, and More

29 Jun 2018


Leroy Johnson, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Elaine Hoffman Watts in concert. Photo by James Wasserman.


Jenny Sabin, 2010 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.


Raphael Xavier, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.


Rasheedah Phillips and Camae Ayewa, 2017 Pew Fellows. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


CAConrad, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.


Kinan Abou-Afach, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.


Ted Passon, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

Our June Pew Fellows news roundup highlights awards and honors for artists in film, poetry, and media arts; a memorial concert that pays tribute to a beloved Klezmer musician; and several new print and musical releases.

Awards and Announcements

Mixed-media artist Leroy Johnson (2014) received an artist residency at The Barnes Foundation’s Mural Arts Studio after participating in the “Let’s Connect” project, presented by the Barnes in collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia. Johnson was named the Director’s Highlight winner. Read more>>

A memorial concert for Klezmer musician Elaine Hoffman Watts (2000) was held on June 17 at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El in Wynnewood, PA. The tribute, organized by her daughter Susan Lankin-Watts (2015), brought together acclaimed instrumentalists and vocalists who collaborated with Watts over the course of her decades-long career. Read more in the Jewish Exponent>>

Poet CAConrad (2011) was honored with a Lambda Literary Award in gay poetry for his work Standing in Line for Death at the 30th Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony on June 4 at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University. Read more via The Philadelphia Inquirer>>

Filmmaker Ted Passon (2014) and Yoni Brook have been awarded the Catapult Documentary Fellowship for Philly District Attorney (working title) from SFFILM and the Catapult Film Fund. Read more>>

Founded by media artist Louis Massiah (1994), Scribe Video Center earned the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ Arts Leadership & Service Award. The award will be presented during a ceremony on August 7 in Scranton, PA. Read more>>

New Releases

Musician King Britt (2007) relaunched The Buddy System label with two new extended play (EP) records, released on June 29. Originally launched in 2014, the label released a collaborative EP each month, but concluded the series after releasing five editions. Read More>>

Author Beth Kephart (2005) published her new novel Wild Blues. Listed for readers ages 10–14, the work features passages told in “stirring poetic language,” according to Publishers Weekly. Read more>>

Composer and musician Kinan Abou-Afach’s (2013) new record Of Road and Homes is now available. The new music was inspired by themes of home and displacement the artist explored as part of the Center-funded project (Dis)placed: Expressions of Identity in Transition, presented by Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture. Read more>>

On View and On Stage

Theater artist Dito Van Reigersberg (2002), also known as Martha Graham Cracker, joined Taylor Mac on stage for the Center-funded A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, presented by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Read more via The Philadelphia Inquirer>>

Musician Uri Caine’s (2003) solo piano piece “The Magic of Her Nearness” was featured in Nels Cline’s performance, Lovers for Philadelphia, presented by Ars Nova Workshop with Center support on June 2. Read more>>

Visual artist Emmet Gowin’s (1994) work was included in the recent exhibition, Bees, at Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum, ID. The exhibition explored the critical role of pollinators in maintaining the health of our food supply and ecosystems. Read more>>

Architect and designer Jenny Sabin (2010) presented the interactive art installation, LUX, a knitted canopy of light representing the festival theme of “life” during the By the People Festival in Washington, D.C., June 21–24. Read more>>

Choreographer and dance artist Raphael Xavier (2013) participated in a panel for “Radical Love: The Art of Storytelling as a Lifeline” on June 19. The event was part of 11 Days of Love Stories, a mini-festival featuring free storytelling events across Philadelphia. Read more via Generocity>>

In the News

Choreographer Rennie Harris’ (1996) multimedia performance Rennie Harris: Funkedified received a positive review in TheaterMania. “[The show] offers a must-see chance to check out a dozen talented dancers stepping to Harris' moves, while taking a look back at a genre that has traveled many roads from the street to the mainstream,” wrote Pete Hempstead. Jorge Cousineau’s (2011) “psychedelic projections” supported the show’s movement and music. Read more>>

The Philadelphia Inquirer highlights visual artist Stacy Levy's (1992) installation Tide Field, comprised of a series of floating balls in the Schuylkill River. Presented as part of Mural Arts Philadelphia Art@Bartram’s project, Levy’s installation is inspired by “the tidal fluctuation of the Schuylkill [that] gives us a sense of the enduring quality of natural processes,” as Levy notes. Read more>>

Author Becky Birtha (1993) was featured in a profile in the Chestnut Hill Local, where she describes the motivation behind her writing, and the impact of several awards on her career, including receiving the Pew Fellowship. Read more>>

The Guardian reviews Camae Ayewa’s (2017) recent performance at the Supersonic festival, writing that her “set ricochets all over, with her fierce spoken word being driven by harsh noise, bass music, techno and even metal.” Read more>>