Pew Fellows News: Swarthmore College Awards Sonia Sanchez Honorary Degree, Dave Burrell celebrated for Lifetime of Achievement, Jane Irish Transforms Lemon Hill Mansion, and More

30 Mar 2018


Pew Fellow Sonia Sanchez. Photo by Erika Vonie.


Annabeth Rosen, 1992 Pew Fellow, The Big Studio, installation view at University of California Davis, 2010. Photo by Christopher Woodcock.


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


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


Julia Bloch, 2017 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

This month’s Pew Fellows news includes honorary degrees, as well as awards in music, visual arts, and poetry, along with national exhibitions, performances, and tours.

Awards and Announcements

Poet Sonia Sanchez (1993) will receive an honorary degree from Swarthmore College during its commencement on May 27. Read more>> Watch Sanchez speak about the joys of teaching and her legacy in our Questions of Practice series.

Musician and composer Jamaaladeen Tacuma (2011) was honored with the 2018 Benny Golson Award, presented by Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. The award was presented at Philadelphia City Hall on March 29, in conjunction with Jazz Appreciation Month. Read more>>

Composer Dave Burrell (1996) will be celebrated for his Lifetime of Achievement during the 23rd Annual Vision Festival in May. Heralded as “one of New York’s most essential art events” (The New York Times), the festival will feature Burrell in performance with musical associates spanning his 50+ year career. Read more>>

Poet Julia Bloch (2017) has been awarded a full scholarship from The Aspen Institute to attend the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival this June. Bloch is part of a diverse group of 300 leaders selected for their accomplishments and “ability to transform ideas into action,” according to the Institute. Read more>>

Choreographer and movement performance artist Lela Aisha Jones (2016) is the recipient of a 2018 Window of Opportunity grant from the Leeway Foundation. The grant supports a week-long residency in Minnesota's Twin Cities, where Jones will perform her work Native Portals as part of an evening curated by St. Paul's Brownbody and presented at Southern Theater in Minneapolis. Read more>>

On View and On Stage

Visual artist Jane Irish’s (2011) work will transform the historic Lemon Hill mansion with a floor-to-ceiling installation of paintings and ceramics April 13–June 3. Presented by Philadelphia Contemporary in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Fairmount Park Conservancy, and the Friends of Lemon Hill, Jane Irish: Antipodes will fill the mansion’s two floors with the artist’s dialectical imagery of past and present, east and west, and war and peace. An opening reception will be held April 15. Read more>>

Visual artist Annabeth Rosen’s (2002) work is on view at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum as part of Contraption: Rediscovering California Jewish, an exhibition featuring the work of 16 California-identified artists of Jewish descent—both historical and living—whose work “refers to the machine, either literally or metaphorically.” Read more>>

Thomas Devaney (2014) is among four Pennsylvania poets chosen to represent the Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s 2018 Public Poetry Poster series. Devaney was selected to read his work as part of “An Evening of Pennsylvania Poets: Readings in Celebration of the Public Poetry Project” on March 28 at Penn State University. Read more>>

Interdisciplinary artists Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips (2017) present Community Futurisms 002 – Black Space Agency at Icebox, April 14–22. The art exhibition and community programming series explores “issues of affordable and fair housing, displacement/space/land grabs, and gentrification through the lens of afrofuturism,” according to the artists. Read more>>

In the News

Visual artist Neysa Grassi’s (1995) exhibition at Locks Gallery, The Beginning of Everything (on view through March 31) was reviewed in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Critic Edith Newhall described the shapes in Grassi’s works as “striking and simple,” while her abstract paintings “capture the essence of natural events.” Read more>>

The Washington Post reviewed pianist Orrin Evans’ (2012) recent Washington, D.C. performance as the newest member of The Bad Plus. “Evans brought high drama, creating tension by falling behind the beat and moving into an unexpected key, but Anderson and King didn’t bat an eyelash in moving with him. It’s only a few months old, but here is a group of musicians who have one another’s numbers,” noted Michael J. West. Read more>>

Philadelphia Style Magazine called visual artist Alex Da Corte (2012) “one of the most innovative artists to come out of Philadelphia,” while describing his latest show C-A-T Spells Murder at New York’s Karma Gallery as “every Instagram lover’s dream.” Read more>>

An essay by musician Mick Moloney (2000) about the revival of Irish American music was published in the latest issue of Folklife, a digital magazine produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage. Read more>>