Pew Fellowships in the Arts at 25

Celebrating a quarter-century of support to artists

In 2017, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Pew Fellowships in the Arts. Since 1992, the Fellowships program has invested annually in the Philadelphia region’s most talented artists working in all disciplines. Direct financial support through unrestricted grants affords our Fellows valuable time and substantial resources to focus on artistic exploration and professional development. Today, the Fellowships program is among the most highly regarded of its kind in the country, and has become a model for other artist-centered philanthropic initiatives. This website and accompanying short film honor a quarter-century of steadfast belief in the value and impact of artists.

25 Years. 323 Artists. Over $17.2 Million. And Counting...

Our Pew Fellows represent a community of creative minds working in all disciplines—poets and writers, directors and playwrights, musicians and composers, designers and architects, folk and traditional artists, choreographers, visual artists, and filmmakers—who reflect the diverse and lively cultural ecology of our region.

316 Fellowships have been awarded to 323 artists and artist teams, as of 2016.

Awarded to-date. Fellows currently receive unrestricted grants of $75,000 each.

Twelve Fellowships are awarded annually to artists working in the five county Philadelphia region.

The first group of Fellowships are awarded, through a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is established, bringing together funding programs, including the Fellowships, awarding grants throughout Greater Philadelphia.

The Fellowships program responds to contemporary artistic practice, removing discipline-specific categories and expanding support across all fields.

Our Fellows range from young artists of 25 to young at heart at 90.

Pew Fellows have received numerous fellowships and prizes, collectively: 30 Guggenheims, 3 MacArthurs, 2 Pulitzers, 2 Rome Prizes, 2 Grammys, 3 Philadelphia Poet Laureate appointments, and more.

Fellows’ work has been featured in the Whitney and Venice Biennials, Edinburgh Fringe and Sundance Film Festivals, at MoMA, Tate Modern, the Met, BAM, and hundreds of other venues worldwide.

“My life changed overnight. I became, effectively, a full-time artist. My career took off.”

Over four months, our digital exhibition showcased the distinctive voices of our Pew Fellows and captured a compelling snapshot of the region’s creative output over a 25-year span. View our Instagram anniversary feed to see the work of over 300 artists.>


The Center’s executive director, Paula Marincola, and Pew Fellowships director, Melissa Franklin, reflect on a quarter-century of direct support to artists—how we got started, how the program has evolved, and what we’ve learned. Read the conversation.>

“We’re open to see where artists will take us next.”

On the occasion of the Fellowships’ 25th anniversary, Pew Fellows and poets Sonia Sanchez (1993) and Major Jackson (1995) visited the Center for a conversation about artistic practice, the rewards of teaching, and Sanchez’s influence on younger generations of poets, including Jackson, who studied under Sanchez at Temple University. In these excerpts, Sanchez reflects on her evolution as a poet and how she thinks about her legacy. “I maintain that to be a really good poet, you have got to daydream,” she says. Watch the video. >


Our Fellows’ work has reached nearly all corners of the world with performances, commissions, readings, exhibitions, and installations in 49 US states and more than 60 countries.