The Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative (PEI) announces today grants totaling $651,650 to organizations in support of excellence and innovation in visual arts exhibitions. The programs are organized and presented by large and small arts groups and showcase acclaimed artists from around the world. PEI, a visual arts granting program, is located at the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, which is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts. PEI is awarding $571,650 for exhibitions and $80,000 in planning grants to seven organizations for a total of $651,650. With the awarding of its 2007 grants, PEI will have invested close to $8 million in exhibitions in the Philadelphia region over the course of ten years—a commitment that makes this program unique in the country in both focus and ongoing level of philanthropic support, and that has brought extraordinary visual arts experiences to literally hundreds of thousands of viewers in our region and beyond.
In 2007, the exhibition grant recipients and their projects include:
John Bartram Association, a first time recipient of a PEI exhibition grant, ($171,650) for Bartram's Travels Revisited, a collaboration between highly regarded Pennsylvania artist Mark Dion and the nation's first botanical garden to create a project based on the travels of John and William Bartram, noted early American explorers and naturalists. Dion will retrace the Bartrams' travels to northern Florida, collect natural specimens and man-made artifacts, and ship them to the Garden to display in an installation of hand-made cabinets in Bartram's historic house and garden.
Philadelphia Museum of Art ($150,000) for William Kentridge: Ten Tapestries, the most ambitious in the Museum's ongoing Notations series. Ten large-scale tapestries will be exhibited as a recent development in Kentridges's work that continue his investigations of the socio-political context of South Africa and his interest in both drawing and the interconnections of multiple mediums through the inclusion of related works. Kentridge is one of the most important contemporary artists and his work has not been seen in depth before in our region.
The University of the Arts ($200,000) for Beyond the Surface: Women in Pop Art 1958-1968, examines a historically urgent topic that has never been addressed in a significant manner. Traditionally, Pop Art has been male dominated, but Beyond the Surface will expand this narrowly defined movement and reevaluate the critical reception of Pop Art, as it rediscovers important female artists working internationally during this period and enlarges the art historical canon.
In 2007, PEI has also continued an important aspect of the capacity-building component of its program in the form of Planning Grants for project research and development, funds often hard to otherwise find. These awards were also identified and selected by this year's panel and are as follows:
The Design Center at Philadelphia University ($20,000), for Lace in Translation, bringing three Dutch design teams together to research the Center's Quaker Lace archives, a process that will result in new commissions for the gallery and its environs, exploring how the luxury of hand-crafted products intersects with mass production techniques.
Philadelphia Art Alliance, first-time recipient of PEI planning grant, ($20,000) for The Sitting Room: Four Studies, incorporating commissioned works in the realms of furniture design, ceramics, plastic, textiles, glass, metal, and paper to create four separate but interrelated installations based on the historical concept of the sitting room, and the Alliance's history as a former residence. Four nationally-recognized guest curators will assist in planning for this project.
Philagrafika ($20,000) for Philagrafika 2010: The Graphic Unconscious, bringing together the organization's consulting artistic director Jose Roca with his team to refine the primary curatorial theses and sub-themes for the multi-sited exhibition which will be the first international festival in Philadelphia devoted to printmaking and its contemporary implications.
Tyler Exhibitions, first-time recipient of PEI planning grant, ($20,000) for Invented Cities, an exhibition that will examine the roles photographic images play in determining and portraying new urban imaginaries in rapidly developing cities across the globe. The project will engage a roster of international artists, scholars, and advisors.
“The high quality and ambition of our project proposals makes the PEI selection process extremely intensive,” notes PEI Director Paula Marincola. “The resulting awards go to innovative projects that meet the standards of best practice in the field at large, and that will bring outstanding artworks to the attention of a broad public. We're especially gratified that in our tenth year, PEI's exhibitions awards will go to three first-time grantees, demonstrating the growing range of our program and our community's talents.”
PEI grants are awarded on a competitive basis and are selected by a panel of visual arts professionals from around the country and abroad who have expertise in various aspects of the visual arts as well as a broad knowledge of the field. A distinguished nine-member panel reviewed this year's applications and included:
“The Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative has brought national and international attention to Philadelphia as a vibrant center for the visual arts,” said Marian Godfrey, Director of Culture and Civic Initiatives at The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Once again, these outstanding projects will create great exhibitions on behalf of the region's residents and visitors.”
The Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative is one of seven cultural initiatives funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, administered by The University of the Arts, and now co-located at the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage (PCAH). PCAH opened in November 2005, and in addition to PEI, houses the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, Dance Advance, the Heritage Philadelphia Program, and the Philadelphia Music Project. Together these programs assist cultural organizations and artists in the five-county Southeastern Philadelphia region in developing high-quality public programs and effective management practices. For more information, visit www.pcah.us.
The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public, and stimulate civic life. It partners with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share a commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.
The University of the Arts is the nation's first and only university dedicated to the visual, performing, and communication arts. Its 2,300 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs on its campus in the heart of Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts. Its history as a leader in educating creative individuals spans more than 130 years. For further information about The University of the Arts call 215.717.6000, or visit www.uarts.edu.