Press Release

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Announces 2016 Grants for Philadelphia Artists, Organizations

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PHILADELPHIA – The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center) today announced 53 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. The 2016 awards total more than $10 million and provide funding for 12 new Pew Fellowships, 36 Project grants, and five Advancement grants.

“The talented artists and dynamic organizations that make up our 2016 grantees will enhance the cultural life of the region with exciting new projects and rich artistic voices,” said Paula Marincola, the Center’s executive director. “The Center has been privileged to fund work by an extraordinary constituency of practitioners—from major civic institutions, to independent artists and curators, to artist-driven and community-based organizations—for over a decade. We look forward to the outstanding cultural experiences our newest group of grantees will bring to our community.”

Following is a partial list of artists, projects, and organizations receiving awards. A full list of grantees is available at pcah.us/2016grants.

Pew Fellowships—provide awards of $75,000 each. This year’s Fellows include artists working in the Philadelphia region in music, dance, theater, poetry, sound design, film, and interdisciplinary practices. Among them:

  • Andrea Clearfield, who has composed more than 125 works for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensemble, dance, and multimedia collaborations, exploring themes such as ancient cultures, freedom, religion, and technology;
  • Ryan Eckes, whose narrative-driven, closely observed poetry is uniquely attuned to the voices and histories of urban life;  
  • Jennifer Kidwell, a theater artist whose highly researched work addresses the complexities of race and notions of American history with sharp intelligence and wry humor;
  • Heidi Saman, a filmmaker influenced by Italian neo-realism’s emphasis on working-class protagonists, whose own work examines cultural identity, family, class, and daily life among Arab Americans.

Project Grants for Events, Exhibitions, and Performances—awarded in amounts up to $300,000, plus an additional percentage for general operating costs. Project grants are designed to support exceptional cultural programs and experiences presented by Philadelphia-area artists and organizations, for a wide range of audiences. This year’s list includes:

  • Projects that engage the city as subject, including The Barnes Foundation’s Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie, capturing city life through a contemporary exhibition and installations in unexpected locations; curator Brian PhillipsRowhouse Workshop, surveying the physical and social histories embedded in Philadelphia row homes; Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s Monument Lab: A Citywide Public Art and History Exhibition with public artworks created by artists such as Ai Weiwei and Zoe Strauss; and Philadelphia Assembled, a museum installation and off-site interactive art experiences reimagining the city, presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and artist Jeanne van Heeswijk;
  • World-premiere commissions and performances, such as Temple Contemporary’s Symphony for a Broken Orchestra—a new work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang for 1,500 broken instruments gathered from Philadelphia public schools; The Wilma Theater’s Adapt!, the first play written by artistic director Blanka Zizka exploring the immigrant experience; and Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture’s (Dis)placed: Explorations in Poetry, Art, and Music Composition with commissions from four artists of Arab heritage;
  • Projects into which the community’s voices and personal narratives are integrally woven, including a public radio broadcast series at the intersection of journalism and personal storytelling from WHYY and First Person Arts; The History Truck W.I.C. Work/Shop, a mobile exhibition sharing the lived experience of welfare from curator Erin Bernard; and a “place-keeping” project to put Fleisher Art Memorial’s spaces and resources into the hands of Southeast Philadelphia community members;
  • A spectrum of lively projects from 11 first-time Center grant recipients: hip-hop choreographer and dancer Kyle “JustSole” Clark; EgoPo Classic Theater; visual art curator Kelsey Halliday Johnson; Jazz Bridge; South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA); and theater artist Alex Torra, among others.

Advancement Grants—multiyear investments designed to support bold initiatives led by exemplary arts and culture organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region. Among them:

  • Opera Philadelphia, to implement a new business and program model that will feature an annual season-opening, multi-venue festival, launching in fall 2017, supported by new marketing strategies and a broad range of performance offerings to draw audiences from both inside and outside the regional metropolitan area;
  • People’s Light, to conduct an in-depth market analysis and develop the company’s approach to diversifying its programs and revenue streams, attracting new audiences, and deepening relationships with existing audiences;
  • Please Touch Museum, to research and develop a new set of blended digital and hands-on exhibitions, education programs, and marketing and distribution strategies designed to expand the museum’s range of audiences, increase the frequency of visits, and enhance its programs for children ages 2 to 11 and their families. 

About The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge-sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center fulfills this mission by investing in ambitious, imaginative projects that showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life, and by engaging in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural practitioners and leaders. For more information, visit pcah.us.  

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