06/04/2008 - A dozen Philadelphia artists, all painters, traditional and folk artists, or playwrights, have been awarded Pew Fellowships in the Arts, according to Pew officials.
The $60,000 fellowships - which have risen by $10,000 this year, the first increase in the program's 17-year history - represent the largest such awards available for artists.
"It's very exciting," said Nana Korantemaa, 57, a North Philadelphia drummer whose work is grounded within the Akan cultural and spiritual community of Ghana.
Korantemaa, who worked with dancer and teacher Arthur Hall for 17 years, spent several years in Ghana studying Akan drumming and its broader spiritual context. In 2002 she was raised to the level of the Akomfohene, head shaman of Akan tradition for North America.
The music rooted in this tradition, she said, has "a very empowering, uplifting and healing effect," and the Pew grant will allow her to weave it into new music and "create a sound for the social scene here" in Philadelphia and North America.
Read the full article City Artists Get Pew Awards on the Philadelphia Inquirer's Web site