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Meet Pew’s 2018 arts and culture grantees with a social impact slant

Ursula Rucker. June 21, 2018 Category: FeaturedFundingMedium
Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has announced its 2018 grant recipients, all local artists and cultural organizations whose works “showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life.”

The list includes 12 Pew fellows and 33 projects, and awards total $8.7 million; see them all here.

Of the projects — public events, exhibitions and performances that received up to $300,000 each, plus funding for general operating expenses — a few stick out for having especially cool social missions:

  • Institute of Contemporary Art will produce Colored People Time: Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, and Banal Presents: “The history, present, and future of blackness in America is examined in a three-part, multidisciplinary exhibition featuring the work of artists Carolyn Lazard, Cameron Rowland, Sable Elyse Smith, and Martine Syms.”
  • The Library Company of Philadelphia will produce Redrawing History: Indigenous Perspectives on Colonial America: “An exhibition and a newly commissioned graphic novel by Native American artists — illustrator Weshoyot Alvitre and writer Lee Francis — re-contextualize 18th-century historic events from the perspective of indigenous communities.”
  • PennDesign, University of Pennsylvania will produce Design With Nature Now: “Three parallel exhibitions highlight dynamic and visionary approaches to landscape design and development in the face of climate change and urbanization.”

2018 Pew fellow Michelle Angela Ortiz’s Living Walls, The City Speaks project. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

  • Stenton will produce Inequality in Bronze: Monumental Plantation Legacies: “A community-driven process commissions a memorial recognizing Dinah, an enslaved woman who lived at Stenton, and addresses the role historic sites can play in the national conversation about present-day monuments.”
  • Tiona Nekkia McClodden, a 2016 Pew fellow and filmmaker, will produce Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic, Movement III — The Triple Deities: “A multimedia performance merges art song, exhibition, film, and sculpture to examine black female identity, drawing from the work of poet Langston Hughes and composer Florence B. Price.”
  • Temple Contemporary will produce 1000 Ways to Listen: “A multi-year performance project, led by theater company 600 HIGHWAYMEN, brings together 1,000 Philadelphians in 500 private homes to ask each other the question, ‘Are we listening?'”

There’s also a handful of recognizable names on the list of fellows, who will each receive $75,000 in direct support.

From our Partners

Among them are documentary filmmaker Jonathan Olshefski, whose 2017 film “Questdepicted a North Philadelphia family over 10 yearsMichelle Angela Ortiz, a visual artists and mural artist whose work focuses on immigration and other human rights issues; and Ursula Rucker, a poet and performer who often aids likeminded  social justice orgs.

(In 2016, McClodden told us that to be a Pew fellow means financial stability — and a reason to stay in Philadelphia. “This is a big deal,” she said at the time. “I’ve lived in Philly for 10 years, and I hope to produce more work here because it’s a city that can be a sustainable city for artist.”)

A few 2017 projects have debuted recently: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Farm for the City popped up in Thomas Paine Plaza, and Asian Arts Initiative’s (ex)CHANGE guided bus tour was held during its 25th anniversary celebration in May.

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