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Local musicians, art studio earn Pew grants

Dance troupe from Modero Dance, founded by Indonesian dance artist Sinta Penyami Storms. Photo courtesy of Modero Dance.

Two South Philadelphia musicians have received fellowship grants from the Pew Center for Art and Heritage.

In total, 41 grants were awarded, totaling $10.5 million in support of the Philadelphia region’s artists and cultural organizations for exceptional programs, events and artistic work. Of the 41 grants, 29 are classified as project grants, which reached as high as $480,000, while 12 are designated for fellowships for individual artists in the range of $75,000.

Composer Jacob Cooper and guitarist Bill Nace represented South Philadelphia by each receiving a fellowship grant of $75,000 for their extraordinary work in music.

In addition, the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial on Catharine Street received a $360,000 project grant for the creation of an arts incubator to preserve and share cultural traditions of both Venezuelan and Indonesian communities in South Philadelphia through a variety of events. Fleisher will partner with Casa de Venezuela and Modero Dance to co-produce community programs and a culminating exhibition and festival.

“At this moment of acute challenge precipitated by COVID-19, our grants represent a steadfast belief in the resilience of the Philadelphia region’s cultural community and the abiding importance of the arts in civic life,” said Paula Marincola, the Center’s executive director. “These grants affirm and bolster the cultural sector in continuing its essential work: nurturing creative practice and presenting innovative public programs that deeply connect us to one another as they illuminate diverse personal experiences and some of today’s most pressing issues.”

Jacob Cooper, 2020 Fellow. Photo by David Johanson.

Cooper is an associate professor of music at West Chester University and holds a doctorate in composition from the Yale School of Music. His compositions have garnered recognition throughout North America, appearing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Disney Hall, and the Kennedy Center, among others. His European appearances include Operadagen Rotterdam, Radialsystem V  in Berlin and the Choregie Festival in Slovenia.

Nace is known as an experimental guitarist, who has collaborated with Yoko Ono, jazz musician Joe McPhee, singer-songwriter Steve Gunn and cellist Okkyung Lee, as well as Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth.

Bill Nace, 2020 Pew Fellow. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The funded projects include a wide range of arts, from operas and plays to exhibitions and community-based installations that will engage broad and varied audiences throughout the region. Programs will be designed for both in-person and digital experiences.

A full list of grantees is available at pewcenterarts.org/2020grants.

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