Pew Fellowships in the Arts announced the Philadelphia-area artists who have received $60,000 fellowship awards for 2009—the largest such grant in the country for which individual artists can apply. This year the awards went to artists working in fiction and creative nonfiction, media arts, and works on paper, and were selected from a pool of nearly 400 applicants. The 2009 Pew Fellows are:

Marc Brodzik
media arts
Anthony Campuzano
works on paper
Sarah Gamble
works on paper
Daniel Heyman
works on paper
Ken Kalfus
fiction and creative nonfiction
Jennifer Levonian
media arts
Robert Matthews
works on paper
Frances McElroy
media arts
Ben Peterson
works on paper
Marco Roth
fiction and creative nonfiction
Ryan Trecartin
media arts
Nami Yamamoto
works on paper

This year’s winners have a breadth of talent and accomplishments. Ken Kalfus is a highly accomplished writer of short story collections and novels including A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, which was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award. Frances McElroy makes elegantly crafted documentaries that delve deeply into personal stories, while Ben Peterson is a visual artist who makes large-scale and highly detailed fantastical architectural landscape drawings. Marco Roth, a young essayist, is also a founding editor of a well-known literary journal. Ryan Trecartin’s video narratives plumb multiple layers of social identity.  This represents just a few of the new Pew Fellows. The biographies of all the artists are available here.

“We are very excited about this group of artists and the range of practice they represent,” notes Pew Fellowships in the Arts director, Melissa Franklin. “Along with Ryan Trecartin are three other artists who are first-time applicants to the program—Jennifer Levonian, Ben Peterson and Marco Roth—and represent the exceptional emerging artists in our community.”

“We are delighted that Pew’s support will help these outstanding artists to continue to pursue their professional careers and contribute to the cultural vitality of our city and region,” said Gregory T. Rowe, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ director of Culture Initiatives and deputy director of the Philadelphia Program.

The fellowships are for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis and selections are made through a two-phase peer-review process involving preliminary and final selection panels. The grants provide artists with an economic freedom that presents the opportunity to focus on their individual practices over a considerable period of time – to explore, to experiment, and to develop his or her work more fully.  The program aims to provide such support at moments in artists’ careers when a concentration on artistic growth and exploration is most likely to have the greatest impact on their long-term professional development.  Fellowships may be awarded at any stage of their career, from early to mature.  Up to 12 fellowships are awarded annually.

For the recipients, this honor reflects both their distinction within the discipline-specific pool and the collective judgment of the final, interdisciplinary panel. This year’s interdisciplinary panel included:

Francine Prose (panel chair),
writer, New York
Ian Berry
associate director for curatorial affairs and curator, Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, N. Y.
Sanford Biggers
artist, visiting professor, Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
David Filipi
curator of film/video, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio
Su Friedrich
filmmaker, professor of visual arts, Princeton University, N. J.
Ben Marcus
writer, associate professor, creative writing, Columbia University, New York

Serving on the Fiction and Creative nonfiction panel were: Ben Marcus; James Alan McPherson, writer and permanent faculty member of the Writer’s Workshop, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa; Sigrid Nunezwriter, New York, New York. Serving on the Media Arts panel were: Roddy Bogawa, filmmaker and chair, Media Arts Department, New Jersey City University, New Jersey; David Filipi;Debra Zimmermanexecutive director, Women Make Movies, New York, New York.Serving on the Works on Paper panel were: Ian Berry; Jan Howard, curator, prints, drawings and photographs, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode IslandDr. Leslie King-Hammond, artist and dean emeritus,  Graduate Studies, The Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. Panel biographies are available here.

Pew Fellowships in the Arts, a program of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, was established by The Pew Charitable Trusts in 1991 and awards grants to artists working in a wide variety of performing, visual and literary disciplines.  In 2008 the fellowship amount was increased to $60,000 from $50,000.  The Pew Fellowships is in its 18th year, having awarded 232 fellowships to 237 artists totaling $11,840,000.   Fellowships have been awarded to three collaborative teams over the years.

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