Jun 15, 2015

Mural Arts Receives Grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

by: RJ Rushmore

This evening, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage announced that the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Philadelphia has received a grant for A Desert Home Companion, an upcoming performance-based project with Philadelphia’s Iraq War and Iraqi refugee communities.

For A Desert Home Companion, we will work with curator Elizabeth Thomas and artist Michael Rakowitz to create collaborative performance pieces that bridge the gap between these communities and provide space for a complex understanding of Iraq. The project will culminate with a 75-minute live performance at Independence Mall during summer 2016, as well as a 10-episode radio program to be distributed to stations across the country.

A Desert Home Companion will build opportunity, connections, and resilience within two under-resourced communities that are often shrouded by the barriers of public ignorance and misperception. In this way, it is similar to many of the thousands of public art projects we’ve led in Philadelphia over the last 31 years. Like those previous projects, we believe that A Desert Home Companion can be a catalyst for tangible change and can instill that change in individuals, communities, spaces, and systems.

A performance/radio program is also an opportunity for Mural Arts to try something new and different, and to advance contemporary public art practice more generally as we expand our own. With A Desert Home Companion, there is no mural, but there will be beautiful artwork in other formats, and transformative social impact through art is still at the core of the project.

We are extremely grateful to the Center for providing major funding for A Desert Home Companion. We want to thank the Center for believing yet again in our work and joining us on a journey of discovery and transformation. Keep an eye on our website in the coming months for more information about the project.

For more about the Center’s’s 2015 grants, you can read their full announcement here and see the full list of grantees here.

Photo: Michael Rakowitz, The Breakup, 2010. Commissioned by the Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art for The Jerusalem Show.

Last updated: Mar 21, 2016

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