CUT CHEMIST: King Britt spins the crowd before Obama’s arrival at the Electric Factory, last month.
Twelve fellows were awarded $50,000 each to spend any way they wish. The Pew program, in its 16th year, aims to identify Philadelphia-area artists at critical career junctures and give them the freedom to advance their artistic ambitions.
“One of the things [recipients] say to us is that now when people ask them what they do, they say first and foremost, ‘I am an artist.’ There is something about the validation that these grants bring,” program director Melissa Franklin says.
Validation, yes, and a measure of liberation.
“I don’t have to move furniture anymore,” said Jamey Robinson, a 34-year-old composer perhaps best known locally as a member of the defunct band Need New Body. “I come up with a lot of ideas, but the difficult part is finishing them up and writing all of the parts. I’m always worried about money, so that’s one level of thinking I can put behind me for a couple of years. It’s going to change what I do tremendously.”