Sumi Tonooka is honored with a 2023 Pew Fellowship in the Arts
Pianist Sumi Tonooka and the presenting organization Ars Nova Workshop are among The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s 2023 grantees, the organization announced today. In total, Pew awarded 40 new grants and fellowships — $8.1 million in project funding to 28 local arts organizations, and $900,000 in unrestricted funds to a dozen individual artists in the Philadelphia area.
In becoming a Pew Fellow, Tonooka, who lives in Germantown, will receive a $75,000 award. “This gives me an opportunity to kind of start to reassess what it is that I hold, and what it is that I carry, and make some decisions about how to move forward in the most authentic and joyful way,” she says in a video montage of 2023 grantees.
Ars Nova Workshop, founded by Mark Christman in 2000, received specific funding for ReSounding, an interdisciplinary piece created by the venerable tenor saxophonist Odean Pope and an illustrious former student, Immanuel Wilkins. Their collaboration, which WRTI has supported by providing rehearsal space and production and promotional support, expands here to include theater artist and 2016 Pew Fellow Jennifer Kidwell, as well as a performance space designed by artist Lauren Halsey.
Among the other Pew Fellows are singer-songwriter and activist Samantha Rise, who collaborates with jazz musicians as well as experimental theater and cabaret artists, and percussionist and storyteller Karen Smith, whom WRTI has featured on NPR Live Sessions.
Among the other organizations receiving project funding is Penn Live Arts, for a three-year residency by the North Philadelphia-raised hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris. A full list of 2023 grantees can be found on the Pew Center website.
“Our newest grants illustrate the arts’ contributions to understanding and reflecting on salient issues of the moment,” Paula Marincola, executive director of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, says in a statement. “From contemplating experiences of living through a pandemic to interpreting multifaceted cultural identities, the funded projects and artists will offer programs and creative works that will be meaningful to a wide range of audiences and invigorate civic and artistic life in the Philadelphia region.”