The Painted Bride Art Center is awarding 14 grants to Philadelphia jazz composers to create new music during this time when artists and audiences have limited opportunities to occupy the same physical space. This initiative is supported by The Arthur Judson Foundation and will award grants to Arnetta Johnson, Brent White, Jack Saint Clair, Tom Lawton, Jason Fraticelli, Monnette Sudler, Marcell Bellinger, Bobby Zankel, Jake Kaplan, Craig McIver, Luke Carlos O’Reilly, Jamal Jones, Will Echevarria, and Sumi Tonooka.
Lenny Seidman, the Bride’s music curator for the last 30 plus years, selected the range of artistic voices based on previous collaborations such as the Philly Jazz Composer’s Forum, Fresh Cut, and Jazz on Vine. Laurel Raczka, executive director of Painted Bride Art Center, says “It is important to us to support local composers to have a positive impact on our community and city. It was also a priority to ensure women composers were represented in the group.”
“We were thinking about what is needed most right now,” Raczka continues. “Our focus is to support artists to create. Usually, we raise money to present the artists on stage, but since we are not allowed to come together, we decided to provide grants for artists to create music from their homes.”
Raczka says she hopes these grants will help artists pay their bills while they continue to create and survive during the pandemic. “We hope these grants inspire them to take their work on new directions. To take risks. To keep creating.”
From composing, layering, and producing to creating a large trombone choir piece or a suite of children’s jazz music, there is a broad range of projects being supported by the Bride’s initiative. Monnette Sudler is working on a composition and arrangement entitled “Birdsong for a Naked Lady” based on the artist Marcel Duchamp’s sculpture/installation etant donne at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Bobby Zankel is composing a four-movement suite for an octet entitled “The Mutual Possession on the Ten Worlds,” exploring a Buddhist concept that life at any moment manifests one of 10 basic conditions on the interrelationship with the environment. Luke Carlos O’Reilly is continuing to work on his new Black Lives Matter suite and Will Echevarria is working on a video series entitled “Estudios a manera de homenaje,” which consists of original compositions using different Puerto Rican rhythms.
“Artist voices are necessary because they inspire, heal, and bring joy,” Raczka explains. “For change to happen, we need new systems and new ideas; we need to think and act in new ways and make new connections. The creativity and passion that artists bring will help us not only to get through this time, but also to envision and build new systems.”
To find out more information on the grants and grantees, visit the The Painted Bride Art Center website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.