Lugo, Olivier earn prestigious Pew grants

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage recognized the “ambitious work” of Tyler faculty and awarded a project grant to Temple Contemporary.

Tyler faculty members Roberto Lugo (left) and Karyn Olivier (right)


The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has announced that two Tyler faculty members, Roberto Lugo and Karyn Olivier, have earned prestigious 2019 Pew Fellowships to support their artistic practices. In addition, the Center announced that Temple Contemporary, Tyler’s exhibitions and public programs unit, received a Pew Project Grant to support research into overlooked stories that have contributed to the American pursuit of equality, tolerance and independence.

Roberto Lugo, who often sports a t-shirt that reads, “Pottery saved my life,” is an artist, educator, poet and community activist who has served as assistant professor and head of the Ceramics Program at Tyler since 2017. Lugo’s art draws on the traditional forms, materials, and purposes of pottery to address contemporary political and social concerns. His practice is transgressive and transformative, combining pottery with portraiture to invoke a history of liberatory politics and activism.

Karyn Olivier is an associate professor in Tyler’s Sculpture Program best known for her powerful public art installations, including recent work in Rome; Philadelphia; Lexington, Kentucky; and New York. A member of the Tyler faculty since 2006, Olivier considers multiple histories and memories and collapses versions of the past with present-day narratives to empower viewers and expose contradictory realities.

Temple Contemporary is Tyler’s center for exhibitions and public programs, with a mission of re-imagining the social function of art through questions of local relevance and international significance. Its Pew Project Grant will be devoted to a project called The Ongoing Revolution that will bring together 12 scholars to highlight Americans in recent history “whose stories of courage and inspiration are widely under-recognized,” culminating in a public forum at Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution.

“I’m thrilled that the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is recognizing the dynamic and important work of our faculty and staff,” said Tyler Dean Susan E. Cahan. “Roberto, Karyn and Temple Contemporary are making a real difference in the world through their work. We salute the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for its visionary philanthropy.”

As Pew Fellows, Lugo and Olivier will receive awards of $75,000 each. Temple Contemporary’s Pew Project Grant is for $50,000. The three grants are among 39 awarded by the Center in 2019 to support Philadelphia artists and cultural organizations “whose ambitious work will inspire audiences and further elevate the region’s visibility as a thriving hub for culture.”

Read more about the 2019 Pew Fellows and Pew Project Grant recipients here.


Photos by Temple University Photography
Posted by Hillel Hoffmann