Recent Curtis graduates bring their artistry to underserved communities in Philadelphia through the Curtis Community Artist Fellowship, a program that fortifies Curtis’s commitment to service and allows alumni to extend, where possible, work they may have begun as students through the Community Artist Program (CAP). Curtis Community Artist Fellows are placed in existing partnerships between Curtis and institutions such as schools, hospitals, prisons, and rehabilitation centers. Fellows are able to continue their vital performance careers while serving the community. The 2021–22 Fellows are Justin Goldsmith (String Quartet ’20), Ying Li (Piano ’19), and Grace Takeda (Viola ’21).
Throughout their year of service, each fellow will take leadership of a specific project and participate in community work involving students in Curtis’s Social Entrepreneur course.
All three fellows will be deeply involved with the city-wide Rehearsing Philadelphia, in partnership with Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and artist Ari Benjamin Meyers, which reexamines the rehearsal processes to explore how Philadelphians can come together as a city. Learn more at RehearsingPhiladelphia.com.
In his second year as a fellow, Mr. Goldsmith continues Curtis’s sustained activities with Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, which provides for both the emotional and physical needs of people experiencing homelessness in the Philadelphia area, through virtual and live-streamed interactions. He directs performances and video chats designed to connect live music to the humanity and experiences of the mission’s guests. Additionally, guests work with Curtis musicians to create collaborative projects drawing on their own artistic expression, often through original poetry.
Here, Mr. Goldsmith shares a conversation with Erin Hall of Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission about residents’ reactions to the partnership
In an ongoing partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, Mr. Goldsmith is also working with Carver Engineering and Science High School to help rebuild a program for string instrument instruction.
Read about a past fellow’s work at another School District of Philadelphia location from the Philadelphia Inquirer
Ms. Li also manages projects at the Penn Memory Center, where patients suffering from degenerative memory diseases and their caregivers participate in weekly classes and collaborative composition projects. Curtis’s partnership with the Penn Memory Center explores the effects of music-making on cognitive facility and quality of life and provides opportunities for social interactions. Under Ms. Li’s direction, Curtis musicians perform selections and introduce class members to instrument groups.
Ms. Li also serves as a piano teacher at Southwark School in South Philadelphia. The elementary school maintains a partnership with the Lang Lang Foundation, which provided its piano lab.
Ms. Takeda takes on a teaching position at William Cramp Elementary School in North Philadelphia, helping to rebuild a string education program and engaging with a classroom curriculum that promotes literacy through music. Her work extends a project begun in 2016 and sustained by past fellows Shannon Lee (Violin ’16) and Seula Lee (Violin ’18).
View past projects at William Cramp Elementary School in this vlog.
Additionally, Ms. Takeda will develop, coordinate, and perform in Curtis’s Family Concert with First Person Arts this fall. Storytelling Through Music takes place on Saturday, November 13 via Zoom.
Meet the 2020–21 class of Community Artist Fellows and view their final collaborative projects here.
The Community Artist Fellowship program is generously supported by Professor Frank F. Furstenberg Jr., in memory of Nina Segre.