Meet our 2022–23 Community Artist Fellows

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 2022–23 Fellows are Francis Carr (Cello ’21) and Zach Mowitz (Cello ’19).

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.

Francis Carr (Cello '21)

“The Community Artist Fellowship is a full-time job, offering a platform for alumni to bring Curtis resources out into the Philadelphia community, sharing music with people that might not otherwise have access to it, or with those that need it most. This year, my time has been divided between William Cramp Elementary School in North Philadelphia, and Jefferson hospital.

Francis Carr

Cramp’s wonderful string program was developed by Shannon Lee and her community partners, and has been thriving ever since. This year has been an expansion project! I teach cello twice a week to third, fourth, and fifth grade; and the goal for the year is to create a healthy cello class, with working instruments and basic fundamental playing techniques, in the hope that the school can form a small string orchestra.

“My work at the hospital involves curating concerts in the atrium, as well as building connections between the medical school and Curtis through the medicine+music program. The goal is to bring as much of our music as we can into the hospital, in the hope that we can improve the lives of the patients, families, and healthcare workers.”

Zach Mowitz (Cello '19)

Zachary’s fellowship revolves around two projects: a residency at Carver High School of Science and Engineering and Creative Expression Through Music workshops in partnership with Penn Memory.

Zach Mowitz

Partnering with music teacher Louis Russo, Zach is currently working with students in the Honors Music Program at Carver to find creative, personal ways to engage with the realities and social implications of climate change. So far this has included bringing in guest speakers, learning fundamentals of improvisation and storytelling, and exploring existing art that advocates for a more sustainable future. At the same time, he has been visiting the school’s Environmental Studies class, and he is coordinating with a variety of other classes to put on a school-wide, cross-disciplinary Spring event raising awareness in the school’s community for our society’s growing impact on the environment.

Creative Expression Through Music is a weekly workshop designed for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Each week features a guest performer, who then joins in on the activities through which Zach leads the participants. These include singing, body percussion, improvisation, graphic score notation, and more. The goal is for participants to not only find a respite from the hardships of their or their loved one’s disease, but also to find a new sense of fulfillment and creativity through music-making.