2 Pittsburgh artists to get $35,000 grants

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Two accomplished artists — one a longtime leader on the city art scene, the other a relative newcomer — will each receive $35,000 from local foundations to help them pursue new collaborative projects at Quantum Theatre and New Hazlett Theater.

The Investing in Professional Artists Grants Program, a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, awarded the grants to Barbara Luderowski, longtime head of the Mattress Factory museum, and Alexis Gideon, a young video artist and composer who moved to Pittsburgh a year ago.

The money will allow Ms. Luderowski to partner with Quantum Theatre as an artist in residence, leading a design team that will adapt Nobel Prize-winning author Jose Saramago’‍s book “All The Names” for the stage.

Mr. Gideon will create an original animated stop-motion video opera, “The Crumbling,” to premiere at New Hazlett Theater in February.

Mr. Gideon’‍s video operas are live performance pieces, said Rene Conrad, executive director of New Hazlett, that “are compelling and thought-provoking, and Alexis will be working with a team of artists in a collaborative effort.” Set in a dream-like mythic town, “The Crumbling” follows the trials of an apprentice librarian as she tries to save her city from disintegrating around her.

Ms. Luderowski, founding director of the Mattress Factory, said she would still remain at the museum, where she is a co-director along with Michael Olijnyk. “I will never disengage from here, but I had reached a point in my life where I was also interested in doing something else.” She and Karla Boos created a proposal that would make use of Ms. Luderowski’‍s background in architecture, sculpture and assemblage to create a theater piece based on Mr. Saramago’‍s book, while working in a “virtual laboratory” with other Quantum staffers.

The Investing in Professional Artists Grants Program was founded three years ago to promote creative development and recognition of artists in the region. During that time, it has awarded $175,000 in grants to the two organizations and 11 artists, out of 182 applications submitted.

Mackenzie Carpenter, mcarpenter@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1949. On Twitter @MackenziePG.

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