FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 21, 2020

The Center for Art in Wood is awarded major grant from The Pew Center for Art & Heritage; grant will fund community- and research-based project on wood-turned Islamic architecture of Cairo

Photo: Jaroslow Dubrowolski (ARCHiNOS Architecture)

The Mashrabiya Project centers the living craft of wood turning and the architectural form of the mashrabiya. It details the mashrabiya’s origins and the evolution into vernacular architecture throughout the regions of the Maghreb, Egypt, Middle East, and beyond. Wood turning, an ancient craft believed to have originated in Egypt, now supports the country’s makers of today, and initiates a critical, universal discussion about craft-based economies and communities.
— Jennifer-Navva Milliken, Artistic Director of the Center for Art in Wood

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Center for Art in Wood has been awarded a significant project grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The Mashrabiya Project, which comprises a shared making experience, exhibition, publication, immersive digital experience, and more, celebrates ancient and contemporary craft heritage.

A symbol of Islamic architecture, the mashrabiya comprises interlocking wood turnings in the form of scalable screens used to divide internal spaces or provide ventilation. In the course of the project, artisans from Egypt will take residency at the Center for Art in Wood and instruct local woodturners in the making and construction of the mashrabiya in preparation for a communal making project in the Center’s main gallery. An exhibition, titled Seeing Through Space, will interpret the concepts evoked by the mashrabiya through the experiences of women artists, who have traditionally been cut off from society by the division of spaces. Virtual tools exploring the heritage and spatial magnitude of the wooden mashrabiya will accompany the project, along with dedicated programming space for hospitality, exchange, and cultural dialogue. This multivalent and experiential project presents a 360-degree view of a distinctly Egyptian and Islamic-influenced craft, and invites Philadelphia, home to its own legacy of woodworking, to connect with another woodworking culture while engaging the local Muslim community. The Mashrabiya Project opens to the public on November 4, 2022, and runs through February 18, 2023.

For the full press release please click HERE.

For more information please contact Katie Sorenson, at katie@centerforartinwood.org.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage awarded over $10.5 million for Philadelphia Arts Organizations.

Click HERE to see the full list of 2020 Grants.