Blood Baby

Painted Bride & Meg Foley’s Blood Baby received Pew Center 2023 Arts & Heritage Grant

The vibrant and diverse cultural tapestry of Philadelphia has once again received a significant boost with the announcement of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s 2023 grantees. In a testament to the city’s rich artistic landscape, the Center has awarded 40 grants and fellowships, amounting to a staggering $9 million in support of local cultural organizations and artists. These grants will serve as a catalyst for a myriad of public events and programs that celebrate the city’s creative contributions while shedding light on the personal stories of prominent Philadelphians.

At the forefront of these grants, The Painted Bride has received funding in support of Pew Fellow Meg Foley’s “Blood Baby,” which is set to take Philadelphia by storm. This immersive dance performance and multimedia installation aim to contemplate themes of family, parenting, and sexuality from a queer and gender-expansive perspective.

Presented in parts or in total, “Blood Baby” embraces performance, dance and somatics as expansive, extending beyond a discrete theatrical moment. The four forms–Carpet Womb, Communion, Primordial and Touch Library—can be presented together or accordioned apart, each embracing a distinctive aspect and materiality of the experience of parenting queerly through choreography, sculpture, and drag. Created and performed by a community of queer artists, “Blood Baby” enlists the perspective of queer parents to extend the physical materiality of gestation and gender into performance, utilizing multiple materials and performative formats to unhinge the intersectionality of gestational experience, queer experience, and parenthood and bring distinct parts into relief.

“Blood Baby” stands out as a groundbreaking project that encourages active audience participation through immersive and interactive performances. Audiences will have the unique opportunity to engage with the art in a profound way, becoming an integral part of the experience. This is complemented by a hands-on installation featuring materials used during the artistic development process, further connecting viewers with the creative journey. 

“Blood Baby” is broad in its approach to unpacking queer parenthood. It does not culminate in a single performance but a series of intimate, public events. The whole project becomes a prism, bridging visual and experiential art, participatory workshop, and dance, using text, foam, fabric, carpet and site-responsive, durational, participatory, drag, performative sculpture devices. Tying these forms together will be an auto-mythological creation story.

Behind the scenes, “Blood Baby” is a collaborative effort, bringing together a team of talented artists to create an unforgettable experience. Sculpture and installation works for the project are crafted by artists Rabbit AL Friedrich, Pew Fellow Jesse Harrod, and Carmichael Jones. Their combined expertise promises to transform the audience’s perception of art, pushing boundaries and challenging conventional norms.

As we celebrate the Pew Center’s commitment to fostering artistic endeavors, “Blood Baby” exemplifies the power of the arts to illuminate and explore complex topics. By focusing on themes of family, parenting, and sexuality from a queer and gender-expansive perspective, this project not only contributes to the local arts scene but also serves as a platform for diversity and inclusivity.

Through this grant, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage continues to demonstrate its dedication to supporting projects that push creative boundaries and provide a voice to marginalized communities. It is a testament to Philadelphia’s status as a hub of artistic innovation, where bold ideas come to life, and meaningful conversations are ignited.

As “Blood Baby” and other Pew Center-funded projects come to fruition, Philadelphia residents and visitors alike can look forward to a dynamic and enriching cultural experience. These grants ensure that the city remains a thriving hub for creativity, where artists can explore uncharted territories and engage with audiences in innovative ways.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s 2023 grants are not merely an investment in art but also an investment in the city’s cultural soul. Through projects like “Blood Baby,” we witness the transformative power of art and its capacity to shape our perceptions, challenge our norms, and bring communities closer together.

As we anticipate the remarkable impact of these grants on Philadelphia’s cultural landscape, one thing is clear: the future of the city’s arts and heritage is brighter than ever.

To learn more about “Blood Baby” visit


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