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March 2nd, 2005
Portraits Of Identity by Philadelphia Youth from McCall School

Seventh grade students from the McCall School, located at 6th and Delancey Streets, will exhibit Portraits of Identity at the Multicultural Youth eXchange (MYX) Gallery on First Friday, March 4 from 5:30–7:30 pm. For two months during the fall of 2004, Dr. Barbara Marshall’s seventh grade literacy classes partnered with teaching artist, Pauline Houston-McCall to create six-foot painted portraits. The students integrated literacy with visual art and explored their identities through painting, writing and mixed media memoir boxes. Through intensive personal writing that includes journal entries, "I Am" poems, acrostics and identity shields, the students expressed who they are, their cultural origins and their impressions and feelings about urban life. Mie Zhen Lin wrote around the edge of her portrait, "I smell the air polluting, my mom's cooking, coffee in the morning, I like my tea, my family, my teacher."

McCall School Principal Paula Bantom-Waters understands the value of the arts for her students by stating, "Art opens the window of creativity and adds visual depth to the educational process. Art plays an important role in sharpening the aesthetic eye for our students to discover hidden talents and to truly appreciate both the inner beauty and the beauty found in the world around them. This wonderful exhibition allows our students to showcase their artistic and literary talents, thus opening that window to new found horizons."

The Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial’s Community Partnerships in the Arts (CPA) program sponsored the artist residency program at McCall School. CPA provides high quality arts-integrated residencies to children and youth in South Philadelphia schools and community sites throughout the year. Fleisher’s CPA programs in the schools are made possible by the PNC Foundation, Fleet Financial Foundation, Wachovia Foundation, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, and the Samuel S. Fels Fund. Contact Wendy Osterweil, Program Director at 215-922-3456 x323, www.fleisher.org.

The Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial is best known as the country's oldest and largest free and low-tuition visual arts program for adults and children. Founded as the Graphic Sketch Club in 1898, Fleisher has been a vital educational resource that includes instruction in the visual arts, exhibitions, concerts, and interpretation of its historic buildings and permanent collection. The Fleisher Art Memorial has been administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art since the death of Samuel S. Fleisher in 1945.

MYX: Multicultural Youth eXchange, is a non profit organization which uses art as a means of teaching tolerance to Philadelphia's youth. Since Spring 2002, MYX has educated young people through quarterly youth art exhibits, an annual youth identity mural project and art-based workshops at the MYX Gallery. Contact Michelle Ortiz, Co-Director at 215-923-1415, www.myxworld.org.

Identity Portraits exhibition opens runs from February 28 – March 29. MYX Gallery is located at 110 Church Street in Old City.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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