The nation's oldest tuition-free art school, the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, will present ARTspiration!—a Community Arts Festival funded by the National Endowment for the Arts—on Saturday, June 16, 2007 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 719 Catharine St. An exuberant round of art, music, and dance activities will offer Philadelphia families the opportunity to experience a day of free arts and cultural activities.
Events will begin mid-morning and run through the late afternoon, allowing participants to sample a variety of art workshops that will be offered on a rotating basis throughout the day in addition to performances by three multicultural dance groups. As a complement to the indoor art workshops and dance performances, ARTspiration will include arts and crafts booths set up outside. All workshops, performances, and activities are free of charge; refreshments offered by local vendors will be available for purchase on-site throughout the day. With several different activities available at the same time, and repeated over the course of the day, participants may choose to spend the whole day at Fleisher, or to stop by for a specific workshop or performance.
Matthew Braun, Executive Director of Fleisher Art Memorial, noted, "a core part of Fleisher's mission is the belief that art should not occur behind red velvet ropes and that it should act as a unifier, bringing diverse peoples together in an egalitarian manner. The ARTspiration! Festival will bring this mission into active focus," he said, "by bridging the gap between Fleisher's current in-house programs and its community-based programming, as well as further integrating its audiences."
Braun also explained that, while many young people in the local community participate in Fleisher's extensive network of artist residencies that are offered at their schools and local social service agencies, few are aware of the broad range of long-term opportunities available at Fleisher's on-site facility, including tuition-free Saturday programming and exposure to exciting contemporary art exhibitions and discussions. "We hope that ARTspiration will open all of Fleisher's doors to them," he said.
Led by local artists, the ARTspiration! hands-on art workshops for children and adults will include printmaking, painting, drawing, and ceramics/mosaics. There will also be performances by Kule Mele, a traditional West African dance troupe; Roko Kawai, a modern dance group inspired by Japanese classical dance; and Pasion y Arte, a flamenco dance group. To make reservations for a specific art workshop or dance performance, or for additional information on ARTspiration!, call 215.922.3456 ext. 323.
Planning for the ARTspiration! Festival has been under the leadership of Magda Martinez, Community Partnerships in the Arts Program Director at Fleisher, and Nancy Wright, Associate Director. Ms. Martinez has been affiliated with Fleisher for four years and brings 15 years of experience as an arts educator, accomplished artist, former teacher, board member of the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, and winner of a Leeway Foundation Transformation Award. Ms. Wright, who also supervises in-house educational programs for over 3,000 Fleisher students annually, has over 20 years of arts education experience.
Together with the rest of the Fleisher staff, they will take advantage of their relationships with public school teachers and staff, and Fleisher's leadership role in the Southeastern Philadelphia Collaborative (SEPC)—a coalition of 11 agencies dedicated to youth development—to reach out to people who are not already coming to Fleisher on their own.
ARTspiration! is funded through The National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America program. Through Challenge America, the NEA awards $10,000 grants to organizations for a one-time event that will broaden access to the arts. This year, Fleisher is one 136 organizations to receive funding nationally, and one of two organizations in Philadelphia.
Schedule of ARTspiration Events (June 16, 2007):
Free outdoor arts and crafts booths featuring mural painting, printmaking, face painting, fruit-sculpture, button-making, t-shirt painting, and beading.
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.:
Philadelphia artists lead in-depth hour-long workshops for youth and parents in painting, printmaking, and ceramics.
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.:
Performances by: Kule Mele, Roko Kawai, and Pasion y Arte.
For additional information, the media should contact Caitlin Butler, 215-922-3456 ext. 314