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May 15th, 2009
ARTspiration! Community Arts Festival Returns to the Fleisher in May 2009

On Saturday, May 31, 2009, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, will host the third annual ARTspiration! — a FREE community arts festival. This outdoor festival will take place between Fleisher's 719 Catharine Street and 705 Christian Street buildings and along the 700 block of Catharine Street. Family-oriented activities will include free bicycle-art stations, free art-making activities, a plant and herb sale, bake sale, book sale, art and craft sale, free performances, and a prize raffle. Neighborhood food vendors will also be on hand selling refreshments and treats for the whole family.

Booths will include new and familiar faces. Eggplants, cantaloupes, peppers, bananas and tomatoes will make their return at the popular “Play with Your Food” booth, where young people can transform them into zany creatures and colorful characters. Other returning booths will include face painting, printmaking, button-making, sidewalk chalking, portrait drawing, and more.

Bicycle-art workshops for all ages are new this year. Festival-goers are invited to bring along their bikes for an artistic makeover. “We looked across Southeast Philadelphia and saw the bicycle as an object that cut across every neighborhood and was perfect for artistic personalization,” explained festival coordinator and Fleisher's Special Projects Manager, Joseph Gonzales. “This idea was inspired by so many — Fleisher students, neighborhood children, area teenagers, commuters, cyclists, couriers, food deliverers — all using bicycles whether out of necessity, to be green, to be economical, for recreation, for wellness, to be seen, for work, you name it. We wanted to capture the energy of art-bike expressions like the scraper bikes of Oakland, California, courier bikes, college competitions, and high-art bikes. It's an idea that seems right for the times and just happens to coincide with National Bike Month!”

This year's festival will also feature several guests. The Please Touch Museum will arrive with their Play Patrol, a travel-sized version of the museum, including foam dumb bells, hula hoops, bubbles, sidewalk paint, and Floam. The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Division of Education Community Program will offer sunflower hat and medieval crown-making activities. Master muralist Cesar Viveros and Fuego Nuevo will lead an Aztec hieroglyph art-making activity in both Spanish and English. Performances will spotlight family-based Yaretzi, a Mexican folk dance group, a teen break dance demonstration, and Cambodian Classical Dance pieces. On the music front, DJ Jesus Soto returns as MC, spinning music for the whole family, with interludes by accordionist Benjamin Laden.

ARTspiration! coincides with Challenge 3 — the final installment in this season's Wind Challenge Exhibitions at Fleisher, as well as My Community, My World, Myself — the 8th annual exhibition of artwork by participants in Fleisher's Community Partnerships in the Arts (CPA) program. The CPA program places practicing artists into public school classrooms and after-school programs where they introduce art-making as a way for youth to explore core academic subjects and community themes. “By holding ARTspiration! at the same time as the CPA exhibition, we are encouraging area residents to recognize the creative achievements of our community's young people and to celebrate their accomplishments,” notes Magda Martinez, Director of Education and Community Engagement. Both the CPA and Challenge exhibitions will be open to the public throughout the festival.

ARTspiration! aligns with Fleisher's current efforts to widen its doors to engage more families from Southeast Philadelphia. The free festival provides an opportunity for people that are not familiar with Fleisher to learn more about Fleisher's programs. ARTspiration! is made possible with support from The Wallace Foundation and through a grant from the PNC Foundation.

The mission of the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial is to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background or artistic experience. Founded by an industrialist who believed the future of democratic society hinged on the ability of all people to make and enjoy art together, the organization has focused on reducing barriers to participation in the arts since 1898. Fleisher is a vital educational resource that includes instruction in the visual arts, a vibrant exhibitions program, and youth outreach programming at public schools and community centers throughout Philadelphia.

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Fleisher's programs are supported in part by the Samuel S. Fleisher Trust, grants from The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Independence Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Philadelphia Cultural Leadership Program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Philadelphia Foundation, and donations from more than 2,000 student members and friends.

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We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

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 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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