13 Days of Art in Philly: 3 museums +2 mural tours +1 immigrant alphabet +1 Japanese house and garden= inspiration for 11 original hand-bound books filled with our artwork and one collaborative PC Alphabet.
I was lucky enough to teach a summer course at my school for the past few weeks and got to tap into some of the many art offerings in my new city of Philadelphia. This being my first time offering the course I was nervous that I wasn’t giving students enough studio-time to work on their own art but in the end, I relaxed into it and realized that it’s just as powerful to plant a seed than to expect immediate action. After each excursion, the students made a page using collage, drawing, and reflections on the experience and that was hand-sewn into original books. It was a whirlwind of a course but a good reminder of why field trips are THE BEST!
An Immigrant Alphabet at Cherry Street Pier
What did you learn today that surprised you?
I didn’t really know about the Immigrant Alphabet before we visited it, and I was surprised to learn that it was mainly created by refugees and immigrants here in Philly who were our age at the time. I thought the fact that they wanted to express those feelings and stories through art was inspiring.
The thing I learned today that surprised me the most was something I always intellectually knew had to be true, but I don’t think ever really hit home for me. While we were looking at the exhibit, it hit me that everyone who immigrates to America trades nearly everything they have for a life in America. A country which, more and more, is sending nothing but hate towards people from other countries moving in. Yet people move to America, potentially losing degrees they worked years to achieve, leaving behind family and friends, and diving headfirst into a culture and a language totally alien to their own. Immigration is an incredibly brave act I don’t think I fully appreciated until after touring the exhibit.
What questions do you have about the Latinx community in Philly after today’s experience?
The biggest question I have about the Latinx community after today is what is the diversity in the Latinx community? In our new today, everything is so focused on the border with Mexico, keeping out illegal immigrants from Mexico, building a wall on the border, etc., but in reality, not all of the Latinx community is Mexican. So I’m wondering how much more diverse the community is compared to what is portrayed on the news.
What was your favorite mural and why?
I liked the mural we saw that was about the homeless population in Philadelphia and the idea of home being where family is. I loved the pictures woven into the mural and I liked the fact that the location really reflected the meaning behind the mural, as it was pretty hidden, and relatively invisible unless one would look down the ally just like the homeless population in the city of Philadelphia feels invisible. I really liked it because I think that it demonstrates the important issue of homeless people needing to be treated with dignity.
I liked how Isaiah Zagar never plans any of his work. After our trip I’ve realized that art doesn’t have to be perfect or even planned; it’s all about expressing yourself and doing what feels right to you. I’ve now learned that art is more for yourself than other people
What are aspects of Japanese culture/architecture that resonates with you?
Wabi Sabi resonated with me because it is a different type of beauty. If everything in the world is perfect, than nothing would be interesting
What questions do you still have after visiting the Barnes?
The biggest question I still have is to what extent can things be considered art? I believe that art is about expression, but how far can someone take it until their piece isn’t considered art anymore?
What new ideas do you have about art/artists after today’s visit to PMA?
I think it was really interesting to see all of the different ways of portraying similar images. Seeing that every artist truly has a unique style was amazing. I also realized that there is no true definition to what good art is. Art can take many different forms and people can have a variety of opinions about it.
What new ideas for your own art do you have after our visit to PAFA?
I think that PAFA has shown me that art doesn’t really have any boundaries and that art can be whatever you want it to be. Because of PAFA, I think I’ll keep this in mind and maybe play with my definition of art.