I is for

Institute

I is for

Institute

Booklet: Local Context

ASIAN ARTS INITIATIVE

Address

1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Website

asianartsinitiative.org

Founding Date

Spring 1993

Staff Size

7 Full-time, 7 Part-time

Do you have a physical location?

Yes

Do you have a collection?

No

Mission Statement

A meeting place, an idea lab, a support system, and an engine for positive change, Asian Arts Initiative strives to empower communities through the richness of art. We believe in a universal human capacity for creativity, and we support local art and artists as a means of interpreting, sharing, and shaping contemporary cultural identity. Created in 1993 in response to community concerns about rising racial tension, we serve a diverse constituency of both youth and adults—Asian immigrants, Asian Americans born in the U.S., and non-Asians—who come together to give voice to experiences of cultural identity and heritage and claim the power of art-making as a vital form of expression and catalyst for social change.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Asian Arts Initiative

Through exhibitions, performances, and community projects, we provide an inclusive gathering place for conversation and exchange of ideas. Our community-based arts initiatives seek out and cultivate innovative models for artists to engage with local communities, with a particular emphasis on working in partnership with our immediate neighborhood.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution? Please explain.

AAI

We identify primarily as a community museum and not a traditional institution.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

AAI

Asian Arts Initiative is lucky to have a broad array of partners from within and beyond the arts and culture communities. Traditional arts and culture partners have included: Fabric Workshop Museum, Center for Design, Penn Museum, ICA, Philadelphia Contemporary, Smithsonian APAC, Asian American Literary Review, Painted Bride, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Community partners include: Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, Mural Arts Program, Callowhill Neighborhood Association, Friends of the Rail Park, Chinese Christian Church and Center, Holy Redeemer, and FACTS School.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

AAI

Asian Arts Initiative engages more than 8,000 participants each year at exhibitions, workshops, and programs inside our building, and up to 120,000 through public art experiences such as Social Practice Lab artist-led projects and installations in non-traditional arts spaces throughout our community. Our audience encompasses those from the communities we serve through our diverse range of programming. We work with Asian American and other artists who come from a broad spectrum of experiences, backgrounds, and racial and ethnic groups as a means of interpreting, sharing, and shaping contemporary cultural identity. We welcome artists who align with our mission to use art as a means to bring about social change, and convene local and national talent that can provide new perspectives, ideas, and exchange around race, identity, and other timely issues with our community residents.

In addition to artists, Asian Arts Initiative serves a diverse constituency of both youth and adults of varying economic and cultural backgrounds—Asian immigrants, Asian Americans born in the U.S., and non-Asians—who come together to give voice to experiences of cultural identity and heritage and claim the power of art-making as a vital form of expression and engaging in social change. Asian Americans represent a population that is outpacing the total population growth of Philadelphia. As our immediate neighborhood of Chinatown North as well as the Philadelphia region continues to diversify, our programming has evolved to reflect the changing interests and issues of our neighbors, community members, and broader audiences. As we continue moving forward, Asian Arts Initiative will maintain a commitment to respond to our key audience groups of artists and community members, through contextual programming, which pushes the concerns and voices of historically marginalized populations beyond the mainstream.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

AAI

Asian Arts Initiative strives to empower communities through the richness of art and believes in the universal human capacity for creativity. Our organization has an established history of spearheading community-engaged projects featuring workshops, installations, pop-up projects, and presentations, but it is through our collaborations with artists, that we have seen tremendous traction in our community work. Also important to note is that Asian Arts Initiative’s immediate neighborhood has witnessed rapid high-end residential development and increased commercial and retail presence, which has been further spurred by the construction of the Reading Viaduct as the future site of the above ground Rail Park. As the Rail Park has developed, while adding to current residents fear of displacement, it has inspired Asian Arts Initiative to address the pace of commercial and cultural development in this area, and to devise creative strategies to shape perceptions and plans for this neighborhood. Our project, People:Power:Place, guided by a Working Group of diverse neighborhood stakeholders, will result in a Chinatown North Cultural Master Plan and o er recommendations for artistic interventions that help preserve the rich cultural history of community residents and contribute to a more equitable cultural scene in Philadelphia.


THE FABRIC WORKSHOP AND MUSEUM

 

Address

1214 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Website

fabricworkshopandmuseum.org

Founding Date

1977

Staff Size

30

Do you have a physical location?

Yes

Do you have a collection?

Yes

Mission Statement

FWM is recognized as an internationally acclaimed contemporary art museum and is the only institution in the United States devoted to creating work in new materials and new media in collaboration with artists coming from diverse artistic backgrounds—including sculpture, installation, video, painting, ceramics, and architecture. Research, construction, and fabrication occur on-site in studios that are open to the public, providing visitors with the opportunity to see artwork from conception to completion. FWM’s permanent collection includes complete works of art as well as material research, samples, prototypes, and photography and video of artists making and speaking about their work. FWM seeks to bring this spirit of artistic investigation and discovery to the wider public and area students, to ensure and broaden their access to art, and to advance the role of art as a catalyst for innovation and social connection.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

The Fabric Workshop and Museum

The Fabric Workshop and Museum was founded in 1977 by Marion Boulton Stroud to stimulate experimentation among leading contemporary artists and to share the process of creating works of art with the public. Providing studio facilities and expert technicians, particularly in textile printmaking and construction, FWM originally invited artists to experiment with fabric, and later with a wide range of innovative materials and media. Therefore, its name reflects this historical and contemporary engagement with fabric, and all creative visions that artists bring to FWM.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution? Please explain.

FWM

Yes, FWM is a cultural institution that is built upon the collaboration of artists-in-residence and staff, exhibitions of contemporary art, and education programming for an array of audiences.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

FWM

FWM has had a long-term relationship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), particularly due to the warm friendship between Marion Boulton Stroud and former PMA Director, Anne d’Harnoncourt. FWM has also been involved in many partnerships with other Philadelphia cultural and educational institutions including Arts Sanctuary, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts, Philadelphia University, Tyler School of Art, The Print Center, and the Rosenbach Museum and Library to name a few.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

FWM

The communities that attend FWM exhibitions and public programs are as diverse as the people who live in Philadelphia. They include art lovers, university students, artists, scholars, school children, educators, and elder populations from many regions, ethnic, racial, and class backgrounds. FWM’s location across from the Philadelphia Convention Center also attracts walk-ins and tourists. We tend to attract audiences that are interested in the particular contemporary artists who developed new works during a residency, but we also have curated exhibitions of the collection, apprentice textile banners, and special themes. FWM has always maintained a local Philadelphia audience and also a national and even international role in the art world.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

FWM

When founder and director Marion Boulton Stroud died in August of 2015, FWM had to make an unprecedented transition to reassessing itself without Stroud’s essential guidance and vision. Susan L. Talbott soon became only the second Executive Director in the museum’s 40-year long history, bringing the imaginative capacity of a contemporary art curator and the skills of a seasoned museum director to FWM. Since her arrival at FWM, the museum experienced steady gains in attendance, and the fall 2016 exhibition of Ann Hamilton’s habitus drew the largest attendance in the history of FWM.

FWM continues its groundbreaking contemporary art projects, including the exhibitions Lenka Clayton: Object Temporarily Removed and Surface Forms, that showcases the works produced during FWM’s Apprentice Training Program. Under Talbott’s leadership, FWM has adapted to necessary changes and continues to engage both Philadelphia audiences and many visitors from beyond the region. FWM remains committed to serving a variety of communities and has recently expanded efforts to provide engagement with blind audiences and participants in workshops.


FLEISHER ART MEMORIAL

Address

719 Catharine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Website

fleisher.org

Founding Date

1898

Staff Size

25

Do you have a physical location?

Yes

Do you have a collection?

No

Mission Statement

Fleisher’s mission is to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Fleisher Art Memorial

Fleisher is named for its founder, Samuel S. Fleisher, a wealthy industrialist who established the Graphic Sketch Club to provide opportunities for art education to neighborhood children of all races and backgrounds, many of whom were the sons and daughters of Fleisher Yarn Company workers. Classes were presented in a laid-back, noncompetitive style and students were only asked to pay for materials. This spirit of access persists today, and Fleisher endeavors to make its classes and workshops as affordable as possible and provides its students with an array of tuition-free opportunities.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

FAM

Though Fleisher sits in a strictly residential neighborhood in South Philadelphia, it serves students from all across the Delaware Valley. Armed with detailed research made possible by the Wallace Foundation, Fleisher has made impressive strides in broadening its audience by responding to the shifting demographics of South Philadelphia. Beyond classes and workshops for adults and young artists, Fleisher also embraces Philadelphia’s working artists, providing critical employment opportunity, exhibition, and fellowship opportunities.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

FAM

With a more than 100-year legacy of serving the underserved and immigrant communities in Philadelphia, Fleisher is deeply committed to the vision of its founder. To this day, Fleisher’s staff and teaching artists work to ensure programming is as accessible as possible, both in cost and by providing a welcoming environment. Fledgling and seasoned artists continue to comingle in Fleisher’s studios and many of its materials are translated into multiple languages.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

FAM

While Fleisher is unique in the cost structure of its offerings, there are similarities to be found among other community art schools both regionally and nationally. As Fleisher embarks on its vision for a master plan and campus expansion, the leadership of fellow institutions such as Asian Arts Initiative, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Taller Puertorriqueño, and Settlement Music School have been invaluable resources.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

FAM

In the strict sense of the word, yes. Fleisher was founded for a specific purpose that persists to this day: making art accessible to all.


FJORD GALLERY

Address

Crane Arts Building, Suite 105
1400 N. American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Website

fjordspace.com

Founding Date

May 2012

Staff Size

9

Do you have a physical location?

Yes.

Do you have a collection?

No.

Mission Statement

As an artist-run exhibition space in Philadelphia, our mission at FJORD is to provide a platform and opportunity for underrepresented and non-commercial visual artists to share their work and thoughts with our arts community. We actively seek to mix mid-career and emerging artists in our programming and look to pull in voices from outside of our region in order to foster a broader conversation within the Philadelphia community.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

FJORD Gallery

Our name is a reference to our original location on Frankford Avenue and to the open lots that existed around the row house we inhabited in the ever-changing South East Kensington neighborhood.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

FG

Yes, we’ve consistently provided a gathering place for the Philadelphia community to experience art over the past 5 years. In addition, we provide educational programming and events such as lectures, performances and film screenings surrounding the exhibitions we host.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

FG

The other artist-run/DIY spaces throughout Philadelphia and beyond. In 2013 we actively participated in the Citywide exhibition which allowed us to work closely with the spaces here in Philadelphia and in 2015 we attended Artist-Run at Satellite Art Fair in Miami, which felt very much like a large collaboration of artist-run spaces from all over the country. We are still in touch with many of them and hope to participate in future exchanges.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

FG

Our community and audience both consist of artists, curators, students, and educators throughout the Philadelphia area. Occasionally, when we are lucky, those demographics are expanded.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

FG

Over the past five years we’ve been lucky enough to expand our membership to artists from all over the world who have found themselves living and working in Philadelphia. This means that each of us has our own network and specific interests, which influences the exhibitions we produce. Currently we are showing work by Matt Freedman who three of us had the honor of working with at Penn. Later this spring we will be hosting artists from Chile, one of whom studied in Philadelphia with one of our members. Thankfully Philadelphia is rich in culture and attracts many types of interesting artists whom we’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with.


MARGINAL UTILITY

Address

319 North 11th Street, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Website

marginalutility.org

Founding Date

September 3, 2009

Staff Size

2

Do you have a physical location?

Yes.

Do you have a collection?

Kind of…

Mission Statement

Marginal Utility presents the work of locally and internationally recognized emerging and established artists.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Marginal Utility

Marginal Utility is a concept borrowed from economics that measures happiness and pleasure and how this determines the ways in which audiences consume and contemplate material and visual culture. The gallery is funded through the wage labor of its two founders who live to the degree of diminishing marginal utility, where they satisfy a modest degree of comfort and security and channel the remainder of their earned income into the gallery. This model of action based on happiness and strong personal relationships allows the gallery to have the autonomy to be politically engaged and encourage artists that show in the space to freely work to their fullest capacity.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

MU

Founded and directed by a married couple, Marginal Utility relies on extended family and close friends to help run and maintain the gallery. ‘Family’ is an institution, and Marginal Utility is a meeting place of our families and friends, thus we consider ourselves to be an institution.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

MU

The attitude and ethics of Marginal Utility are based on our experiences with spaces like Orchard in NYC and the Mingei Museum in Japan that emphasized the vital importance of living relations within their cultural and social contexts. The gallery hosts a Marxist reading group and Machete meetings that open discussions about critical theory and politics to the public, as well as publishes the Philadelphia-based Machete paper that has close ties with The Third Rail printed out of Minneapolis. Through teaching at most of the art schools in Philly, Marginal Utility has close ties with active members of younger experimental spaces such as New Boone, Automat, and The Great Far Beyond.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

MU

Our community consists of the many artists, philosophers, poets, skateboarders, musicians, DJ’s, autodidacts and curious open-minded people that happen to come through our gallery door for an event. Our audience is primarily our community of friends and allies that live in the wonderfully tough and resilient sanctuary city of Philadelphia.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

MU

Being a small gallery allows Marginal Utility to be flexible and responsive to current events. The gallery has presented politically engaged exhibitions such as Chronicles of Dissent that focused on artist/activist practices. We also printed three issues of Occupy Philly-Machete in 2011 and a pop-up show of political posters published by The Third Rail for the week of the 2016 DNC. Marginal Utility will relaunch the Machete paper to provide a theoretically nuanced and aesthetically engaged approach to our rapidly changing world, and we will also present the work of Philadelphia-based Iranian artist Omid Shekari at NADA NY in March 2017.


MURAL ARTS PHILADELPHIA

Address

The Lincoln Financial Mural Arts Center at the Thomas Eakins House
1727-29 Mt. Vernon Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Website

muralarts.org

Founding Date

1984

Staff Size

50+

Do you have a physical location?

Yes. Our offices are located at the Lincoln Financial Mural Arts Center at 1727-29 Mt. Vernon Street. Our Tours office is located at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at 128 North Broad Street.

Do you have a collection?

Yes. Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program. Over the past 30 years, we have created nearly 4,000 artworks, and our iconic collection has earned Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the “City of Murals.”

Mission Statement

At Mural Arts Philadelphia, we believe that art ignites change. We create art with others to transform places, individuals, communities and institutions. Through this work, we establish new standards of excellence in the practice of public and contemporary art. Our process empowers artists to be change agents, stimulates dialogue about critical issues, and builds bridges of connection and understanding. Our work is created in service of a larger movement that values equity, fairness and progress across all of society. We listen with empathetic ears to understand the aspirations of our partners and participants. And through beautiful collaborative art, we provide people with the inspiration and tools to seize their own future.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Mural Arts Philadelphia

Mural Arts Philadelphia represents the history, tradition, inclusivity, and renown of our program. We are a Philadelphia-based organization, reflected in our name, and while our artworks mostly take the form of murals, we are interested in pushing the boundaries of public art in the 21st century and expanding on traditions of muralism.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution? Please explain.

MAP

We’re the largest public art program of our kind in the country. Each year, 12,000 residents and visitors tour Mural Arts’ outdoor art gallery, which has become part of the city’s civic landscape and a source of pride and inspiration, earning Philadelphia international recognition as the “City of Murals.”

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

MAP

Conceptual peers include The City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE), the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA), Groundswell (NY), the Queens Museum (NY), SPARC (CA), and Creative Time (NY). We’re in dialogue with colleagues and peers in the arts, academia, and government, locally, nationally, and internationally.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

MAP

We define community as the neighborhoods or groups with which we’re working. Our audience includes but is not limited to our community.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

MAP

We continue to build on the tradition of community-engaged public art-making that we began in 1984 while, at the same time, making space for new ideas and opportunities. 


Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)

Address

118-128 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Website

www.pafa.org

Founding Date

1805

Staff Size

Total PAFA (full-time)—90; Museum—30

Do you have a physical location?

Yes.

Do you have a collection?

Yes.

Mission Statement

PAFA promotes the transformative power of art and art making.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

PAFA

Our name represents the long-standing academic tradition of educating artists at PAFA. Though these traditions are ever-evolving at the institution, they remain at the core of our mission activities.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

PAFA

Yes. PAFA was founded as an institution for the education and promotion of the fine arts—ideas which continue to inform our institutional practice today.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

PAFA

PAFA considers itself to be conceptual peers with many organizations: art schools; university art museums; museums devoted to American art; institutions that place contemporary art in dialogue with historic work; among others. We are in dialogue with other museums across the country on major exhibition projects; Philadelphia schools through our educational programs and outreach; local arts organizations; among others.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

PAFA

PAFA has a strong sense of community, especially with our current students and alumni. While they are certainly a primary audience for the museum, we also attract students from local Philadelphia schools (through our education programs) and a devoted group of members with an interest in historic art and an openness to the contemporary.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

PAFA

The history of PAFA greatly informs our current work. Our collecting plan considers the long trajectory of American art, as well as the depth of our historical American art collection, and our exhibitions often grapple with and connect history with contemporary art. The local context also informs our work through our interest in local artists, consideration of the issues and interests of Philadelphia’s citizens, and our work with outreach committee members for exhibition projects.


PHILADELPHIA CONTEMPORARY

Address

Pop-up programming across the city (mailing address is 1112 N. Bodine St. Philadelphia, PA 19123)

Website

philadelphiacontemporary.org

Founding Date

2016

Staff Size

1 full-time, 3 part-time.

Do you have a physical location?

Not yet!

Do you have a collection?

No; nor will we.

Mission Statement

Philadelphia Contemporary will be a new, free-standing visual and performance art space, a non-collecting, interdisciplinary kunsthalle focusing exclusively on contemporary art. It will be a nexus for emerging cultural producers, local and national institutions and foundations, and regional audiences. Building on significant and ongoing strategic partnerships, it will implement innovative methods, creating a groundbreaking and sustainable institution with relatively low operating costs.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Philadelphia Contemporary

Philadelphia Contemporary—the first word reflects our rootedness in Philadelphia and second word our open-ended view of what artistic production is.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

PC

We’re a start-up, so not yet—and we’re trying to avoid many of the traps that come with Institute-hood. We want to be a community, a facilitator, a presenter, a gatherer. More of a farm than an institute.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

PC

Pioneer Works. Mass MoCA. Danspace.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

PC

Philadelphia broadly writ. Artists and performance artists. Smaller institutions and groups around town. (Potential) Funders. Architects and planners. Large institutions around town. Yes—our program is in development, our development is in our program, every interaction we have is designed to help build our new community.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

PC

I’ve been a museum director focusing on contemporary art for 20 years and want to create a new institutional model based on multi-disciplinary collaboration, taking advantage of what I’ve learned along the way. I am building it in Philadelphia specifically because I think there is a gap in the cultural ecosystem that we can fill, and that the collaborative and collegial nature of the city will allow us to succeed.


PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART

Address

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Website

philamuseum.org

Founding Date

The Museum began as a legacy of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876. The main Museum building was then completed in 1928.

Staff Size

Approximately 500 people work at the Museum in various specialty and operational departments. This number includes part-time, full-time, and temporary staff and fluctuates depending on the season and the happenings of the Museum.

Do you have a physical location?

There are six buildings that house the Museum’s collections and programs, including the Museum’s landmark building, the Rodin Museum, the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman building, and two historic houses—Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove—in Fairmount Park. Beginning in 2017, architect Frank Gehry will embark on a multi-year renovation and expansion of the Museum’s main building.

Do you have a collection?

The Museum’s encyclopedic holdings are made up of a collection of over 240,000 objects.

Mission Statement

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s mission is—in partnership with the city, the region, and art museums around the globe—to preserve, enhance, interpret, and extend the reach of its great collections in particular, and the visual arts in general, to an increasing and increasingly diverse audience. We are open—we welcome everyone, opening eyes and minds to the expressive power of the arts; we are connected—we sustain and strengthen the communities we serve, bringing together diverse audiences; we are vital—we bring the arts to life, engaging visitors from Philadelphia and around the world; we are provocative—we believe that the arts can change the way we understand ourselves and how we see, participate, and engage in the world.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A space for art that spans geographies, mediums, and time. A platform for discourse. A site of assembly where this city and its voices can be heard. A museum that extends a welcome to all. In its collection, displays, and programs, the Museum reaffirms the transforming power of art and cultural institutions to reflect and respond to the needs of our time. As part of its mission to be open, vital, connected, and provocative, the Museum has increasingly championed the work of living artists, in particular, those whose work explores the way we live, communicate, gather, and think.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

PMA

The word institution stems from the Latin nstitu, which translates to establishing, building, or making something a habit or custom. The Museum embraces these dual functions as both an organized body and a hallmark of tradition. Embracing its role as a civic institution, the Museum is committed to engaging audiences, enhancing visitor experience, and building community through the activation of its collection and the realization of ambitious and experimental exhibitions and programs.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

PMA

In growing the depth and breadth of its collection and program, the Museum has established partnerships at the local, national, and international level. Whether resulting in collaborations, organized programs, traveling exhibitions, joint acquisitions, or co-commissions, these partnerships have allowed the Museum to transform and extend the boundaries of the institution both physically and ideologically. For example, as part of the 2012 exhibition, Dancing around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp, local sound and music organizer, Bowerbird, staged a citywide John Cage festival. The 2014 exhibition, Allora & Calzadilla: Intervals, realized in partnership with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, included performances by Philadelphia’s The Crossing and Relâche. Most recently, the 2017 project, Philadelphia Assembled, initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk in collaboration with over 150 makers, storytellers, gardeners, healers, and activists from across the city, has had an increasing impact on the Museum’s network of conceptual peers and community partners.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

PMA

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s founders envisioned the Museum as an indispensable resource for the community. This same vision remains at the very core of its mission today. Philadelphia is the heart of this community, the boundaries of which extend beyond this city, its artists, and its institutions, to include peer institutions, visitors, colleagues, supporters, and past, present, and future collaborators who help to cultivate an expansive and layered ecology of the arts. The Museum’s Strategic Vision is to prioritize and deepen its engagement with Philadelphia, emphasizing a commitment to living artists, strengthened audience participation, increased access, deep partnerships, and expanded curatorial processes that engage the Museum’s building and beyond.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

PMA

The Museum is built on collections of works of art. Within its walls, history is ever-present. As the notion of the art object has transformed from its traditional definition to embrace the transient, the ephemeral, and the performative, the Museum is called to re-imagine the possibilities for future collections and presentations. Projects such as Philadelphia Assembled test this possibility quite literally, substituting an object-based display for an evolving set of coordinated actions that will be amplified, presented, and re-performed in the city and at the Museum in 2017. A project of this ambition calls for a broader claim of the role of cultural institutions, one that navigates the city’s complex layers of tension and affection, and hosts, explores, and negotiates new social, political, and economic possibilities within and beyond its walls.


Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC)

Address

Crane Arts Building, Suite 103
1400 N. American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Website

philaphotoarts.org

Founding Date

2009

Staff Size

5 full-time, 3 part-time

Do you have a physical location?

Yes

Do you have a collection?

No

Mission Statement

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is devoted to the study, practice, and appreciation of contemporary photography.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center

PPAC’s name represents the multiple resources it provides for the community, from education to creation to exhibition. PPAC is a complete center for the photographic arts. The name also reflects PPAC’s belief in an expanded notion about what is considered a part of the medium.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

PPAC

Our hope for PPAC is that it will be a legacy institution where the work we are doing now will continue after the original staff is gone. We are an institution in that we are an organization based off a specific medium, mission and core values, but the term “institution” has a rigid and old guard sense to it. What we are trying to do is expand the idea of an institution as we grow as an organization for artists and art audiences; we also want to retain our ties to the community that has helped us grow.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

PPAC

Our conceptual peers include Lightwork, La Bal, Foam, and the Village of Arts and Humanities. We are in dialogue with contemporary working artists, who are our biggest source of inspiration.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

PPAC

Our community is cultural consumers, students and artists, and they are also our audience. PPAC’s classroom, lab, and exhibition space are open to all, and we invite all of our community and audience members to engage with PPAC as a whole. One of PPAC’s major goals is to be accessible to people who are not currently engaged in the art world, and our doors are open to the public.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

PPAC

PPAC is a young organization that is still gaining traction to do the work it aspires to do. We are the only organization in the region that offers the resources that PPAC does, so it is critical we continue in our work.


THE PRINT CENTER

Address

1614 Latimer Street
Philadelphia, PA 1013

Website

http://printcenter.org/100/

Founding Date

1915

Staff Size

5 full-time

Do you have a physical location?

Yes

Do you have a collection?

We have both an archival collection housed at The Print Center and a collection of prints and photographs housed at and owned by The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Mission Statement

The Print Center encourages the growth and understanding of photography and printmaking as vital contemporary arts through exhibitions, publications and educational programs.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

The Print Center

Our organization was founded as The Print Club. Formed by a group of printmakers and print collectors dedicated to the appreciation of prints, the organization supported the “dissemination, study, production, and collection of works by printmakers, American and foreign.” After the organization transitioned from a club to a public gallery, we changed our name to The Print Center to reflect that shift. Our exhibitions and programs explore the role of print in contemporary art, as reflected in our name.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

TPC

Yes. As the oldest organization in the country dedicated to print, we have been dedicated to our mission for over 100 years. Our organization has played a critical role in the history of printmaking and photography over the last century. The organization has also played a varied and significant role in the cultural community of Philadelphia over the last century.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

TPC

Conceptual peers include The Drawing Center and The Clay Studio in their expansive approach to a medium specific mission. Other organizations including the International Print Center New York and the International Center of Photography, are directly connected to us by their dedication to print and photography, respectively. We are interested in The Renaissance Society’s ability to produce world-class projects despite being a small organization. We are in dialogue with them, as well as a much larger group of colleagues from museums to community print shops and darkrooms. We maintain an active partnership with many diverse local organizations.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

TPC

We think of our community as the printmaking and photography communities: artists (local, national and international), curators, collectors as well as neighbors. Our audience is a larger group of those interested in contemporary art and culture.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

TPC

While our mission has evolved over the last century, we continue to be firmly committed to print. We embraced photography, and now celebrate the exceptional place all print media hold in contemporary art, no longer needing to provide validation to what were once marginalized media. We are also committed to Philadelphia as an audience and source of inspiration. We believe that the best way to support local artists is to contextualize their work in an international dialogue.


ROSENWALD-WOLF GALLERY, THE UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS

Address

333 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Website

https://www.uarts.edu/about/rosenwald-wolf-gallery

Founding Date

School, 1876; Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, c. 1957 (earlier gallery iteration during Philadelphia Museum School of Art era)

Staff Size

2 full-time, 1 part-time, work-study students

Do you have a physical location?

Yes

Do you have a collection?

No

Mission Statement

The mission of the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery is to present exhibitions and educational activities supporting the university’s academic programs, advancing the awareness of contemporary art, and stimulating dialogue about contemporary issues within the community.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery

The name represents two donors for the initial spaces in the ARCO Building at Broad and Spruce Streets. At that time, there were actually two larger galleries; the Wolf Gallery presented contemporary national and international art, while the Rosenwald Gallery presented the work of students, faculty and internal programs. The present amalgamated space in the Anderson Building represents a combined agenda.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

RWG

As we are an organization within the school that provides specialized information and does on occasion present considered bodies of new knowledge, I guess we are, though I would utilize a small letter “I” in the word institution.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

RWG

When we are working at the highest level, we feel we are conceptually the peer of the Grey Art Gallery, Smart Gallery, White Columns, The Drawing Center, etc. In reality, because we are so small physically and in staffing, we function less as a major kunsthalle and more like an amazingly eclectic commercial gallery. We are primarily in dialogue with many artists internationally, their representative galleries, and the art galleries/museums in the Philadelphia region.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

RWG

If we can have “conceptual peers” we can perhaps have “conceptual community.” Our conceptual community would be all the amazing makers and those who passionately devour visual arts worldwide. In actuality, our audience unfortunately, consists of students, Philadelphia artists, sometimes curator,s and a few wanderers from the outside.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

RWG

For the past few years, I have been very interested in recovering a (perhaps too) broad cultural history of Philadelphia. Therefore, the heritage of my organization and like organizations is very pertinent to the research. It is difficult (and meaningless) to extricate the organization from the context in this example.


TEMPLE CONTEMPORARY

Address

2001 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Website

templecontemporary.org

Founding Date

2011

Staff Size

3 full-time

Do you have a physical location

Yes.

Do you have a collection?

No.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to creatively re-imagine the social function of art.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Temple Contemporary

Our purpose is to respond to questions raised by our 38 advisory council members, comprised of high school students of color living in Temple Contemporary’s neighborhood, as well as Temple students and civic/cultural leaders living in Philadelphia. These questions are often rooted in contemporary concerns that are locally relevant and internationally significant.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution?

TC

No. First and foremost we are the guardians of an ethos whose purpose is to serve multiple publics.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

TC

It varies from project to project that we commit ourselves to. At the moment, we are in dialogue with the Head Start program, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and the African American Doll Museum.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

TC

Yes—the two are one in the same.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

TC

We are physically located inside the Tyler School of Art. Being inside an art school—committed to learning new things with others—continually inspires and informs our work.


ULISES

Address

31 E Columbia Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Website

ulises.us 

Founding Date

2016 

Staff Size

Do you have a physical location?

Yes 

Do you have a collection?

No 

Mission Statement

Ulises is a bookshop and curatorial platform for artists’ books and independent art publications exploring the relationship between publics and publications. Performing the model of a quarterly periodical, each curatorial season invites contributors to present publications, workshops, lectures, artworks, and collaborations in response to a given theme.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

ULISES

The name Ulises is a tribute to the work and legacy of Ulises Carrión, a Mexican poet, conceptualist, and avant-garde artist who was an early pioneer and theorist of the artist’s book, and the founder of the Amsterdam based bookshop Other Books and So (1975–78). Other Books and So serves as an early precedent for the global phenomenon of the artists' book shop and the notion of the bookshop as a hub for discursive, artistic and experimental possibilities. Carrion’s work also points to the artists’ book and independent art publications as a meeting point for a various disciplines ranging from concrete poetry, conceptualism, the legacy of the literary avant garde, and fine arts. 

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution? Please explain.

ULISES

No, thus far we’ve understood Ulises as a project as opposed to an institution.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

ULISES

Among our peers, are independent and artist-run art spaces across Philadelphia, particularly those which became active in the past several years, including Pilot Project, High Tide, FJORD, and New Boone, to name a few. We also consider among our peers, larger institutions dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art and visual culture in Philadelphia such as ICA, Temple Contemporary, Vox Populi, and Slought among others. Finally, we consider ourselves in dialogue with the greater community of independent art publishing, such as Printed Matter and Ooga Booga. 

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

ULISES

Our community is foremost defined by peers who have supported and inspired our work as well as artists and curators who we work with to present our quarterly seasons. Our audience includes those who we serve, through our programming and publications. The particular emphasis this work to provide visibility to independent publishing within Philadelphia and to promote their work to larger publics. 

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

ULISES

The decision to found Ulises came as a direct response to the local context of Philadelphia, specifically the absence of a bookshop dedicated to artist books and independent art publishing. We see publications as another mode of presenting a range of contemporary practices not currently available in the city of Philadelphia.


THE VILLAGE OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES

Address

2544 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19133

Website

villagearts.org
spaces.villagearts.org

Founding Date

1986
 

Staff Size

9

Do you have a physical location?

Yes

Do you have a collection?

No

Mission Statement

The mission of The Village of Arts and Humanities is to amplify the voices and aspirations of the community by providing arts-based opportunities for self-expression and personal success that engage our North Philadelphia community, revitalize physical space in our neighborhood, and preserve black heritage.

ICA Philadelphia

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

Village of Arts and Humanities

The physical Village is a four square-block area—we call this The Village Heart—consisting of art parks and program buildings woven into the existing fabric of the neighborhood. Through all of its arts-based programs and initiatives, The Village builds neighborhood capacity, creates employment opportunities, nurtures human connections, improves community health and safety, and cultivates community belonging for individuals and families.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution? Please explain.

VAH

Not in a conventional sense. We refer to ourselves as a community-based arts and culture organization or an arts-based community development organization.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

VAH

Our conceptual peers include, but are not limited to, local and national place-based arts organizations–predominantly those that are located in the community they serve; artists working in communities over long periods of time; and innovative community development corporations.  
 

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

VAH

First and foremost, The Village’s audience consists of community members from the North Central Philadelphia neighborhood in which The Village resides.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

VAH

Our legacy is anchored in artist-facilitated community building beginning with the work of Arthur Hall who erected Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center in a dilapidated storefront building near the corner of 10th and Germantown Avenue in North Central Philadelphia—now The Village’s main programming building—and The Village’s Founder, Lily Yeh. Using civic art practice, both Arthur and Lily encouraged people to believe in, and help build, a more beautiful and just future for themselves and their families. Over 30 years, The Village’s work has evolved from a focus primarily on arts education and land transformation to a broader and more intentional commitment to increasing all residents’ access to tools for creative self-actualization.


Vox Populi

Address

319 N. 19th Street, 3rd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Website

voxpopuligalleries.org

Founding Date

1988

Staff Size

1 full-time Executive Director, 1 part-time administrative assistant, 24 collective members

Do you have a physical location?

Yes

Do you have a collection?

No

Mission Statement

Founded in 1988, Vox Populi is a contemporary art space and artist collective that works to support the challenging and experimental work of under-represented artists through exhibitions, gallery talks, performances, lectures, and related programming. For nearly thirty years, Vox Populi has played a unique role in the cultural life of Philadelphia by bringing our audience a diverse range of programming and providing a supportive environment in which artists can take risks and gain valuable professional experience.

ICA

What does your organization’s name represent and how does it reflect your mission?

VP

Drawn from the Latin, Vox Populi conjures associations with the voice of the people, or popular opinion. The name bears directly upon our mission, in that we are a collective. Major decisions must be arrived at through considerable discussion and consensus.

ICA

Do you consider yourselves an institution? Please explain.

VP

Because the nature of our organization is inherently defined by the motivations of the collective and director, Vox Populi has had many different eras and focal points, depending on who is leading and most invested in shaping the institution’s activities. As Vox Populi’s current executive director, I’m invested in reinforcing the consensus-based strengths of the collective—which are ultimately aggregated expressions of individuals—while critically cultivating the “institutionality” of Vox, i.e., its long-term stability, institutional structures, and programmatic capabilities.

ICA

What organizations are your conceptual peers? Who are you in dialogue with?

VP

Vox’s peers have always evolved according to the interests of the collective and the director. In recent years, this has meant collaborating with like-minded artist collectives and groups at local, national, and (to a lesser degree) international levels, and has resulted in our participation in projects like No Soul For Sale, which gathered several dozen art collectives and art spaces into a festival-like venue at both the Dia Building in New York (2009) and the Tate Modern in London (2010). Currently, half of our gallery space is dedicated to a curatorial collaboration with the Pacific Northwest College of Art, who will host the same exhibition in Portland at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture later this year. On a local level, we’re invested in (and collaborate regularly with) local performance-focused entities including FringeArts and the Ars Nova Workshop; and book and publication-based projects like Ulises. At the same time, artists like Camae Defstar and Rasheedah Phillips (whose names are synonymous with Black Quantum Futurism, Moor Mother, and the Community Futures Lab) regularly produce work for our gallery and performance spaces, and many of our current collective members work in academia throughout the region as teachers, curators, or arts administrators.

ICA

Who is your community? Is it the same as your audience?

VP

There is no simple answer to this question, which is currently under considerable discussion within Vox Populi’s collective. A provisional answer would involve some coalition of the diverse constituency of artists, musicians, activists, art and culture enthusiasts, performance artists, etc. who make up Philadelphia’s arts scene. Our community extends out of, and is supported by, a larger network of smaller gallery spaces—many in our own building on N. 11th Street—who show work by Philadelphia artists. How that community is evolving and how the themes of community, audience, diversity, and access intersect with one another is a huge question for Vox—and for other institutions in Philadelphia.

ICA

How does the history of your organization and its local context inform your current work?

VP

Vox’s history and context profoundly impact the nature of its work. Beyond the member-focused shows that comprise the core of our exhibition programming, we host an annual juried show that features the work of many local artists; Philadelphia’s performance-based tradition and our longstanding focus on performance has led us to work with the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage to develop a robust performance curatorial fellowship program; the list goes on. In short, we would like to emphasize that being a relatively small, nimble, and non-collecting entity that at times functions more like a collective or cooperative—and at other times more like an Institution—means that we can, for the most part, respond rapidly to current events, new trends within the field of artistic production, and issues of topical importance.