Next Stop: Democracy!

Those of us here at Handmade Philly love the idea of art that is…well, “just” art! As in emotive, expressive, purgative…it exists because it must…art! But we also love the idea of art being used to help us plug in…to help us connect…and…wait for it…to help us VOTE!! Because of this, we are showcasing a new project called Next Stop: Democracy! A local group is hiring local artists and makers to create bigger, better, nonpartisan signage for Philly’s polling places! Read on below, to gather more information about this exciting project and its founders.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1/ Please tell us a bit about your project? 

Can public art increase voter engagement? This is a question that hasn’t been answered, so we’re getting Philadelphia’s best creatives together to help us find out. Election Day should be one of the most exciting days of the year, but to many people, it seems like a chore. Finding your polling place, finding the entrance, and waiting in line can be complicated and frustrating.

Plus, the signage required by the city to identify a polling place is nothing more than a few pieces of paper taped up on the wall outside the door. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you wouldn’t give it a second glance.

It doesn’t have to be this way! What if we could transform Election Day from something frustrating into something fun?

Our idea is simple. Election Day should be an experience. Instead of boring, confusing signs, let’s use bright, vibrant artwork to identify our polling places. Can artists and performers make Election Day in Philadelphia a little more colorful? We vote yes!

By commissioning more than 50 local artists to create large signs that say “Vote Here” in both English and Spanish, we’ll make it easier for people to find their polling places on Election Day. Plus, we’ll be hiring local musicians and performers to dance, sing, and drum at selected polling places. With art, we aim to make the voting process less confusing AND more enjoyable.

2/ Tell us more about yourself. 

Lansie Sylvia is a tornado of curls, sparkles, and great ideas. At HMC, she leads our external communication strategy, works with clients on communication projects, and builds new community partnerships. She also serves as Project Director for Next Stop: Democracy!, HMC’s newest community initiative funded by the Knight Cities Challenge and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Her areas of expertise include nonprofit communication, storytelling, fund development, and millennial engagement strategy. Since 2010, she has held director-level positions in a variety of Philadelphia-based organizations, most recently at the EHL Consulting Group and the Philadelphia Film Society.

Before receiving her M.S. in Leadership for Social Change from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice, she completed an AmeriCorps Year of Service in Providence, Rhode Island. An active supporter of the arts, Lansie is the founder of Philly Give & Get, Secretary of the Charlotte Cushman Foundation, Communication Co-Chair at The Spruce Foundation, and a member of the Curtis Crescendo Club. Her go-to karaoke song is “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan.

3/ Will these signs be reused each year? 

Yes! That’s why we are doing a Kickstarter. We don’t want to use cheap, plastic signs that we order off the Internet. To do this right, we want to honor our artists and offer them locally made, sturdy, and durable canvases. Darla Jackson from the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym is ready to build us sign frames that will be functional and beautiful. But these high-quality wooden signs are more expensive than the mass-produced plastic ones.

4/ What is your plan for loss prevention? 

Each sign will be custom-built to include a small lock and chain so that they can be fastened to benches, trees, and fences to make it more difficult for people to walk off with them. Additionally, we are working with a team of field researchers to collect data on the outcomes, and those volunteers will be keeping an eye on the signs as well.

5/ Is your project a non profit or for profit? Where will proceeds from this project be spent?

Our main funding is provided by the Knight Foundation and managed by the Miami Foundation, which is our fiscal sponsor. So technically, I don’t know the project counts as either, legally speaking, but any proceeds are being reinvested in the project. The project is being produced by Here’s My Chance, a small business that works exclusively with nonprofits and socially-responsible businesses.

6/ Will each artist be paid? 

Yes! All of the artists and performers are being paid. We’re really passionate about that.

7/ Additional comments? 

A major city like Philadelphia needs a lot of polling places. 850 of them, to be exact. Every year on Election Day, these locations open on nearly every street corner so that voters can improve the city and make their voices heard…or so that a few of them can.

That’s right. Despite the internet making registration and finding your polling place easier than ever, voter turnout has been dropping year after year. In fact, across the country voter turnout is the lowest its been in 72 years. Here in Philadelphia, during the recent Mayoral primary only 27% of registered voters go out to the polls, which means that 27% of the electorate made a pretty huge decision for the rest of us.

And just like eating 27% of a cheesesteak or running up 27% of the Art Museum steps, that’s just not good enough.

There are many reasons why folks don’t show up to vote on election day. Here’s a big one: polling places can be located in parks, schools, office buildings, churches, and more. The signage required by the city is nothing more than a few pieces of paper taped up on the wall outside the door. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you wouldn’t give it a second glance. Plain, out-of-the-way polling locations combined with puny signage can make finding your way a real pain. It makes voting difficult, when it should be great.

That’s why we started Next Stop: Democracy!, a public art project to improve the voting experience in Philadelphia.

Kickstarter page for this project: 

Hype & Lavender: Fashionably Crafty Gals & Makers Market


LiliGlow Boutique is turning 5 years old! To celebrate, Tamara Johnson, the brand’s founder, is hosting Hype & Lavender. Tamara is currently looking for 14 crafty female designers or makers to vend at this event. By the way, free tix to attend Hype and Lavender are currently available as part of the Early Bird Special. Here’s some more info from the event page:



Event is being held in the Eraserhood/ Loft District over at SAVERY Gallery (319 North 11th Street). Date: August 22, time: Noon to 5pm. See for additional details.

9 Tips to Create Your Own Publicity

Posted On July 10, 2015

Filed under DO IT YOURSELF, Media, Resources

Comments Dropped leave a response


Great tips to gain exposure for your small business.

Originally posted on Kennedy Robinson, Public Relations:

What is the easiest way to get publicity, build trust and gain visibility for your business? Promoting yourself is the answer. Yes paid PR can guarantee results but self-promotion never hurt anyone! If you don’t do anything, you won’t get anything.
So use one of these tips today,everyday if possible and you’ll see how easily you can create publicity for your company, both online and offline.

  1. Create your content usinggraphics and photos.Use websites likeCanva or PicMonkey to create graphics. Gather (or take) your best product photos or photos showing you in action with the services you provide. Use your content on social media to drive traffic to your website.
  2. Obtain testimonials from your customers or clients. This is pretty easy if you already have a website like Etsy, Amazon, Thumbtack or Fiverr where you sell your services or products. Most of the time websites such as these have a…

View original 411 more words

Handmade at Amazon is Accepting Applications

Posted On June 26, 2015

Filed under Opportunities, Resources
Tags: ,

Comments Dropped leave a response


Latest News about Handmade at Amazon

Originally posted on Kennedy Robinson, Public Relations:

Capture Photo Credit: Handmade At Amazon, Amazon

As promised, I am keeping up on Handmade at Amazon!

Well today I received an email encouraging me to apply to become a Handmade at Amazon Artisan.

“Handmade” is an invite only community so you have to complete an application. Right now, Handmade at Amazon is open to artisans who make Jewelry, Home products (Art, Baby Bedding, Bath, Bedding, Furniture, Home Décor, Kitchen & Dining, Lighting, Patio, Lawn & Garden, Storage & Organization), Party Supplies and Stationery.

The application is pretty straight forward and simple.  It asks the normal questions such as your business name, city, state, website, etc.  Then it gets into the nitty gritty asking questions such as:

  • What type of products do you sell?
  • How do you make them?
  • Are they indeed handmade or hand-altered?
  • How long have you been selling?
  • Where do you sell?
  • Do you sell at Craft Fairs?

View original 241 more words

Move over Etsy… Make room for Handmade at Amazon

Posted On June 26, 2015

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Dropped leave a response

Originally posted on Kennedy Robinson, Public Relations:

etsyamazon2If you are a fellow Etsian (Etsy seller), you’ve probably heard through the grapevine or better yet, received an email from Amazon directly about their new venture “Handmade at Amazon”.

The email states “We’re offering artisans like you a first peek at Handmade, a new marketplace for handcrafted goods.”

“Handmade at Amazon” is still in the very early stages, and I couldn’t find much about it besides the information in the actual email and a few other blog posts. The email didn’t provide many details about the launch date, selling guidelines or fees. The invite did include a link to a form on Amazon’s website that asks what you sell, with a bigger focus being put on Jewelry and Home and Kitchen, which are both huge Etsy selling categories.

Amazon is much bigger than Etsy as a marketplace. Amazon gets more traffic and is a household brand name. Etsy…

View original 123 more words

Kelly Kozma: Mixed Media Class at Paradigm Gallery

Kelly Kozma’s mixed media show is currently on exhibit at Paradigm Gallery, located at 746 S. 4th Street, right down on Fabric Row. We are excited to check out the show but equally excited about the class Kelly is going to be leading!

Mixed Media Techniques with Kelly Kozma

Sunday June 7, 2015 • 12pm, 2pm, 4pm*


Make sure to reserve your spot on Ticketleap:

All supplies will be provided for you at the gallery. Sessions will start on the hour at 12:00pm, 2:00pm, and 4:00pm. Check out more of Kelly’s work and get some inspiration here:

All works made in this free art class will be exhibited in our annual Community Arts Project Exhibition this winter and will be sold for $20 each. 100% of funds will support future free art class programming.

Handmade Philly Art Supply Swap!

Posted On August 8, 2014

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Dropped leave a response

1098232_161697444019893_1103895294_n 754cac_7d9d412

Sunday, August 31, 2014 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM 

Location: Iron Factory, 118 Fontain St
3rd Floor / 
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Transportation: Just a few blocks from the Berks stop of the Market-Frankford line.

Purchase Tickets


Do you have carving tools laying around, yet long for a set of good pastels? Or vice versa? This swap is made for you. Leave some stuff you don’t need, take some stuff you do.
Quality Items Please!  
Suggested Donation $10 

See FAQs below for guidelines on what to bring, how it works etc.

Art Supply SWAP FAQ

Why are we doing this?

This event is part of a world-wide return to swapping in lieu of trashing and buying.

Many artists admit to hoarding materials they never get around to using, while at the same time lacking funds for stuff they could use. Swapping opens new possibilities for artists to experiment and explore new mediums.

The event also serves as a mixer for area artists. Donation fee goes to pay for venue, to assist with the relocation of the unclaimed items, and to purchase promotional items for Handmade Philly. Please note, this event is exactly 2 hours long. Arrive early or on time!

How does it work?

This event is open to the public. If you have a table, or chairs, please bring them! If you have a table that you can bring, please email event organizer at to coordinate details. Note, event is on the 3rd floor and unfortunately venue is not handicap accessible. 

What kind of supplies can be brought in for swapping? 

Lightly used paint tubes, blank or prepared canvasses, unwrinkled paper reams, stacks, pads, or large sheets/rolls, gently used tools (like brushes, drafting tools, carving sets, glue guns), bead collections in containers, soft, sealed clay, working sets of markers, books, unopened or barely used adhesives, fibre arts yarns, hooks, etc, collectionsof ephemera or unsusual trinkets for mixed media, easels, new/unopened sets of materials, Dremmel or similar tool, portfolios, drying press, vintage or antique art-making-related items, sets (“everthing you need to make one art quilt”), unopened blocks of clay

NOT desired: used coloring books, completed (or incomplete) artwork, untested

markers, unprotected blades or dysfunctional paper cutters, magazines, CDs, puzzles, half-used

watercolor sets, cans of house paint or other hazardous waste.

What happens to the leftovers?

Unclaimed items will be taken to Resource Exchange, or donated to Handmade Philly. 

Next Page »

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,147 other followers