Handmade Philly MeetUp: April!

Handmade-Philly-Flyer_MeetUp

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.

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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: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/306238411/next-stop-democracy-60-signs-60-artists-1-city 

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!

FREE SUNDAY ART CLASS
Mixed Media Techniques with Kelly Kozma

Sunday June 7, 2015 • 12pm, 2pm, 4pm*

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Make sure to reserve your spot on Ticketleap:
http://paradigm-gallery.ticketleap.com/mixed-media-techniques-with-kelly-kozma/details

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: http://www.kellykozma.com/

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.

June Meet Up: Make 3D glasses & experience a 3D member show @ Flying Carpet Cafe & Bar

Hosted by our member, Bonnie MacAllister. Learn how to make 3D glasses and use your new glasses to see her 3D art show at the Flying Carpet Cafe & Bar featuring fibers, painting, fabric prints, and more!

Bring one of your own works in progress to share with the group. 

The Flying Carpet Cafe & Bar features a full bar and full menu including but not limited to vegetarian options, small plates, specialty teas, and brunch items. The curried carrots are incredible!10299080_451928318284549_2565652561968721307_n images

RSVP here at our Facebook event.

Follow Bonnie on Instagram here.

Sunday, June 8 from 4-6 p.m.
at the
Flying Carpet Cafe & Bar
1841-43 Poplar Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 235-2525 (restaurant phone)

 

 

 

Handmade Philly’s March Meet Up!

March’s meeting will be held at the Clay Studio.Handmade Philly events are open to the public and are free of charge.
Date: March 9th
Time: 3-5 pm
Address: The Clay Studio, 139 N Second St., Phila.This meeting is being hosted by Handmade Philly member Meg Perine. Thanks Meg!

Details: “The good people of the Clay Studio have agreed to us having the next meet up in the gallery space.

The Curator, Garth Johnson, wants to be involved so he is giving us a tour of the whole building which includes the Resident artist floor, the School, and the Associate floor (where I share in the communal rented studio space). You can look at the Clay Studio website to see which exhibitions will be in the gallery by then.

Decal activity planned! Bring an item of smooth, shiny, white ceramic (or choose from pre-bought thrift store items from Ruth and me) and decorate it with decals! Decals will be in the form of colored paper so you can cut out a design and put it on the item to be fired, and it will be a permanent surface decoration. If anyone has stencils or things, feel free to bring them too!

Here's a look at the items Meg and I scrounged up at the thrift store.

Here’s a look at the items Meg and I scrounged up at the thrift store.

The Clay Studio is very near the 2nd st MFL stop in Old City. The street parking is so-so in that area, but there are several lots around. There are 3 doors, which can be confusing for first timers, enter through the gallery double door entrance.”

(Call for volunteer): We are looking for someone to take photos at the meeting, and to post about the meeting afterwards, on our blog.

Bring a snack to share!

If you are on FB, please be sure to RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/688938881154352/

 

January Handmade Philly Meet Up!

January’s meeting will be held in South Philadelphia at Jed Williams Gallery.

Date: January 19th
Time: 3-5 pm
Address: Jed Williams Gallery, 615 Bainbridge Street. Phila.

Bring a snack to share! BYOB (or Wine).
Bring something you’ve made, or bring a Work In Progress.

Looking forward to catching up with you, and for those of you I have not met, I’m looking forward to meeting you!

*Note (call for volunteer): We are looking for someone to take photos at the meeting, and to post about the meeting afterwards, on our blog.

Also, if anyone is interested in leading a skill share, please let me know and I can try to bring supplies!

Please be sure to RSVP if you have a FB account. https://www.facebook.com/events/786491068044878/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

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Handmade Philly Member Feature: Danni M

Danni Morinich, a member of Handmade Philly was given the opportunity to create a soap for The Italian Market Visitors Center. She lives in the neighborhood, she was not only honored to be asked, but so pleased at the result.

If you’re in the neighborhood for the Italian Festival Saturday, May 18th and Sunday, May 19th, stop by and see how she worked with the Italian Market Visitors Center to create a soap with an appearance that pays homage to the originators of the market in fragrances that are a nod to the importance of food in the market.
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These gems make perfect gifts for the tourist, the foodie or those who still call Philly home while taking up residence elsewhere.

This soap is available exclusively at the Italian Market Visitors Center 919 S. 9th Street (Just south of 9th and Christian between Montrose Street and Salter Street (215) 278-2903.

Niesha Kennedy-Robinson is a lover of things handmade. Besides being a wife and a mother, she is the owner and operator of Wee Bit Trendy, a small online shop that provides Handmade Faux Treats for Baby. She loves DIY (why buy when you can DIY), and doing PR for Sharp with Art Group and West Park Arts Festival

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