New Publications from Asian Arts Initiative and Painted Bride Art Center Document Community Engagement Projects

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Consumption: A Project on Pearl Street publication.

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Faustin Linyekula's Philly Files. Photo by Jen Cleary.

Two recently completed Center-supported projects have released publications documenting artistic collaborations and community engagement processes.

During a two-and-a-half year residency with Asian Arts Initiative, artist and community activist Rick Lowe engaged with residents of Philadelphia's Chinatown North neighborhood to revitalize Pearl Street, an under-used alley behind Asian Arts Initiative's building. Through a series of public workshops, community gatherings, and art installations, Consumption: A Project on Pearl Street conceived by Rick Lowe aimed to create a dynamic hub for social and economic exchange, activated by residents and serving the community at-large.

The culmination of the multi-part project is a catalogue featuring essays by Lowe and his Consumption collaborators, artists Emily Chow Bluck, Aletheia Hyun-Jin Shin, and Chaplain Jeffrey Harley, along with photos documenting the project, and testimonials from community members. The catalog is available for purchase online.>>

"The importance of Pearl Street is deeper than just who uses the street," writes Lowe in his essay. "The space symbolizes a psychological and physical divide between those who have wealth and resources and those who don't."

Over the course of nearly two years, Painted Bride Art Center produced a series of performances, exhibitions, lectures, readings, and conversations that invited artists and audiences to expand Philadelphia's archive of cultural memory by "re-place-ing" it with new narratives and understandings about the city and its history.

The re-place-ing Philadelphia project culminated in three performances in April 2016, including choreographer Reggie Wilson's postmodern dance piece Stamped Stomped Stumped; performance artist Marty Pottenger's environmental theater work #PHILLYSAVESEARTH; and Congolese choreographer Faustin Linyekula's socially-charged dance work Philly Files.

An accompanying e-book, Primary Sources: Materials for a New Cultural Archive, is now available, documenting the project's development. The handbook includes reflective essays by project facilitators and collaborating artists that continue the conversations initiated by the project. Download the handbook here.>>

In the introduction for Primary Sources, Donna Faye Burchfield, an artistic advisor on the project and director of the School of Dance at the University of the Arts, writes: "Projects like [re-Place-ing Philadelphia]...speak to the ongoing urgency to provide a means to expand the language, strategies, and content around the complex relationships between art, art making, our cities, and the world."