a showcase of works by local artists representing Latin America
In an effort to bring more visibility to Latino artists and artisans, Fleisher Art Memorial and Casa de Venezuela Philadelphia have teamed up to host a Latinx Craft Fair at Cherry Street Pier on July 11. This is the first collaboration between the two groups and will bring greater recognition of cultural heritages to the city’s rapidly changing neighborhoods.
The fair, which will open at 11 a.m., will be a market-style event where visitors can find handmade jewelry, straw hats, colorful embroidery, recycled clothing, clay art, beauty products and more from Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and Puerto Rico.
Gerard Silva, director of exhibitions and community outreach for Fleisher Art Memorial, said the event is twofold:
It is a response to Latin American communities who are asking for a more visible space to present their art and crafts. It is also an opportunity for aficionados to find the Latino objects and goods they dreamed of having but did not know where to find them.
“We’re never in fancy places, you know, so bringing the community to the pier means making art accessible to everyone, especially kids,” said Silva, himself an artist from Puerto Rico.
The fair is one of a list of cultural and artistic programs that Fleisher Art Memorial runs during a month-long residency at Cherry Street Pier, hosting some of the events simultaneously, starting Friday.
The partnership with Casa de Venezuela Philadelphia, with the Indonesian group Moderno Dance, is part of Fleisher’s 360 Culture Lab, a program funded by a grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, with a mission to foster creative expressions in various forms. of art. including music, dance, visual arts and culinary arts. After years of working with the Mexican people of South Philadelphia, Silva explained that the two-year grant program aims to maintain a sense of belonging within the communities of Philadelphia.
The event, the first craft fair of Latin American communities held at Cherry Street Pier, is inspired by the annual arts and crafts fair that Casa de Venezuela Philadelphia has been holding in South Philadelphia since 2016 in a recreation center.
Emilio Buitrago, one of the board members of Casa de Venezuela Philadelphia, said these neighborhood fairs have always served as spaces to share Latin American traditions. This opportunity at Cherry Street Pier, he said, brings artisans and artists to “the Anglo market”.
“Sometimes there’s someone trying to find that Mexican mug or that Brazilian embroidered towel and they just can’t find it,” he said. “This time, they won’t have to look too far.
Currently, 15 artists and artisans from the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC areas have registered to display and sell their products at the fair. The organizers hope to attract 25 participants.
Julieta Zavala is a fashion designer from Mexico City. The 35-year-old, a graduate of the Art Institute of Philadelphia, creates eco-friendly designs by recycling denim, cambaya and other fabrics to create unique garments inspired by Mexican culture: Day of the Dead, lucha libre, Frida Kahlo and Suite.
At the show, she will present a new collection of clothing made with reused fabrics imported from Mexico. This is the first time the Newark, Delaware resident will attend a fair in Philadelphia.
“It’s very exciting [to participate] because I look forward to forming many relationships there, ”said Zavala. “I’ve been to a lot of Hispanic events, but not such a big and accessible event.”
Silvia Roldán launched Yaku Wear in 2017, an online store that sells handmade jewelry and straw hats from Ecuador. Although Roldán has participated in many fairs and markets in the region, she looks forward to these events because, she says, they give her the opportunity to talk to others about her country.
“I love to chat with others, and this type of event gives me the opportunity to explain the history of a world famous product, recognized by UNESCO, but which everyone thinks comes from Panama” , she said of the toquilla straw hats. .
The event ends at 3 p.m. It will include artwork and exhibits from other Fleisher programs, in addition to an information booth from local and state agencies on COVID-19 vaccination efforts and the Affordable Care Act.