The Village of Arts and Humanities has a nearly 40-year-old history of providing arts and community development opportunities to Philadelphia’s deeply disinvested Fairhill-Hartranft neighborhood.
We strive to support artists and Black community residents to imagine, design, and build a more just and equitable society through our work.
We proudly announce The Futures Gallery, our next big art and advocacy project.
As an exhibit space for Philadelphia’s Black working artists, The Futures Gallery is a natural extension of The Village’s long-standing artist support systems, like our Black Working Artists’ Gap Fund and below-market-rate studio spaces. During the height of the pandemic, we worked to fund over 300 artists to help relieve the economic impact of COVID-19.
We believe art and artists are essential to community wellness. This latest project builds on our history of supporting Black artists in their creative processes and livelihoods by providing a space to connect directly with the community through art exhibitions and events.
The Village of Arts and Humanities is updating our main cultural building and adding a permanent Futures Gallery at the terminus of the Germantown-Lehigh commercial corridor. The Futures Gallery will serve as a powerful cultural and economic tool for resilience—for community residents past-present-future, for The Village, and for Black working artists across the City—one that combats the physical and cultural erasure of Black communities.
The seeds of this project were planted during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted our community’s need for, and lack of, history-making spaces that can name, hold and help people integrate significant loss and change. This crisis also reaffirmed our promise to defend and lift up our Black neighbors, youth, and artists.
Support for The Futures Gallery has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and MacKenzie Scott (Yield Giving). Support for the Village Oracle has been provided by The Kresge Foundation. We thank them for their generous support.
THE VISIONING PROCESS
The Artists + The Archetypes + Symbols
The Village Oracle is a temporary exhibition, program series, and tool for envisioning communal spaces. The Oracle’s 26 archetypes and symbols guide the philosophy of The Village’s upcoming Futures Gallery.
During 2022, community members and field experts worked with Afrofuturist Li Sumpter and Village leadership to explore how our upcoming gallery will:
- Hold space for the past, present, and future
- Creatively and critically respond to the times
Their collective ideas and lessons are represented by 13 archetypes and 13 symbols as interpreted by 14 Philadelphia-based Black Artists. These original artworks will also be reproduced in the form of an Oracle Deck to be used at The Village and throughout our community as a tool for equitable decision-making.
The exhibition also features an immersive 30-minute soundscape created by three sound artists. The soundscape is inspired by the Oracle and comprises audio recorded on-site, in focus groups and research interviews, and original beats and rhythms.
Glossary of Terms
Communication with the divine; from the Latin oraculum from orare, “to pray,” or “to speak”.
A very typical example of a certain person or thing; a collectively-inherited unconscious idea, a pattern of thought, image, etc., that is universally present, in individual psyches, as in Jungian psychology.
A thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract / a mark or character used as a conventional representation of an object, function, or process
Kara Mshinda – The Guardian
Robert Carter – The Elder
Azha McIntosh – The Youth
Ernel Martinez – The Artist
Claes Gabriel – The Healer
Oluwafemi – The Scribe
Mikel Elam – The Capitalist
ENEM – The Vandal
Naeem Murdic – The Rebel
Rushawn Stanley – The Peacemaker
Li Sumpter – The Afronaut
Naomieh Jovin -The Trailblazer
Nazeer Abree – The Designer
Keni Thomas – Spiral of Life, Generations, The Cycle of Violence, Black Joy, Love and Grit, Philly Soul, Technology, Ritual, Time, The City/Philly, The Garden, and Communication
Brittany Webb, James Claiborne, RÏse Wilson, Logan Cryer, Alexis Assam, Damon Reeves, Jason Warwin, Rob Blackson, Danny Orendorff, Aisha Zia Khan, and Ernel Martinez
Residents and Community Stakeholders + Village Industries Youth Program
Clifton Fordham – Project Architect, Joe Val – Oval Project Management, Li Sumpter – Afrofuturist & Project Consultant, Our People Entertainment – Temporary Exhibit Fabrication, Fine Homes & Spaces – General Contractor, Matthew Dodd – Art Handler Program Design Consultant
Village Art Review Team Members
Jeanette Lloyd, Aviva Kapust, Nandi Jackson, Olivia Hatchell-Shaki
Support for The Futures Gallery has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and MacKenzie Scott (Yield Giving). Support for the Village Oracle has been provided by The Kresge Foundation.