We use art.
“Art” is our ability to move forward without a template and to hold multiple truths as valid. “Art” is how we unearth and share experiences; how we understand and heal; and how we express joy, grief, rage, and love.
We co-create. We develop mutual value (in the form of programs, products, and policies) in collaboration with community members, stakeholders, and other experts.
We use Futures Thinking. We imagine and consider unlimited/unencumbered possible futures. We don’t limit ourselves by constructs and tools created through white supremacy. We imagine and create what can and should be.
We invest in strengths. People are creative; they want to shape their own experiences. People’s unique gifts are critical to self-determination.
The Futures Gallery project (funded by Pew) comprises two arts-based community economic development efforts: (1) Modifying The Village’s main cultural building to include a gallery space, as envisioned and planned through facilitated and documented engagement, and (2) Researching and designing a job-skills training program that trains and places Black young adults in jobs as art handlers and installers.
The Youth Art Handling and Installation Program directly supports our mission and many of our institutional priorities: creating access to legal economies for neighborhood youth, particularly in the creative sphere; opening reciprocal exchange between Philadelphia’s art world and our neighborhood; and feeding our ability to mount exhibitions of exceptional quality while further investing in our own community, rather than funds flowing outside of our neighborhood every time The Village presents a new work.
Each effort will include the following key activities::
- Consultant onboarding and relationship-building
- Co-visioning and co-planning
Outputs for Job Skills Training in Art Handling, Program Design Process | 2022 – 2023:
Fully researched Vision and Action plan for the Young Adult Art Handler program, including but not limited to:
- Research local history of art installation and existing levels of awareness and interest in this program
- Confirmation of Youth Art Handler program advisors, trainers, and employment partners who can provide employment at the end of the program and provide input on training development
- Adaptation of existing asset-based curriculum to teach key skills (with The Broad Diversity Apprenticeship Program)
- Experience-based design process to hone training methods with small focus group
Outcomes for Job Skills Training in Art Handling, | Fall 2023:
- The Youth Art Handling and Installation program is developed and ready to recruit first trainees
- A necessary network of relationships and advisors is present to support trainee success
- Enrollment for pilot, Job Skills Training Program: Art Handling and Installation (currently not funded)
With this proposed project, The Village will invest in generating a neighborhood asset that embodies and bolsters resilience by impacting the following objectives:
- Reinforce safety, beauty, and cultural identity along the disinvested Germantown-Lehigh commercial corridor, which experienced looting, vandalism, and fires during the 2020 uprisings
- Eliminate spending of money and time on modification of inadequate in-neighborhood space or off-campus gallery space
- Train and employ community young adults in art handling and installation;
- Preserve and amplify Black histories, memories, and ideas suppressed or erased by systematic disinvestment and displacement exacerbated by COVID-19;
- Provide a creative laboratory for Philadelphia’s Black working artists (a natural extension of our Black Working Artists’ Gap Fund (2020) and below-market-rate studios for Black artists).