In-Progress

We Here

We Here is an art project in Kensington led by artist Roberto Lugo and a Community Advisory Council, focusing on youth, creativity, and pottery.

artist Roberto Lugo

Empowering Through Art 

Led by Roberto Lugo, We Here unfolds over two years, featuring engaging pottery and pattern-making workshops. These sessions, open to local schools and community members, pave the way for the creation of three monumental outdoor sculptures that symbolize Kensington’s spirit.  Locations to be announced.  This initiative not only showcases Lugo’s exceptional talent but also invites the community to immerse themselves in an artistic journey, culminating in a series of public programs, tours, and a symposium in the summer of 2024.

A Story in Every Sculpture 

Community Meeting for We Here at Cantina la Martina, April 6, 2023. Photo by Steve Weinik.

In Summer 2024, the project will culminate with the installation of three large-scale outdoor sculptures designed by Lugo, with contributions and feedback from community residents, at public sites in Kensington. Each sculpture will stand as a testament to the neighborhood’s rich cultural tapestry. A series of public programs and storytelling events will also take place during June-October 2024.

Inspiring the Next Generation 

In parallel, We Here introduces a bilingual children’s book co-developed by Lugo and Frank Berrios. This book, inspired by Lugo’s artistic journey, will be distributed free to local families, fostering a love for art from an early age.

Community at Its Core 

The project’s heart lies in its strong community foundation, guided by a dedicated Community Advisory Council consisting of Kensington residents. Their involvement ensures We Here resonates with the local ethos, promising a collaborative and inclusive art experience.

 

Community Meeting for We Here at Cantina la Martina, April 6, 2023. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Roberto Lugo: Artistic Vision Meets Community Action 

Roberto masterfully blends classical ceramics with the vibrancy of hip-hop culture to address poverty, inequality, and racial injustice. Through his work, Lugo revitalizes traditional European and Asian pottery with urban flair, merging classic aesthetics with modern motifs, including graffiti and portraits of influential figures often excluded from luxury art.

Recently, Lugo received the esteemed Heinz Award, granting 250,000 in unrestricted funds. A recipient of prestigious awards like the 2019 Pew Fellowship, his art enriches major collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. As an Assistant Professor at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Lugo continues to inspire through his innovative approach to ceramics and social commentary.

His unique blend of classical ceramics and urban culture brings a fresh perspective to Kensington, encouraging the community to see art as a mirror of their collective identity and potential.

In the News 

WHYY: ‘Transforming the art form of ceramics’: Philly artist Roberto Lugo wins $250,000 Heinz Award
Philadelphia Metro: ‘We Here’ gets the community involved with its art

Project Team 

Roberto Lugo, Lead Artist
Megan Voeller, Curator of Public Engagement
Ise Oberlender, Roberto Lugo Studio Manager
Anna Drozdowski, Project Manager
Yinka Orafidyia, Pottery Instructor
Nitza Rosario, Pottery Instructor
Digital Atelier, Fabrication
Frank Berrios, Author
Eric MacLaughlin, Graphic Design
Gustavo Garcia / Colibri Workshop, Videographer

Mural Arts Team 

Nadia Malik, Porch Light Director
Paige Phillips, Porch Light Curator/Project Manager
Shatoya Howard, Porch Light Senior Storefronts Manager
Emily Crane, Color Me Back Program Manager
Mat Tomezsko, Color Me Back Mural Manager
Corey Cooper, Color Me Back Assistant Artist
Chad Eric Smith, Senior Director of Communications and Brand Management
Genevieve Richardson, Manager of Institutional Relations
Steve Weinik, Senior Photographer/Senior Manager of Digital Media and Technology

We Here Community Advisory Committee 

John Walsh
Claire Sitarz
Drew Spence
Brenda Mosley
Daisie Cardona
Margarita Gonzalez
Katelyn Stoler
Sunny Phanthavong
Tyler Kline
Neyda Rios
J.C. Zerbe

 

Major support for We Here has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from Hummingbird Foundation and the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.