May 20, 2024

We Here Neighborhood Clay Workshops Kick-off & Sculpture Sites Announced

by: Jenny Donnelly Johnson

Clay in the Neighborhood Workshops 

Join Us for Hands-On Clay Workshops with Nitza Walesca Rosario!

We are thrilled to invite you to a series of engaging pattern-making and pottery workshops led by the talented Nitza Walesca Rosario. Nitza, a passionate clay artist and dedicated community member, brings her expertise and enthusiasm to the heart of Kensington. These workshops are a fantastic opportunity for families, individuals, and local school groups to get their hands dirty and experience the joy of art-making together.

Who is Nitza?

Nitza Walesca Rosario, an artist at The Clay Studio, is known for her vibrant and intricate clay creations. Her deep connection to Kensington and her love for clay has fueled her artistic journey, making her a beloved figure in the community. Invited by Roberto Lugo, Nitza’s role in this project is pivotal, and her workshops promise to be fun and inspiring.

Why Join Us?

No Experience Necessary: Whether you’re a seasoned artist or a curious beginner, Nitza’s workshops are designed for everyone. No prior experience is needed, making these sessions perfect for all ages and skill levels.
Great for Families: These workshops provide a wonderful opportunity for families to bond over a creative activity. Bring your kids, parents, and friends for a memorable experience.
Community Engagement: Participate in an immersive artistic journey that will culminate in the unveiling of three monumental outdoor sculptures in Kensington this summer. Your contributions to these workshops will be vital to this larger community art project.

Workshop Details:

Dates: 6/15, 6/29, 7/13, 7/27, 8/10, 8/24, 9/7, 9/21, 10/5
Time: 10 am-12 pm
Cost: FREE!
Location: Kensington Storefront | 3208 Kensington Avenue
Materials Provided: All necessary materials will be provided. Just bring your enthusiasm and creativity!

Special Highlights: “Clay allows me to connect with my roots and my community in a profound way,” says Nitza. Did you know Nitza was invited by renowned artist Roberto Lugo to lead these workshops? Her journey and passion are sure to inspire you.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to engage with art and community. We look forward to seeing you at the workshops!

More about We Here

Announcing the We Here sculpture sites in Kensington 

Mural Arts Philadelphia, in collaboration with artist and Kensington native Roberto Lugo and a dedicated Community Advisory Council, is proud to announce the site locations for three monumental outdoor sculptures, designed by Roberto Lugo as part of the We Here community driven public art program in Kensington.

The sculptures will be located at:

  • Taller Puertorriqueño, 2600 N 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19133,
  • Kensington Corridor Trust Community Garden, 3236-56 Kensington Ave., PA 19134,
  • Free Church of St. John, Emerald St and Elkhart St, Philadelphia, PA 19134.

These outdoor sculptures, designed by Roberto Lugo, will embody the spirit of the community, integrating pattern designs and other input from Kensington residents. Accompanying the installations, public programs, including tours and a symposium, will occur from June to October 2024, celebrating the project’s impact and community stories.

Roberto Lugo.

We Here is a two-year project spearheaded by Mural Arts’ Porch Light program, a collaborative effort with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, which has worked to broaden access to the arts in Kensington since 2017. Inspired by Lugo’s journey as a professional artist who grew up in Kensington, We Here emphasizes youth engagement through pottery. The project features pattern-making and pottery workshops designed to actively involve local school groups and community members in an immersive artistic journey that will culminate in unveiling three monumental outdoor sculptures in Kensington during the Summer of 2024. Workshops will be led by Lugo and collaborating artists, including Yinka Orafidiya and Nitza Walesca Rosario.

We Here is a project I started in collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light program to celebrate and create art in Kensington, the community where I grew up. There are artists and visual thinkers in every community, and with access and the support to express themselves creatively, everyone can have the opportunity to thrive,” said Lead Artist Roberto Lugo.

“With the larger-than-life vessel sculptures that will be installed in the neighborhood, my goal is for folks to take pride in our community and see themselves as artists in the colorful patterns derived from and inspired by Kensington that will adorn the artwork,” said Lugo. “The sculptures themselves are an invitation for the community to interact; by stepping inside, you complete the artwork’s vignette as the portrait subject. I was inspired to create these sculptures and debut them in the community that raised me after taking notice of the stigma surrounding people taking selfies or photos with artwork. Above the criticism, I saw the natural inclination of people yearning to be reflected in something beautiful. With We Here, I’m bringing art back to my neighborhood and urging the people of my community to step into their absolute talent and creativity.”

“The sculpture will remind us of the importance of art as an element of cultural and positive transformation. We are very grateful to be part of this project for the community,” said Rev. Fr. Joseluis Memba, Vicar of the Free Church of St. John.

“We are thrilled to partner with Mural Arts Philadelphia to unveil a masterpiece at the community garden — a pottery vessel crafted by the talented Ruberto Lugo, a proud product of the Kensington neighborhood,” said Adriana Abizadeh, Executive Director of Kensington Corridor Trust. “This collaboration not only celebrates art but also honors our vibrant local heritage, infusing our shared spaces with the beauty of creativity and the richness of our community’s stories.”

“Lugo’s return to Taller is like a family member coming home. His portraits, with their cacophony of floral patterns, color, hardlines, and aesthetic influence, follow the language of the area,” said Rafael Damast, Exhibitions Manager and Curator of Taller Puertorriqueño. “The vignettes in the vase—large spaces created in his work for people to walk through and have their pictures taken—echo the community’s desires to be seen and appreciated. We are very excited to have his work here and to see our audiences interact with it.”

More about We Here

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.

Partners on this project include Impact Services, Kensington Corridor Trust, McPherson Library, Taller Puertorriqueño, Free Church of St. John, Jules E. Mastbaum High School, and Frances E. Willard School. The works are being produced in collaboration with the Johnson Atelier team in Hamilton, New Jersey, where Lugo’s first monumental public artwork, “Put Yourself in the Picture,” was produced in 2022 for his residency and solo show at Grounds for Sculpture.

Last updated: May 29, 2024

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