The Philadelphia History Museum has been a member of AASLH since 2003.
PHILADELPHIA, PA, November 10, 2015 — The Philadelphia History Museum will explore the origins and current impact of community-based cultural organization Taller Puertorriqueño and their youth-created artwork that speaks to the challenges Puerto Rican and Latino children face within Philadelphia in a new Community History Gallery exhibition ¡Aqui! Art, Youth, and Heritage at Taller Puertorriqueño. Organized by Taller Puertorriqueno (Taller), the exhibition, on view November 14, 2015 through March 2016, reflects the city’s Puerto Rican community from the 1940s to present day. An opening reception will be held Friday, November 13. The event is free to the public.
Sponsored by PECO, the Community History Gallery was created as a space for historical, community, social service, arts and cultural organizations from across the city to present their histories and to tell their stories that contribute to the diverse fabric of life in Philadelphia. “For over 40 years Taller has made an extraordinary impact on our city and we are pleased to have them as a partner,” stated Charles Croce, Museum Executive Director and CEO.
“For over 40 years, with a lot of sweat, struggle, and resilience, Taller has built a physical space for Puerto Rican and Latino cultural expression and contributions. We dedicate this exhibit to our youth, a primary focus of our efforts, and thank the Philadelphia History Museum for providing a venue to tell this story,” stated Carmen Febo San Miguel, Taller’s Executive Director and CEO
Using photographs, video and art, the exhibition demonstrates how Taller uses art and education to meet the needs and aspirations of children in the community. For many students, these programs provide the only spaces where they can find positive meaning and purpose in a supportive environment that nourishes their artistic sensibilities, validates their cultural heritage, and helps them build academic skills. The students’ artwork reflects the challenges that many Puerto Rican and Latino youth encounter in Philadelphia. Their art proclaims, “We are here!”
Featured objects include a photograph of Taller’s original location at 3049 N. 5th St., dating to 1975, a year after its founding; Street Kings, a placemaking project created by Youth Art Program artist Ricardo Lopez, as a reaction to the violence he saw in his neighborhood; and Batiendo la Olla (Stirring the Pot), an oral history project from 1976-78 featuring 22 young adults who were recruited by Taller to document the life experiences of over 50 Philadelphians who identified themselves as Puerto Ricans.
Taller, (pronounced Tahl-air), which means “workshop” in Spanish, was founded in 1974, as postwar migration and immigration of Latinos to Philadelphia saw heightened ethnic tensions. After World War II, Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican population grew to the third largest in the country. Latino activists, along with blacks and other minorities in the 1970s, fought for political representation, and wanted their welfare and social needs to be addressed. They also demanded acknowledgement of their distinct identities. Taller’s founders recognized that the need for art and other forms of cultural activities were critical to ethnic pride. Through art, culture can be shared and celebrated, people honored, as well as experiences expressed. Creating art, and seeing it placed throughout the community they recognized was a way to see Latinos play an active part in the fabric of American society.
Philadelphia Voices: The Community History Gallery showcases exhibitions designed and installed by Philadelphia-based community groups, schools, or non-profit organizations about their work and history. Previous exhibitions include:
-Family Interrupted/Community Connected with the Mural Arts program
-Northern Liberties: From World’s Workshop to Hipster Mecca and the People in Between
-Behind the Scenes of The Nutcracker with the Pennsylvania Ballet
-The German Society of Pennsylvania: Celebrating 250 years
Philadelphia History Museum
Reopened to the public in September 2012 with the completion of a total interior renovation, the Philadelphia History Museum unveiled redesigned galleries to showcase its outstanding collection of historical objects, art, and artifacts. The Museum, founded by City Ordinance in 1938 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution in Philadelphia, is housed in an historic 1826 building at 15 South 7th Street, designed by John Haviland as the original home of the Franklin Institute. The Museum provides historical context
for issues of contemporary urban life using its premier collection of over 100,000 objects, paintings, and photographs in exhibitions, programs, and interactive media. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.philadelphiahistory.org or call 215.685.4830.
Located at 2721 N. 5th St. and 2557 N. 5th St., Philadelphia, PA 19133, Taller Puertorriqueño (Taller) is a community based cultural organization whose primary purpose is to preserve, develop and promote Puerto Rican arts and culture, grounded in the conviction that embracing one’s cultural heritage is central to community empowerment. Taller is also committed to the representation and support of other Latino cultural expressions and our common roots. Taller was founded in 1974 to fulfill a need of providing Puerto Rican/Latino arts and cultural activities for our community youth. Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Latino community, Taller crafts and presents programs that educate community members, promote and celebrate the richness and beauty of Puerto Rican and Latino cultures, and create an environment of opportunity with the arts as its engine. For more information about Taller, please visit www.tallerpr.org.