Congratulations, Michelle Angela Ortiz and Jesse Krimes, 2017 Rauschenberg Artist Activist Fellows! 2nd Saturday Street Art Walking Tours with Conrad Benner of Streets Department, 40th Anniversary of Federal CETA program, BlackStar Film Festival Aug 3-6, Plus Opportunities!

Philadelphia has two 2017 Rauschenberg Artist Activist Fellows - Michelle Angela Ortiz and Jesse Crimes! Read more and catch a couple good opportunities in today's News of our world!


Class photo of participants in Artblog workshop
Participants pose for “class picture” after Artblog Look/Draw/Write workshop at Taller Puertorriqueño. Middle, left, is artist Michelle Angela Ortiz, whose art we wrote poems about.

Congratulations to two of Artblog’s favorite artists, Michelle Ortiz and Jesse Krimes, 2017 Rauschenberg Artist Activist Fellows!

Above photo with Michelle Angela Ortiz is from a 2017 Artblog Look/Draw/Write workshop at Taller Puertorriqueño, during her recently closed solo exhibit there. Below is a podcast Jennifer Zarro did with Jesse Krimes in 2016.

The Artist as Activist Fellowship provides up to $100,000 over two years, along with access to opportunities for professional advancement, to independent artists and art collectives with a demonstrated commitment to social engagement in their creative work. Fellows are identified through a highly competitive open call for proposals…The 2016 and 2017 cohorts of Artist as Activist Fellows are addressing racial justice through the lens of mass incarceration.

Michelle Angela Ortiz will expand her Familias Separadas project to focus on the trauma caused to families by detention of undocumented mothers and children. The expanded project will seek to inspire in-depth conversations about the criminalization of Latino immigrant communities that feeds the deportation and mass incarceration system. Families (both inside and outside of detention centers) will be provided with a creative outlet to share their stories, reflect, and find ways to heal the trauma caused by detention. Through the installation of a series of temporary public artworks in various locations in Pennsylvania, Familias Separadas will create a platform to discuss the inhumane treatment of detained families and to further support the national fight to end family detention.

Jesse Krimes will organize Voices, which will include pop-up exhibitions featuring work of formerly incarcerated and incarcerated individuals. Programming will focus on public education, humanizing those most affected by incarceration, and ultimately building grassroots support in largely conservative areas. Using art as a catalyst to facilitate difficult dialogues, the project aims to surface common underlying narratives, elevate the voices of those most affected by crime and punishment, and break down the physical and psychological barriers that divide and create space to collectively envision a path forward.


Everyone’s doing Philadelphia walking tours, including Artblog and Hidden City (upcoming on Sept. 9, 2017, we’re visiting Fabric Row!), and now, Streets Department’s Conrad Benner! It’s a good thing – Philadelphia is loaded with interesting buildings, art, histories and people — all worthy of finding out more about in a small-group walking tour. Beginning in August, 2017, Conrad Benner, of Streets Department  is offering “2nd Saturday Street Art Tours” of neighborhood street art. Benner is an expert on street art and these tours should be very good.

Beginning this August, will begin offering monthly street art walking tours guided by me, Conrad Benner. I’m calling them 2nd Saturday Street Art Tours, because as the name suggests they’ll take place on the 2nd Saturday of the month. And each month I’ll explore street art, murals, graffiti, public art, and interesting architecture in a different neighborhood.

First up, the Spring Arts/Eraserhood neighborhood, where a TON of great street art and pop-up murals are happening right now!

Get your ticket(s) now HERE (tickets $15 are limited.) I am charging a small ticket price because these walks take a lot of time and effort to plan, organize, promote, and execute. If you’re a fan of this blog and the work I’ve put into this blog over the last six and a half years, I hope you’ll understand. And trust me, I always make my tours entertaining, filled with all the insights into Philly’s street art world that I can tell you. Tickets ($15) at Ticketleap. More information on the 2nd Saturday tours here.


BlackStar Film Festival opens August 3-6, 2017, with more than 60 films by black filmmakers from around the world. Screenings will be at Lightbox Film Center at International House. Resistance is this year’s theme. Among the films to be screened, this one caught our eye:

Ayiti Mon Amour,dir. Guetty Felin
A grieving young boy discovers he has a superpower. An old fisherman realizes the cure for his ailing wife can be found in the sea. A muse struggles to exit the story her author is penning. In Guetty Felin’s magical neorealist tale, these three stories combine to create a poetic portrait of the island nation Haiti.

More information and tickets at the festival’s website.


CETA’s 40th Anniversary – Did you participate in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program? Do you know others who did? Want to share your story?

Our friends, Virginia Maksymowicz and Blaise Tobia were part of the largest of the federal CETA project initiatives for artists, run by the New York Cultural Council Foundation. Here is their story about what was a life-sustaining program for many artists staring in the late 1970s.

..Nearly everyone has heard of the WPA’s Federal Art Project during the Great Depression. Ten thousand artists were employed under what was the largest of the New Deal art programs. However, most people do not remember (or are not aware of) CETA arts projects.

The first CETA arts project got underway in 1975 in San Francisco. There were also individual artists around the country who qualified for CETA funding and who early on worked in public service under something called “Title II.”

When Jimmy Carter assumed the presidency in 1977, the United States was in the midst of an economic crisis. To speed recovery, his administration expanded CETA (acronym for the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act), initially established as a job-training program as the name implies, to include those already trained in professions experiencing high rates of unemployment. This was called “Title VI.”

That same year, the newly elected mayor of New York, Edward Koch, appointed Henry Geldzahler as Commissioner of Cultural Affairs. Geldzahler was most likely aware of the San Francisco Arts Commission CETA/Neighborhood Arts Program already underway under Title II. He recognized the potential of Carter’s expansion and oversaw the establishment of an artists project using CETA funds.

Nationwide, CETA enabled 10,000 artists to work, the same number of artists covered by the WPA. In New York City, approximately 500 artists were given positions in five programs, the largest of which (employing 300) was administered by the Cultural Council Foundation (CCF).

Counted among them were many who would go on to develop significant reputations. Christy Rupp, Dawoud Bey, Ursula von Rydingsvard and Willie Birch are but a few. Many of the public artworks produced still survive; others perished, some in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Linda Frye Burnham and Steven Durland discuss a number of projects in their book, CETA and the Arts: Analyzing the Results of a Groundbreaking Federal Job Program. Steven C. Dubin looks at the Chicago project in his book, Bureaucratizing the Muse: Public Funds and the Cultural Worker.

A recent article by Burnham and Durland for the Public Art Review, “Looking for CETA Tracking the impact of the 1970s federal program that employed artists” gives an excellent analysis of why these federal artists have mostly been forgotten. They refer to the NY project as well as to the impact CETA had on the arts in Philadelphia. In particular, they describe how CETA funding helped the Painted Bride to develop into the institution that it is today. Read the article here.


Symphony for a Broken Orchestra seeks creative individuals

Calling all brave musicians! We’re looking for creative individuals to join the performance happening this December! Learn more at to learn more about how to join this groundbreaking ensemble composed by Pulitzer-prize-winning David Lang.

Abington Art Center Open Call

Abington Art Center invites artists to submit 3-D works that respond to or incorporate the theme of Reflection, inspired by our Little Abington Meeting House.
Exhibition Dates: November 17, 2017 – January 11, 2018
Submission Deadline: September 15, 2017
Learn more at the website.
Exhibition Dates: November 17, 2017 – January 11, 2017

For this exhibition, Abington Art Center is taking inspiration from our Little Abington Meeting House, located by the corner of Alverthorpe Park. Silence is a key characteristic of the Quaker religion: in that silence, to reflect. Reflection is also a physical characteristic, a surface effect – a bending back that encompasses the physical or metaphysical and may include an ethical call.

Abington Art Center invites artists to submit 3D works that respond to or incorporate this theme that apply traditional and innovative approaches to handmade, finely crafted arts engaging analog, digital and hybrid processes. Works in jewelry, ceramics, mixed media, and textiles will be considered along with wearable technologies, tactile imagery, installation, and sculpture.

Media Artist Hana Iverson, Artist Marge Horner, and Metal Artist Edie Tanis Brenna will jury this exhibition.

SUBMISSION FEE: $30 for up to 2 works (Members FREE)