Karina Puente believes in mission and works with other mission-driven women
In this sponsored post, Roberta interviews Velocity Fund grantee Karina Puente about her collaborative project #sisterlyhistory, with Yolanda Wisher and Women of Color (WoC) entrepreneurs of Germantown. Karina is all about mission, and about spreading the message of other mission-driven women and their projects. The phone interview took place May 22, 2019. Velocity Fund is in its second year of funding unique projects by Philadelphia artists. Apply today for a chance to get your unique project funded. The deadline to apply is June 7, 2019. Details and links in the post.

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Karina Puente with #SisteryHistory banner at @common_field group at @thecoloredgirlsmuseum

Karina Puente and Yolanda Wisher received a $5,000 award from The Velocity Fund in 2018 for their project, #SisterlyHistory. I spoke with Karina to ask her more about the project about how her experience of the new funding program, (Velocity), was for her.

The project’s description is:

“#SisterlyHistory makes visible the often hidden work of Women of Color (WoC) by marking sites we live and write in Germantown. Ten outdoor banners will be made. Five banners will feature carved mission statements by WoC business owners. Five banners will feature poetry by WoC poets who lived in Germantown’s past and present; whose homes have been the site of community dialogue, alternative gathering, and creative productivity. Although site-specific, banners can tour as a future exhibition.”

Roberta: Why did you apply to the Velocity Fund?

I applied for Velocity Fund to work with Yolanda Wisher and to learn how she effectively works with others. She’s a community mobilizer. I wanted to work outside institutions. Velocity Fund helped me work outside institutions…to investigate how we fall in love with our missions. I’m a business person. I work at the intersection of process and product, and the WoC business owners piece is very important. I’m interested in creative partnerships and building access.

Karina Puente hand-carving text in her studio. Photo by @thewheelvintage
Karina Puente hand-carving text in her studio. Photo by @thewheelvintage

Mission is important. I begin with the (WoC business) missions because the mission comes from the heart. And in this project I can mirror it back to them (putting their mission statement in the banners)

You work in ”papel picado” (cut paper), a traditional folk art form. For this project you are cutting cloth for outdoor banners. But you always work from your home. What’s the importance of a home studio?

I work from my home studio. I wanted to work with other women who do likewise…we’re reclaiming the value of working from home. It’s holistic and sustainable. A sustainable home is a foundation and solid footing, and it can ground and sustain a mission.

Did you have strong role models growing up? Are you from Philadelphia?

I grew up with a single mom with four kids. I was a shining star in the community; a rising artist. I had a lot of freedom and independence and encouragement. I put myself through college selling my art. I grew up in California and found Philadelphia when I went to college. Because of Philadelphia I am doing cut paper and working big.

Karina Puente with Yolanda Wisher. Photo by @markanthonypalacio
Karina Puente with Yolanda Wisher. Photo by @markanthonypalacio

Talk about your collaboration with Yolanda Wisher.

I met Yolanda at Mural Arts Program. She was at Mural Arts and I was a teaching artist (there). We had similar missions. She left Mural Arts to pursue poetry full time. Once she did that…I started too, and I found ways to support and hire her. She taught me how to do that (support and hire other artists).

How do you like Philadelphia?

The city is helpful to entrepreneurial artists…The Velocity Fund; The Corzo Center, The Leeway Foundation, Vision Driven Artists, Christianne Kapps’s Creative Blocks financial advice and tax preparation. The city as an entity holds a lot of resources for artists to work.

How is your Velocity Fund project coming along?

We are making street banners for Germantown WoC businesses including The Colored Girls Museum, Trapeda Mason, Yolanda Wisher, and myself. Yolanda will hold a gathering for the #SisterlyHistory participants at her studio at Cherry Street Pier. It’s for the participants to share, network and learn about each other. September, 2019, is the culmination of the project.

You seem like an optimistic person

I am an optimistic person. I surround myself with energetic people. It’s intentional, to help me stay productive. Otherwise it’s burn out. It’s important to focus on the mission statement.

Anything else you want to say about the Velocity Fund project?
The people of the Velocity Fund have been encouraging.

[ Ed. Note: Deadline to submit applications to Velocity Fund’s 2019 open call is June 7, 2019.]
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More Photos

Michael Clemmons Curator of @thecoloredgirlsmuseum. Photo by @karinapuentearts
Michael Clemmons Curator of @thecoloredgirlsmuseum. Photo by @karinapuentearts
Vashti DuBois Founder of @thecoloredgirlsmuseum. Photo by @karinapuentearts
Vashti DuBois Founder of @thecoloredgirlsmuseum. Photo by @karinapuentearts
Tags

Karina Puente, sisterlyhistory, Velocity Fund, yolanda wisher

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