Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden, Sculpture House, teaching, bartering, community, Pedro Ospina makes it happen
Pedro Ospina is an artist, educator and the Founder and Director of Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden in North Philadelphia’s Norris Square section. Born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised in New York City, Ospina lives and works in Philadelphia, now, creating beauty and community through his great talent, can-do skill set, and a very big heart. He’d like nothing better than to have you visit Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden and participate in the group sharing of art and food.

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Pedro Ospina, a Colombian man with short salt and pepper hair, wearing a paint covered black hoodie, tan paints, a black shirt, and work boots, standing in front of a massive sculpture of a face, made out of tires, which is inside of his outdoor sculpture garden.
Pedro Ospina in front of his tire sculpture in the Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden. Photographed by Nancy Evans.

Pedro Ospina is a visionary and humanist, who believes in the integration of art and life. And, in the Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden, art and life come together through food and sharing. We were introduced to Pedro in July and immediately knew he was someone we wanted to share with our audience. Not only is Pedro a warm-hearted human with incredible visions and the will and skill to see them through, but he is very quotable.

“I love doing things you’ve never done before. That’s art.”

“I was raised in New York. I eat everything.”

“Open Kitchen is like Next Fab – you come, you build.”

After we wrapped up our interview with Pedro, we asked how people should get in touch with him if they want to visit Open Kitchen. Here’s what he said,” I love to meet people and have them be in the space! It’s not just a phone call. Come to our Potluck Dinner, every other Wednesday. September and October Potlucks will be pizza nights (pizza cooked in the outdoor oven at the Open Kitchen).” Email Pedro Ospina at pnospina3@gmail.com to get in touch.

You can listen to Artblog Radio on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Thank you to Kyle McKay for composing Artblog Radio’s original podcast intro and outro!


Links

For more information about Open Kitchen and Pedro Ospina:


Transcription

[00:00:12] Roberta Fallon: Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Artblog Radio. I’m Roberta, your host, and today I’m happy to be talking with Pedro Ospina. Hey Pedro, thanks for being with me today!

[00:00:26] Pedro Ospina: Hello. Thank you.

[00:00:28] Roberta Fallon: Hello! Pedro Ospina is an artist, educator, and the Founder and Director of Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden in North Philadelphia’s Norris Square section.

Pedro is a visionary and a humanist who believes in the integration of art and life. And in the Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden, art and life come together through food and sharing. And I really wanna know more. So Pedro, I’m really, really humbled that you are here to talk to us.

I wanna talk, you know, chronologically? Let’s go back to your, where you were born, you were born in Bogota, Columbia, and raised in New York City. And among other things you told me, when we spoke a month ago, you said “I was raised in New York. I eat everything!” And that just struck me as wonderful, and… But I wanna know more.

So talk about eating everything and how you got to be a, I guess you might say an “omnivore,” right? You are an omnivore.

[00:01:33] Pedro Ospina: (laughs) Well, I think food is, is so important. And I think that throughout my life I’ve been exposed to– I love to travel– so I’ve been exposed to a lot of different foods and cultures and things like that. And those experiences have always really had a deep meaning for me.
So when I say “everything,” it’s like, I love food, I think that food is sacred, I think that, you know, everything behind the preparation of food, you know, growing food- everything. And it’s actually evolved in my life in that way, and now I’m growing my own food, and doing different things like that, and really kind of exploring food in a whole different way.

We kind of grew up as, uh, just the four of us in New York; all of my family has always been in Columbia. And it was kind of like, a small group, and we never had any like, big Thanksgiving dinners or anything like that, or… You know, so I always loved eating with a lot of people because that was always something kind of new to me, and kind of like… Sharing food and doing things like that was really important, kind of made a big difference, so…
yeah.

[00:02:50] Roberta Fallon: about– you have a really great story about eating together in big groups from when you were in Bogota. And you talked about people on the weekends going outside the city and eating. So talk about that story a little bit. It’s a very wonderful story.

[00:03:08] Pedro Ospina: Well it’s, it was kind of like… Well, you know what happens when you’re away from your family a lot– since the age of four years old, I was in New York– so when you come back and visit, it’s always like a really big deal and they wanna show you everything, and when I visited my family, they always took me out to do all the typical things that they do in Columbia.

And one of the things that I loved most was really taking a ride just outside the city. And basically you would see like, all these like, little places that would sell food, and people would just bring blankets and, you know, just sit out under trees, or wherever- you know, it was just really off the road.

The other thing would be, also, that it would get all my family together, you know? And it was a, a nice way of, you know, seeing my real family that I didn’t grow up with, but, you know, had the experience of, of spending some time with them while I was there, so… And that was always a lot of fun to be outside and just like, you know, be in nature and… And there’s something, I think, really special about eating outdoors.

[00:04:26] Roberta Fallon: You’ve said that to me once before, and I’m really glad you brought that up. So expand on that.

[00:04:33] Pedro Ospina: Yeah, I think- I think just being outdoors just reminds me a little bit of camping also, and, and just being in tune with nature and, you know, I think that connection is really strong. And in a way, when you’re outdoors also, it’s more welcoming, you know, it’s kind of like, you know, it’s different than just being indoors, you know?

And I’m a person who loves to be outdoors, no matter what. (laughs) I love just, I’m very active. So I love being outdoors and doing things.

[00:05:08] Roberta Fallon: Where I live, I have a porch on my house front. And we’ve been here for almost 30 years and we’ve really never, hardly ever, used the porch- never. Until COVID. And suddenly we needed to eat outdoors, because we couldn’t live without our family– it was so hard– and friends. And so we would have people over and we would sit outside with our coats on and, and just share beverages and snacks and whatever it was, but it was outside and it was really special.

And now we just love the porch. Except for when it’s 95 degrees out, we go out there a lot.

[00:05:49] Pedro Ospina: Uh-huh.

[00:05:49] Roberta Fallon: So I agree with you. It’s really different eating outside, you know?

[00:05:56] Pedro Ospina: And that was the main idea with behind the open kitchen. The open kitchen was really– cause there’s a lot of community gardens, there’s a lot of spaces where people grow their own food, but people kind of tend to their plots and kind of like, go home, and kind of separate, or things like that.

My idea was kind of to, to make a space where people would really, the purpose of the space would be for people to share food and come together and meet other people, connect with other people, and kind of share. That’s really kind of the biggest, the biggest thing that happens in the project, is we share everything and that’s kind of the way the project has evolved, you know? With people just bringing things to the project, people volunteering, getting together, you know? Connecting, which is, I think one of the most important things. And COVID showed us that! (laughs) How important that really was, you know? it’s really important.

[00:06:57] Roberta Fallon: Yeah…

So when did the Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden start?

[00:07:02] Pedro Ospina: I started, uh, May, 2015. It’s been like seven years.

[00:07:08] Roberta Fallon: Seven years? Seven- that’s great!

[00:07:11] Pedro Ospina: And I started with seven lots that are owned by a nonprofit organization in the neighborhood. And basically just cleaned them out, took me about a year, year and a half almost, to clean it out with the amount of trash and everything that was there.

And also just the way I was doing it was basically, you know, with friends and trying to get people to come participate, and it was an amazing process, you know? It was a neighborhood that kind of really needed some attention. It’s on a very small street, so there was a lot of dumping, a lot of like, you know, things that shouldn’t be happening on the street, you know, all these like, little streets kind of like, become places where, where people, you know… kind of do whatever they want without really thinking of anybody else, so..

[00:08:07] Roberta Fallon: Because it’s sheltered from the watchful eye of the, you know, the governing, the police?

[00:08:15] Pedro Ospina: Sure. Yeah. And it’s dark, and it’s, you know, there’s nobody around and, you know, there’s all these different things, trash is always thrown… So it was a tricky area at the beginning, but now it’s really changed. And also the area has been changing a lot too because of, uh, gentrification and the neighborhood’s been changing.

So, but I think the project has been an impact just because it’s been something that’s been very alternative, very different. And also very open, which is the main thing that I like about it. It’s, it’s open. Really, to anybody who would wanna do any type of activity, or gathering, or experiment with something, or share some ideas that they have, or… You know, and that was really the main thing of creating this space.

[00:09:10] Roberta Fallon: So I’m really thrilled to hear that the neighborhood has changed– I’m not thrilled about gentrification necessarily– but I’m really happy to hear that your project is having an impact. That sounds terrifically successful. Yeah. So congratulations.

[00:09:26] Pedro Ospina: Thank you. Thank you. it’s been a lot of people and a lot of work, you know, to get it to this point. Because there hasn’t been any like direct funding or, you know, anything organizational-wise with the project. It’s been very organic. Which, in a way, it’s kind of something that I kind of wanted to do.

I’m staying away from, from turning it into a nonprofit, and I’m kind of like, making it an experimental place where people could kind of like, explore that idea of like, let’s get together, let’s do something different. Let’s, you know, create our own way of sustaining ourselves, uh, making the place better, making the community stronger, you know, things like that.

[00:10:12] Roberta Fallon: Do you have like, buddies that are your assistants? Or, you’re all together on a team and– in case something, you know, you have to go away or something like that. Who takes over for you?

[00:10:26] Pedro Ospina: Well basically, uh, it’s whoever… There’s a lot of people that sometimes pass through, you know? And they’ll stay for a while. It’s been really kind of… you know, I have my main friends, which are really core friends that have always been helping me out. And then, the rest are just people who, who pass by and are interested in the project. Uh, artists, musicians, a lot of young people are interested in it. Because I think that, I gear it towards them because I think that’s the way it should be, you know? People experimenting with different things.

We had a great art market, uh, last Saturday, and it was all these amazing people doing like beautiful work, handmade work, and things like that. And just the connection that they made amongst themselves and, you know, the food that was there, the music, there was DJs, they had a drumming circle…. The event was, it was a beautiful gathering, you know, of people and everybody who was there kind of, walked away with a very good sense of community, of like, you know, reinforcement of like, you know, what they’re doing and…

I had a great time. I always have a great time. (laughs) Just seeing this space being used, for me, is a really, important part of it, you know? Because then I develop it more, because I see it, and then, you know, it kind of just makes me create more things to make it bigger, or better, or, you know, to accommodate people, to, you know, make it more interesting.

[00:12:06] Roberta Fallon: If we were in the 1960s, I would say this sounds very much like you are the organizer of Woodstock. You know what I mean? (laughs) Art and music festival with people and, you know… Making the world a better place, which is what you’re all about, basically, at its roots, you know, for each other.

[00:12:29] Pedro Ospina: In a simple way- it’s very simple, you know? That’s the key I think, is like the space is, it’s a very simple space and what we do really doesn’t take that much money. You know what I mean? To make an event, it doesn’t take that much. It’s just, it’s a matter of like, the energy of the people that come together to do it, you know? And it affects everybody who comes into the space, you know? Because everybody leaves with that good energy, that good vibe of like, being in a space, and seeing all this creativity, and all this talent. So it’s simple in a way, if you really think about it (laughs) It’s not that complicated.

What’s complicated is that there’s too many things happening in this city, so it’s hard to get people to come all the time. That is another layer of the event.

[00:13:21] Roberta Fallon: Yeah. Cause you would like to have people in there 365 days a year, right?

[00:13:27] Pedro Ospina: (laughs) Yeah, I think the more, the space is used, the more the space can grow, you know? Basically that’s the idea of it. Every time that something comes into this space, it makes the space better, you know, in many ways.

[00:13:45] Roberta Fallon: Give people who haven’t seen Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden, give ’em a visual image of what it looks like. You walk to the space and there’s, what? Two giant sculpted heads on either side?

[00:13:59] Pedro Ospina: Well, it’s actually, I started the space from the street. Like I said before, it’s a street that’s very small, so there was a lot of dumping. There was a lot of, you know, things like that. So what I did was I created the whole sidewalk, both sides of the street of the sidewalk, with plants- raised beds; I made sculptures… And that was, basically, to deter people from dumping. But it was also a way of giving the community a chance to see plants, and vegetables, and how we grow things, and things like that.
And then the entrance, then you would walk through the entrance– the entrance was made with a friend of mine who’s a welder– it’s a beautiful, old, wooden indoors, and looks like a castle type thing. And then we have a shipping container, which I did get a grant from, uh, Penn Treaty S.S.D., and we turned that into an off-grid solar-powered wood shop.

And that’s–

[00:15:02] Roberta Fallon: Whoa.

[00:15:02] Pedro Ospina: –like really one of the biggest assets that we’ve gotten in the project, because that gives us all our energy and, you know, to run the machines, to lights and things like that.

And then inside the garden, I created spaces for every type of people. You know, I created a little treehouse for the kids, I created an earth oven , there’s a little greenhouse where we start our seeds and it’s also like, part of the wood shop… There’s plenty of places to have fires, cuz I really love fires. I have an herb spiral inside. We have two stages inside for different, types of events.
[00:15:46] Roberta Fallon: Wow.

[00:15:46] Pedro Ospina: We have a kitchen area, where now we could cook. We have two ovens, a stainless steel tap, and all of it was created out of an oil tank from a house.

[00:16:00] Roberta Fallon: Amazing. You cut through the oil tank and turned it into ovens?

[00:16:06] Pedro Ospina: Yeah. We turned it into a cooking structure. So we did this with a friend of mine, who’s a welder, he’s from Uruguay and he’s absolutely amazing. So he developed this, kind of like, system inside, so two people could cook on either side of it. The top is stainless steel, so you could cook on top of it, but it all runs with wood, and the wood circulates around two ovens that are in the center of the oil tank, you know?
So, yeah. It’s, it was custom made (laughs)

[00:16:40] Roberta Fallon: Well, you must have engineered it. I mean…

[00:16:42] Pedro Ospina: Oh, he engineered it. (laughs) He did all the work.

[00:16:45] Roberta Fallon: He engineered it too, because it’s one thing to be a welder, but it’s something else to actually be able to envision something as complicated as that.

[00:16:54] Pedro Ospina: Uhhuh. Yeah, no, no. That’s what I mean about friends. It’s like, You know, that’s… They’re invaluable. They’re really… The biggest asset of the whole project is really people, you know?

[00:17:08] Roberta Fallon: Yeah. Let’s, um, ask the future question– what is your vision of the future for Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden? Let’s say 5 years out or 10 years out.

[00:17:23] Pedro Ospina: Yeah, um… Exactly that- for it to be sustainable, for it to be a model to do in other communities, I think it would, it’d be great. I would, I would also enjoy that because I love to start from scratch. I love to initiate projects, so… And that usually happens to me- once I start something, I like to see it take off, and then I also like to start another one, or something different. I always..

I have already some ideas of other places, and different things that I would love to do, you know? Like, one of my future projects, later, would be really working with elderly people, you know? And, uh, kind of using that whole idea of teaching youth carpentry skills, and helping youth create a trade, and then in turn, connecting that with like helping, uh, senior citizens, who basically would need, you know, small house repairs, and things like that.

You know, make intergenerational programs, which I think are super valuable to keep people, you know, involved, and motivated, and have them tell their stories, and…

You know, I think that’s another thing that I really wanna go into, you know? And explore with that.

[00:18:50] Roberta Fallon: All right, well, you heard it first- he’s looking for more land to create another one! (laughs)

[00:18:57] Pedro Ospina: (laughs) Yeah, I think there’s so many neighborhoods that could benefit from, from the same, same idea in different levels, different ways, and… But it’s just, to have a space that, you know, the neighbors could get together, and create a space, and preserve green spaces also, which is very important.

[00:19:19] Roberta Fallon: Well, and create new green spaces, a lot of neighborhoods in Philly, like the one around Norris Square, with all the gentrification and everything, there’s not a lot of green up there. Trees, and grass, and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. So it’s needed. It’s really needed.
I think the city should help you out! You know, you don’t wanna be a nonprofit, but I wonder if there’s someone, you know, in… The city has got this big project, it’s called “Rebuild”- I’m sure you’ve heard of it- and they’re gonna try to rebuild the neighborhood recreation centers and libraries. But boy, they’re missing the boat if they’re not gonna do something with green spaces outside.

[00:20:04] Pedro Ospina: Sure sure. Right.

[00:20:08] Roberta Fallon: You should do- it’s a city thing, it should be a city thing.

[00:20:11] Pedro Ospina: It should be!

[00:20:12] Roberta Fallon: Not that you wanna lose control of the idea-

[00:20:15] Pedro Ospina: Yeah (laughs)

[00:20:15] Roberta Fallon: -you know, it shouldn’t become bureaucratic. That would kill it.

[00:20:20] Pedro Ospina: Yeah, I’m staying away from it. Keeping it as fresh as possible. And as, you know, as diverse as possible too, you know what I mean? With just helping out, young people, young artists who are coming out and doing things and, you know, finding their way of like, you know, making a living.

[00:20:40] Roberta Fallon: So let’s, um, pause for a moment, and turn our attention to the “Sculpture House.” Is that right?

[00:20:49] Pedro Ospina: Sure! Of course (laughs)

[00:20:51] Roberta Fallon: You live in a place called- that you’ve called, the “Sculpture House.” And you are rebuilding it. Is it still a work in progress or is it pretty much done?

[00:21:02] Pedro Ospina: It’s pretty much done. I bought it in 2010, I started it in 2010. And the idea of the project was really kind of like, I like to think of art in a different type of way. I like to make art fit into my life, and make it accessible to me, and make it so that it’s really part of it. And my background in actually being an artist comes from my father, who was a construction worker. And so my skills, and everything like that, come from him teaching me, and working with me– since I was very little– building. So I always wanted to make that happen and use that.

And what happened was in 2009, my dad had a… he had a stroke, and he basically, you know, lost all his- he lost his speech and he actually lost a lot of… he didn’t know really what a hammer was… you know, so it was, it was a very… a really big impact on me. And my idea was like, to kind of bring him up here, and I would like– I bought this house that was basically a shell– and my idea was to like, have him live with me and, and we would rebuild this house together. And, and actually at the same time, hopefully rebuild some of what was lost of him, and, you know, and try to get him back somehow.

And that was the main idea of the whole project, you know? And um, that was the intention, and um… Unfortunately my father was living in North Carolina, in this really small town, and he didn’t like the big city Philadelphia, and it was hard on him, so he didn’t stay too long. But I stayed with the idea of what I wanted to do with the house, and how I wanted to build the house out of recycled material.

And instead of doing art, I stopped doing art. And I said that I needed to invest my energy into making my house- but I would do my house like an art piece, like a sculpture. And in that way it would be my own creation and I would live in it, and I would kind of like… And since I do like working with people, I started working with, young people, I started even working with youth offenders. And they became part of the project, which goes along with what my idea of what I wanted to do with my dad, which was to help him, you know, in the process of like rebuilding something, and also kind of, you know…

So it turned into like this mentoring and it turned into– and none of this was really planned, it was just, (laughing) just kept happening, and I just went with it– it was just a beautiful idea. Because I really saw what a change it did in the youth that did participate. And I also had to like, barter with friends who were, you know, electricians and plumbers, you know? And I developed this whole idea of trading and bartering, that wasn’t based on money, it was based on our relationships with them. And that made everything more interesting and more meaningful.

And so the house is very- everything in the house has a story, comes from somewhere. Everything is like, you know, reminds me of this, somebody helped me with this, and this turned out this way. And you know, so it’s got tons of stories, you know? (laughs)

[00:24:52] Roberta Fallon: I love that you, there should be someone- you should collaborate with someone to write the the house’s story! You know, wouldn’t that be fun?

[00:25:03] Pedro Ospina: Sure sure.

[00:25:05] Roberta Fallon: Someone could illustrate it with, you know, drawings, you could have photographs, whatever.
You have some pictures on your website of the interior. And I wanna know about the floating staircase. You have this beautiful open stairway, gorgeous wood stairways. So how- who made that? Was that you? And…

[00:25:28] Pedro Ospina: No, actually-

[00:25:30] Roberta Fallon: No?

[00:25:30] Pedro Ospina: -what I was doing is at the time, it was like, um, everything I was trying to get for free, basically, you know, dumpster diving, doing everything like that. And, I always went on Craigslist for the free things. And I love hardwood floors. So there was a person who had, uh, an ad that said, “hardwood floors, come get them” and you know, “you take ’em” and whatever.

So I drove all the way, I don’t remember where it was, but I drove somewhere to get the hardwood floors, and when I got there, I realized it was hardwood floors, but I wouldn’t be able to use them because they’re very thin slats. And, you know, it was just like this old, old wood floor that I wouldn’t be able to kind of reuse it. But since I was there, I was like, no problem, I’ll help the guy, you know, take it out, and I’ll take some of the wood, and things like that.
And we started talking and we started, we, you know, talking about different things and I was talking about my project. And then he just turned around. He goes, “You see those stairs? They’re Oak. You want them?” And I said, “okay!” (laughing)

So it was a great, it was a great lesson because sometimes what happens with us– you know, definitely for me, it was a big lesson– sometimes we’re like, so focused on what we want. And then when we don’t get it, we kind of like close off that part, but I didn’t close off. I just, you know, went with it, I said, I’m here already, I’m gonna help him, you know, get what he needs done and I’ll take some wood. But I just did it that way, and out of that came out this thing that I’d never even imagined, and it was this beautiful oak stairs, and, he just like… It was a great experience, you know?

Everything– like I said about the house– everything has a story, everything, you know?

[00:27:32] Roberta Fallon: Well I’m thank you for sharing that story. That is a really great one! I can’t imagine you moving a whole staircase!

[00:27:39] Pedro Ospina: Oh yeah…

[00:27:41] Roberta Fallon: It a must have had a big truck, right?

[00:27:44] Pedro Ospina: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I had to, I had to, uh, get a friend who had a big truck and, and we took it, you know… (laughs)

[00:27:53] Roberta Fallon: Wow. I had no idea. That’s really great. That’s beautiful. And it’s a beautiful way you got it, too. I love that you went, you were open, you helped the guy and then the guy became generous again and offered you his stairs (laughs)

[00:28:07] Pedro Ospina: Without even… I didn’t even imagine it (laughs)

[00:28:11] Roberta Fallon: No, but it’s great.

[00:28:13] Pedro Ospina: Yeah.

[00:28:14] Roberta Fallon: Is there any other story you wanna tell us about the sculpture house? I’m into stories, so if you got one…

[00:28:21] Pedro Ospina: Oh, yeah. (laughs) well, basically what I did with the house was, I kind of shrank the house, and I even I even dug out– because the basement was kind of like, you could go into the basement, but you really couldn’t stand up that much– so I kind of dug out the basement, and that was like heavy duty work, you know, to dig out the basement

[00:28:44] Roberta Fallon: Was it a, a dirt floor? Or…

[00:28:46] Pedro Ospina: Dirt floor, yeah. was a dirt floor.
So we dug it out. And actually, because my idea in making the house smaller was to have a yard so I could, you know, plant and do things like that, so… just the, the amount of, of work it was to get the soil out and things like that… and luckily at the time I was working with the youth that I was working with, and we were able to do it, you know?

[00:29:13] Roberta Fallon: Did you have buckets and pulleys on ropes?

[00:29:17] Pedro Ospina: No, no pulleys, just buckets. Just constantly, five gallon buckets, you know, handing ’em out and handing ’em out and like, you know… (laughs)

[00:29:25] Roberta Fallon: Wow.

[00:29:26] Pedro Ospina: But, uh, yeah, that was, a big part of the house too, because I kind of, for me, it’s, this is like a, uh, a house that was made in a certain way that, uh, the idea was not to spend, you know, so I don’t have walls, you know, I made everything open, so that light could go through from one side to the other side… So it’s easy to heat, it’s easy to cool, you know, try to think really practical, you know, plumbing was very practical, all lined up, you know, very, very simple. It was simple.

[00:30:07] Roberta Fallon: So, what did you trade back to people when you were bartering? I’m interested in this. Did you give them art or, like objects or skills?

[00:30:18] Pedro Ospina: Uh, a little bit of both! I did trade some artwork to a friend of mine who had a lot of building materials. He collects building materials and he likes my artwork, and we traded that way.
With people who, uh, like friends who were electrician or plumbers, what I would do is I would trade my time. Because basically whenever they needed help, uh, doing another project, doing another house, I would work for them. Which at the same time for me was learning, you know? I was learning from them how to do it, so that I could do it. You know? So all these experiences were really kind of ways that.. And were very enriching and beneficial to both of us.

You know what I mean? So that really kind of got me hooked on this whole idea of bartering and trading and you know, which I’ve continued to do.

[00:31:17] Roberta Fallon: And also teaching yourself! Or being taught. I mean, you’ve got, you are an educator. You have taught at Moore College and many other places, I believe, and, you know, in public schools. And you’ve got an educational thread that runs through all your projects, I think. Teaching and learning, and back and forth sharing, sharing can be learning. And I’ll find that really inspiring.

So I hope that young people that are in your aura, in your orbit, get inspired by the ideas of learning and teaching and all that kind of stuff.

[00:31:58] Pedro Ospina: Well that was mainly I took the route of- that route, instead of the route of like, going into the galleries and trying to sell my work that way. So I’ve basically have supported myself as an artist, like 33 years now? By teaching, you know, and workshops and, you know, after school programs and anything that you could imagine, I’ve done. So…

But I love that because when you’re teaching, you’re also learning about how to make art and you’re also learning from your students, how they make art. And it’s like the same idea. It’s just like, you’re always kind of absorbing new things and, and using that, you know, so

[00:32:45] Roberta Fallon: It’s totally great.

[00:32:45] Pedro Ospina: It’s a better way of, of kind of following– that’s what I decided in my case– it was a better way of following my passion of art. Was to follow it without getting into the business of art and into the whole thing, you know, that I kind of didn’t agree with, really. I didn’t wanna be part of, you know, so…

[00:33:10] Roberta Fallon: That’s a whole ‘nother conversation I hope to have with you one day.

But right now we’re kind of at the end of our podcast time. And I wanna ask, is there anything else you wanna say to people? And also the question, how do people get in touch with you to have an event- say they wanna come and do something at the sculpture garden?

[00:33:33] Pedro Ospina: Well, one of, one of the main things is, I always tell people I love to meet people. You know, I don’t like to like, just like, talk over the phone and I like to meet people and really have them see the space and be in the space, and us talk about different ideas and different things like that.

Because I like to have a feeling about the person too, with what we’re doing and how, what it’s gonna be. I’m really kind of like, the space has been really special for me and I’ve maintained it very special because of the things that have happened in It, the way it was built, and all the people. So I always maintain that with having people come out.

We have potluck dinners every other Wednesday. Um, if Roberta, if you could please, uh, put my email or something, I would, people could email me and I always love meeting more people and I definitely want more people to be part of the project.

So I’m very open with that and, uh, yeah! It’s very simple. It’s not, not complicated at all. Just like we’ll talk and we’ll figure it out and yeah, we’ll try it.

[00:34:48] Roberta Fallon: That’s great. That’s so great. Thank you, Pedro. It’s been just a humbling and wonderful experience talking to you. I’ve been speaking with Pedro Ospina, who is an artist, educator, and the Founder of Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden. Thank you, Pedro.

[00:35:06] Pedro Ospina: Thank you. Thank you so much.

[00:35:08] Roberta Fallon: You’re welcome. Byebye.

[00:35:10] Pedro Ospina: Bye bye.

Tags

arts educator, moore college of art & design, Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden, pedro ospina, the clay studio

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