Wexler Gallery opens in Fishtown, MAP Fund’s new Executive Director and Philadelphia 2022 MAP grantee highlights, plus ‘Sister of Mine’ from Strides Collective and ‘Home and Other Stations’ at Wanderlife Gallery

A gallery move to Fishtown by Wexler, and an Executive Director change at MAP Fund, the performance art funder, remind us that the art world is filled with change, some of it great, after a pandemic from which we are all still reeling. Meanwhile, a new play by Kate McGunagle from the Strides Collective deserves a shout out, as does an experimental photography exhibit at Wanderlife Gallery, with artists Ahmed Salvador and Scott McMahon. Enjoy!


A poster for a play, named "Sister of Mine," world premiere production shows the profiles of two people in beige silhouette separated by tiny words typed to fill in the space between them.

“Sister of Mine”
By Kate McGunagle
Oct 25 – 29, 2023
Community Education Center (3500 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104)
Tickets – $10-15

The Strides Collective, a Philadelphia non-profit queer theatre organization founded in 2020 with the mission of producing and developing theatrical work by emerging playwrights that embraces the queer experience through authentic, modern, and innovative storytelling announces the World Premiere of “Sister of Mine” by Kate McGunagle. Please consider coming out to support new queer work by queer artists in the city.

About the show: A and Z, former childhood friends recovering from compulsory heterosexuality, imagine a series of encounters in which they unexpectedly reunite after substantial time apart, exposing longings, secrets, and betrayals. A love letter to the intricacy of first queer friendship, Sister of Mine is a meditation on the queer experience of searching for an identity within a world that both imposes and resists categorization.



A dark colored poster with text on the right and images of a house and a person on the left announces a two-person exhibit by Ahmed Salvador and Scott McMahon at Wanderlife Gallery.

Home and Other Stations Sight (un)Seen – Ahmed Salvador and Scott McMahon
Wanderlife Gallery
2231 South 13th Street
Oct. 20 – Dec. 2, 2023
Opening, Friday, Oct. 20, 6-9 pm
Closing, Saturday, Dec. 2, 6-9 pm

The exhibit is a double solo show of photography by Ahmed Salvador and Scott McMahon. Their work is created with a variety of obscure traditional techniques, including color darkroom printing, chemigrams and pinhole photography utilizing human donor lenses taken from cadavers. Check out their work on Instagram: @ahmedasadsalvador
Or websites:



A photo shows five young Black women dancers in a row suspended in the air after having jumped in unison, their toes pointed straight down and heels in the air, their faces looking up and out and their expressions confident and determined; their orange shorts and pants and white tops complementing a solid red background of bright red. The image conveys joy, optimism and fierce determination along with beauty.
2022 MAP Fund Grantee Project, Outside Your Expectations Art Exhibition by Sophiann Mahalia. Photographed by Alexa Santy.

David Blasher Appointed New Executive Director of MAP Fund, One of the Longest-Running Funders for Performing Artists in the U.S.

The MAP Fund is pleased to appoint David Blasher, a seasoned arts and law professional, as the new Executive Director. Blasher will officially succeed Moira Brennan, following her two decades at MAP Fund, and will bring his unique experience across nonprofit and corporate organizations to bolster MAP’s commitment to investing in performing artists as the critical foundation of co-creating a more equitable and vibrant society.

“Performing arts show us that life can be a creative practice. MAP is committed to our ancient need to gather, resonate, elucidate, and experiment through artistic movement, voice, and storytelling. MAP’s team cares deeply about artists and collective leadership across the field. It’s an honor to steward this next chapter at the MAP Fund with embodied imagination.” – David Blasher, Executive Director

Blasher will succeed Moira Brennan, following her two decades at MAP Fund, and will bring his unique experience across law, art, nonprofit and corporate organizations to bolster MAP’s commitment to investing in performing artists. Blasher has been working with MAP Fund since 2021 in a consulting role and he has past experience working at NBCUniversal, the Drama Club—a nonprofit that cares for incarcerated and court-involved youth in New York City by creating space for them to thrive—, as well as legal work with the American Civil Liberties Union and Outside, a shelter for homeless LGBTQ+ youth.

This announcement comes with additional leadership and programming changes that will strengthen MAP’s impact as it enters a new chapter.

In line with Blasher’s appointment, MAP Fund is making the following exciting changes:
— Meital Waibsnaider will be the new Board Chair for MAP.
–Ron Ragin will move from his role as director of the Scaffolding for Practicing Artists (SPA) Program and will be the inaugural Director of Programs.
–MAP is hiring eight new coaches to join the SPA program, and will provide one-on-one coaching with artists for 12 months and a two-day facilitated gathering wherein SPA artists coach each other.

MAP Philadelphia Grantees from 2022
In 2022, the Grants Program provided $30,000 each to 88 live performance projects across all regions of the United States and additionally funded $88,000 in artist-directed microgrants. The Executive Director appointment precedes the upcoming Grant Cycle for MAP Fund, which will be announced this fall, 2023. [Many thanks to Liza at Olu for gathering this list.]

Project Title: Be Holding
Description: A large-scale performance that challenges the common violence involved in looking at Black people and wonders about the ways we might look tenderly and lovingly at one another.
Artists: Tyshawn Sorey, Ross Gay, Brooke O’Hara

Project Title: Outside Your Expectations Art Exhibition
Description: A healing installation and performance piece that explores social constructs put upon Black women and the ways that it can affect their mental health.
Artist: Sophiann Mahalia

Project Title: ReWombed
Description: A play that explores what happens when, in the face of medical racism, a Black woman of unwavering faith puts her trust in science for the chance of motherhood.
Artist: Nikki Brake-Sillá

Project Title: Sinawali
Description: A choreographed reclamation of Filipino and Mexican stories from colonial forces, utilizing Kali and folklorico as a modality for empowerment through storytelling and weaving.
Artists: Anito Gavino, Malaya Ulan

Description: A theatrical dance conversation exploring cultural identities and personal narratives between Filipino and Puerto-Rican+Dominican artists, exploring connections not by blood but by blood memories.
Artists: Anito Gavino, Marcel Santiago Marcelino (Recently, Marcel danced with Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers (Philadelphia) for the 2021/22 season and Carne Viva Dance Theater during the 2022 season.)

2022 Micrograntees based in Philly
These individuals were granted a $1000 microgrant from a 2022 grantee and are Philly-based to the best of our knowledge.
Mawu Ama Ma’at G. Oyesii
Nikolai McKenzie Ben Rema
Sanchel Brown
[Ed. Note – Listen to a 2021 Artblog Radio podcast with Sanchel Brown.]
Uriah Bussey
[Ed. Note – Read the 2019 interview Wit López did with Uriah Bussey.]

A high-ceilinged space with wood beams in a barn-like industrial building shows a new gallery space in Philadelphia, with a concrete floor and sculpture, craft objects, furniture and paintings placed in the showroom-like space. There is a skylight in the ceiling and the building’s front wall is glass, with an open, metal staircase opposite the entrance to access a balcony level above. It’s a beautiful, sophisticated and welcoming space.
Wexler Gallery Opens New 11,500 Square-Foot Gallery + Office in Fishtown, Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Halkin Mason Photography

Wexler Gallery Opens New Gallery and Office in Fishtown
1811 Frankford Avenue
11,500 Square-Foot Curated Gallery

Wexler Gallery, the premier destination of curated art that challenges traditional labels by exhibiting artwork that tests the boundaries of craft, design and fine art, announces the opening of a flagship showroom at 1811 Frankford Avenue in the heart of Philadelphia’s bustling Fishtown neighborhood – the city’s new vibrant art and cultural center. Opening this Fall, the new gallery space will serve as Wexler’s flagship location to showcase its outstanding roster of established and emerging artists, as well as the main offices for the Wexler staff complete with meeting space for clients and customers.

The building is a former pretzel factory transformed by the architectural firm, DIGSAU, and features a bright, open floor plan with raw industrial character of the building elements. DIGSAU juxtaposed the industrial elements with the clean, modern features that enables Wexler to showcase a curated selection of collections from its artists, including Jomo Tariku, Andreea Avram Rusu, Valerie Campos, Henry Bermudez, Trish DeMasi, Gulla Jónsdóttir, Feyza Kemahiloglu, Edward McHugh, Greg Nangle, Malcolm Mobutu Smith, Eric Slayton, Mami Kato, and Patrick Weder. Wexler Gallery will kick off the opening of its new space in October during Design Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia is a magnet for arts and culture, and we are thrilled to move into this expansive new space to give our artists’ work the perfect backdrop to showcase their talents,” says Wexler Gallery Co-Founder Sherri Apter Wexler.

“We’re looking forward to this new era for Wexler Gallery and welcome the Fishtown and greater Philadelphia community to stop by and view the dynamic and thought-provoking work of our artists and designers,” adds Wexler Co-Founder Lewis Wexler.