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10/02/2009

Introducing the Welcome House!

If you stroll through Love Park this Sunday and find yourself stumbling upon
a giant glass box with an artist inside, don’t be alarmed. (The artists are
not trapped, and they can breathe.) This is actually an
extraordinary art exhibition, presented by First Person Arts in
collaboration with InLiquid and conceived and curated with Marianne
Bernstein.

The concept goes beyond the idea of a simple exhibition.  It is a residence
for artists by day and an installation by night.. The Welcome House is also
a truly interactive project, allowing artists and the public to connect
through art. To get a better sense of the concept behind the project I
interviewed Vicki Solot, founder and executive director of First Person
Arts.

To understand the exhibit you must first know a little bit about First
Person Arts. “Part of our mission statement is to transform the drama of
life into art.  That ranges from peoples’ every day experiences to life’s
historic events,” says Vicki. “So here [at the Welcome House] artists are
going to be transforming the interactions of life in a public park into
artwork. I see the Welcome House as a public engagement project that is
designed to give artists and the public a way to engage directly in a making
art.”

Every day for ten days a different artist will be living and working in the
Welcome House, engaging the public in their artwork. The public’s
interactions with the artist will define the work they create. There is
something for everyone here: a private DJ, a woman who is knitting herself
into a cocoon, and silkscreen silhouettes of the crowd.  Folks can bring their
favorite objects to the cube to be drawn, (and get to keep a copy of the
drawing!) To top it off, during the whole process, a group of filmmakers
will be creating videos of the art and interactions, which will be projected
onto the Welcome House at night.

For more details, make sure to take a look at the list of artists on the
First Person Arts webpage.

Although the Welcome House itself is new, for the past three years First
Person Arts has been creating public engagement projects to kick off the
annual First Person Festival. Two years ago they created a “story tour,”
using a van to travel throughout the city collecting people’s stories. Last

year they created a complaint choir of seventy community members, who sang
Philadelphians’ complaints throughout the city. These projects have been tremendously
successful in engaging everyday people in making first person art.

The concept of a house was particularly relevant this year. “In light of the
housing crisis we were especially interested in something that would tie
into the idea of shelter and home and homelessness. We wanted something that
would resonate with the times,” said Vicki Solot. In many ways the Welcome
House turned out to be a much more joyous celebration of the idea of ‘home.’
“It says something about how we create a sense of home wherever we are.”
It really opens up a space for individuals to become a part of the art, and to
analyze how we interact with each other to create a sense of home.

Details:
The exhibit runs for ten days (October 4th ­ 13th) in Love Park. After that, the art
that is created there will be exhibited in the Painted Bride Gallery, 230 Vine Street,
starting on the first day of the First Person Festival (which is November 3rd in case
you forgot.)

In a nutshell:
This is something you won’t want to miss. It’s a chance to be a part of the life of the city,
its art and its people. See you there!

Upcoming Events
  • BEyond Expectations: Opioid Crisis
  • Date: June 21, 2018
  • Time: 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Congresso de Latinos Unido
  • Location: 216 W Somerset St, Philadelphia, PA 19133
  • Commonspace Broadcast: Social Norms
  • Date: June 24, 2018
  • Time: 8 PM
  • Venue: WHYY 90.9
  • Location: