With support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, 360 Culture Lab partnered Fleisher Art Memorial with collaborators in the Venezuelan and Indonesian communities for a series of placekeeping and artmaking activities led by local cultural organizations. This partnership was possible thanks to the efforts of three organizations serving the needs of immigrant communities in our area: Modero & Company, Casa de Venezuela Philadelphia, and Casa de Venezuela Delaware. The project facilitated the sharing of Fleisher’s assets—including spaces, resources, and expertise—with immigrant community members as a means of honoring, preserving, and sharing Indonesian and Venezuelan cultural life and traditions. Together, we created a lab for ideas: an arts incubator for new and growing immigrant communities in South Philadelphia and beyond.
From the onset, Fleisher was committed to exploring new ways to promote the arts through a cultural lens with our partners, embracing forms of creative expression inspired by their respective cultural backgrounds – from visual arts and music to dance and culinary traditions. Above all, it was essential for Fleisher to provide a space in our neighborhood where all participants felt welcome and safe. Inclusivity was also key as we welcomed other partnerships and organizations to collaborate on 360 Culture Lab events over the course of the project, with the shared goal of contributing and sharing art with our city.
The two-year grant period for 360 Culture Lab kicked off in early 2021 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, posing significant challenges in the early planning stages. The first phase of the project subsequently shifted inward to focus on relationship-building between Fleisher and our partner organizations. Developing a strong foundation upon which to build and present a series of public events, 360 Culture Lab later featured more than 24 activities from spring 2021 through summer 2022. Some activities, such as classes or rehearsals, took place over an extended period of time. Others were one-day events, such as cultural festivals or craft fairs. Each partner organization presented a major culminating event in summer 2022: “Di Hati-Ku” musical theater production by Modero & Company and the “Diálogo 365” art exhibition by Casa de Venezuela.
In the end, the 360 Culture Lab project offered tremendous opportunities for community-led artmaking as well as community building – the project continues to live on in Fleisher’s strong ties to both the Indonesian and Venezuelan immigrant communities in Philadelphia.
To request a copy of the 360 Culture Lab: Make Yourself at Home project catalogue, please contact Erin Sweeny, Director of Communications, at email@example.com.
“Home for me, it’s not about the structure but it’s about the people and the feeling of being able to reflect, empower, and dream.” – Sinta Penyami Storms, founder of Modero & Company
“Home is where the people I love are, where I am welcomed, and if I look back, I see the reflection of what my life is today, it is where I once was, and I seem to go back.” – Luis Manuel Colmenares, founding member of Casa de Venezuela
Make Yourself At Home
The immigrant experience and Fleisher Art Memorial have a long history. Samuel Stewart Fleisher, the son of German Jewish immigrants, developed an interest in enhancing the lives of workers in his family business through the arts.
That Forgotten Home
What is home? We will surely end up with a varied selection of ideas about “home” depending on whom we ask. For example, a young person would probably link it to the idea of that first home they had with their family.
Home is More Than Just The Structure
In my native language, the word home can mean Rumah which really means house. Rumah in my Pamonian ethnic language, it’s called Banua. I’ve been living in the United States for over 20 years. Far away from my homeland.
Casa De Venezuela
Casa de Venezuela is an organization of individuals committed to the empowerment of their community. While the Venezuelan community is not necessarily gathered in one particular neighborhood in Greater Philadelphia, they make sure to stay connected by organizing events and gatherings to promote their culture and support Venezuela. Their reach goes beyond the Venezuelan community as they embrace and invite the Latinx diaspora in our region to join their efforts through music, dance, food, and the arts. The Casa de Venezuela Philadelphia organization is connected to a larger network that includes the Lehigh Valley, Delaware, and New Jersey.
Modero & Company
Modero is the cultural hub of the South Philadelphia Indonesian Community. Founded by Sinta Penyami Storms, an Indonesian traditional dance artist, this organization/group has one crucial purpose, to promote and preserve Indonesian traditions in the Philadelphia region. Whether through dance, music, crafts, food or art, this rich community lives by powerful and meaningful phrases originated in country villages: Gotong Royong (working together) and Sintuwu Maroso (living and building a strong community together).
360 Culture Lab has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge-sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center invests in ambitious, imaginative, and catalytic work that showcases the region’s cultural vitality and enhances public life, and engages in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural practitioners and leaders.