A new series of art history and critical theory workshops funded by PA Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities

This year, Fleisher Art Memorial is proud to present Found in Translation, a free series of art history and critical theory workshops funded by PA Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The series specifically focuses on centering BIPOC and Queer voices, reflecting a more inclusive view of the communities we work with in South Philadelphia as well as the interests of our students. Beginning in February 2022 and spanning the rest of the year, Found in Translation will feature six humanities seminars—each running for a number of weeks—spanning a wide array of topics related to historical and contemporary perspectives in art, film, and literature.


Seminar 6: Reading Close: Sonia Sanchez
with Yolanda Wisher
November 17, December 1, 7*, 15, 6:30–8pm

*Please note that the session originally scheduled for December 8 will now be held on December 7.

Each session of Reading Close will do a deep-dive into one of Sanchez’ monumental poems, exploring its making, context, themes, symbolism, music, and impact. Through guest lectures, four local writers will offer their own close readings of the selected poems as well as personal connections to Sanchez’ life and work.

Sonia Sanchez is a local and national treasure. Her teaching, mentorship, lifestyle, activism, and devotion to her craft as a writer has impacted the lives of many people in Philadelphia, where she has lived for over forty years. But her influence is felt far beyond the city. Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1932, Sonia Sanchez became an architect of the Black Arts Movement and groundbreaking professor of Black and women’s studies. She is recognized internationally as a haiku poet and maintains a daily practice of writing haiku as a form of meditation. She is the author of over sixteen books.

Poet, singer, educator, and curator Yolanda Wisher is author of Monk Eats an Afro. Wisher was named inaugural poet laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 1999 and third poet laureate of Philadelphia for 2016 and 2017. A Pew and Cave Canem Fellow, Wisher received the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award in 2019 for her commitment to art for social change. Wisher is Curator of Spoken Word and Co-Director of Curatorial Programs at Philadelphia Contemporary and performs poetry and song with her band Yolanda Wisher & The Afroeaters.

Register via Eventbrite.

Seminar 5: Community Practices within Latinx America
Prácticas Comunitarias dentro de America Latine
with José Ortiz-Pagán
October 6, 13, 20 and 27

Seminars will take place in Spanish with live English translation.

Through this seminar the visual artist, curator and community artist José Ortiz-Pagán, will guide the audience through a contemporary survey of artists that are developing their practice within communal settings. This course will focus in Latinx artists across the entire American continent and how each one of their practices develops different forms of engaging community, while lifting their stories within a broader platform.

A través de este seminario el artista, curador y organizador José Ortiz-Pagán, introducirá a la audiencia una variedad de artistas enfocados en Arte Comunitario. Este curso se enfocará en la forma que varios artistas han desarrollado estrategias para envolver varias comunidades en sus proyectos con enfoques que resaltan los retos que afectan dichas comunidades. El curso considerara artistes Latiné de todo el continente Americano.

Register via Eventbrite.

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Seminar 4: Native Contemporary Art & Potawatomi Identity
with Jason Wesaw
September 7, 14, 21, 2022

Jason Wesaw (Potawatomi) is a visual artist from southern Michigan whose minimalist works feature pattern-making, bold colors, and appliqued ornamentation. His themes include the cyclical movements of Mother Earth. Wesaw also works as a peacemaker in his tribal community. In three Zoom presentations, Wesaw will offer an artist talk and slide show about his fine-art work as well as his peacemaking work, an oil-pastel drawing workshop, and a discussion about the importance of cultural teachings and Native identity.

Native Contemporary Art & Potawatomi Identity with Jason Wesaw is presented in partnership with We Are The Seeds

Session 1
Artist Talk & Slide Show
Wednesday, September 7, 6:30 - 8:00 pm  

This session focuses on Jason Wesaw’s work in the fine arts, as well as his work with his tribal nation to revitalize cultural traditions. He will discuss the increasing importance of developing lasting partnerships with cultural institutions and organizations.

Register via Eventbrite.

Session 2
Oil Pastel Workshop
Wednesday, September 14, 6:30 - 8:00 pm  

Wesaw will guide participants through the creation of an original oil pastel drawing utilizing simple techniques and affordable art supplies. He will begin by showing examples of his drawing style, which participants can use for inspiration.

Suggested materials, which can be purchased for about $20:

• Oil pastels (12-36 color pack)

• Mixed-media paper (11×17 inches or 17×24 inches)

• Masking tape (blue low-adhesion tape, for masking-off areas of the paper)

• Paper towels, makeup remover pads, or Q-tips ( for blending pastels)

Register via Eventbrite.

Session 3
Cultural Teachings
Wednesday, September 21, 6:30 - 8:00 pm  

Wesaw will be joined by an elder from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi to discuss a range of topics, including Native identity; importance of relationships and intergenerational learning; how culture is intertwined with land and place; histories and futures; and the increasing importance of language, the arts, and culturally-specific forms of expression.

Register via Eventbrite.

Seminar 3: Queer Art: Past and Present
with Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Chris E. Vargas, Alpesh Kantilal Patel, Natasha Bissonauth, and Jonathan Katz
June 22, 29, July 13, 20, 27, 2022

As part of the Found in Translation series funded by the PA Humanities and National Endowment for the Humanities, Fleisher Art Memorial and William Way are proud to present Queer Art: Past and Present, a series of lectures exploring Queer art histories and contemporary practices and aesthetics through the voices of five renowned art historians and artists. The lecture series will take place on Zoom and live Spanish interpretation will be provided.  

Session 1
Queer Body and Space, A Rose has Thorns:
A Conversation with Jonathan Lyndon Chase 
Wednesday, June 22, 6:30 - 8:00 pm  

We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it”. This slogan is still as relevant as it was in the past but times have changed and we demand more. In this conversation with artist Jonathan Lyndon Chase, we will explore questions that were once reserved for the cisgender population but are now necessary as we evolve into a more inclusive and fluid world: Can queerness and art coexist? Is the representation of our experiences, of our bodies, of our diversity, being addressed in the arts? What stereotypes are still present in our culture? Is the queer box a reality? Jonathan will also be sharing some of their current body of work.

Jonathan Lyndon Chase is an interdisciplinary artist who works in painting, video, sound and sculpture to depict queer black love and community amidst the backdrop of urban and domestic spaces. Chase’s figures hang in various forms of articulation – intertwined with domestic markers of a kitchen or a bedroom, they are then tethered by pop and street signage to blend emotional and physical, internal and external states of being. Rendered through layers of bright, visceral paint, make-up, foam and glitter these compositions challenge and subvert canonical misrepresentation and exclusion of the black body.

Recent exhibitions include Fire Figure Fantasy at Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami and Repeater at Sadie Coles HQ in London. Chase’s work has been previously featured in Art Basel, Switzerland; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Pond Society (solo), Shanghai; Company Gallery, New York; LSU Museum of Art (solo), Baton Rouge; the Rubell Foundation, Miami; Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke; California African American Museum, Los Angeles; Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia; The Bunker, Collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody, Palm Beach and The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Their work is included in numerous private and public collections such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, ICA Miami, High Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Bronx Museum, Rubell Family Collection, Buxton Contemporary Art Museum, The Wedge Collection, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Woodmere Museum of Art.

Register via Eventbrite.

Session 2
Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects with Chris E. Vargas  
Wednesday, June 29, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Chris E. Vargas, Executive Director and Founder of the Museum of Transgender Hirstory, will present on the conceptual museum which asks audiences to think critically about what a visual history of transgender life could and should look like. In this talk, Chris will focus on the exhibition series and forthcoming book, Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects, a material exploration of objects that hold significance in narrating the history of transgender communities.  

A video maker and interdisciplinary artist based in Bellingham, WA and Los Angeles, CA, Chris E. Vargas earned his MFA from the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley in 2011. His work deploys humor and performance to explore the complex ways that queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical and institutional memory and popular culture. He is the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, a critical and conceptual arts & hirstory institution highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape. In 2016, he received a Creative Capital award in the Emerging Field category and in 2020, he was named a Guggenheim Fellow.  

Register via Eventbrite.

Session 3:
Queer Feminist Transnational Artistic/Curatorial Practices 
with Alpesh Kantilal Patel
Wednesday, July 13, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Alpesh Kantilal Patel will explore the traveling exhibition WOMEN 我們,, featured in Shanghai (2011), San Francisco (2012), and Miami Beach (2013). In addition, Alpesh will discuss connections between artworks exploring queer absences in archives by US-based lesbian-identified artist Tina Takemoto and Estonia-based Jannus Samma.  

Alpesh Kantilal Patel is an associate professor of contemporary art and visual culture at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University. His art historical scholarship, curating, and criticism reflect his queer, anti-racist, and transnational approach to contemporary art. He is the author of Productive failure: Writing queer transnational South Asian art histories (2017) and co-editor of both Storytellers of Art Histories (2022) and Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art’s special issue commemorating Okwui Enwezor (2021). His research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, Arts Council England, National Endowment of Humanities, Cranbrook Academy of Art, New York University, and the Institute of Advanced Studies at Loughborough University, England.  

A frequent contributor of exhibition reviews to artforum.com, he also writes for frieze, Artforum, Art in America, and Hyperallergic. He is currently working on his next monograph, Multiple and One: Global Queer Art Histories (under contract with the University of Manchester Press).  

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Session 4:
Contemporary Queer Artists of Color
with Natasha Bissonauth
Wednesday, July 20, 6:30 – 8:00 pm  

Contemporary artists of color contest the whiteness and colonial legacies of ‘queerness’ and do so on a global stage. In addition to such contestations, queer of color art and visual culture render queer more capacious with the capacity to imagine otherwise. From the importance of genre such as portraiture to the critical valence of certain materialities, Bissonauth asks: how might a queer of color gaze incite another way of seeing; how do such works of art help us see differently?  

This presentation does not adhere to a particular chronology; rather, I approach the material thematically. Furthermore, this presentation mostly draws on contemporary examples (1980s onwards) alongside some historical sources that aim to shed light on transnational perspectives on queer, feminist, and transgender artmaking and aesthetic theory. 

Dr. Natasha Bissonauth teaches Art History at York University in Toronto. Her research centers queer, trans, and feminist artists of color with expertise in South Asia and its diasporas. Publications include Sunil Gupta’s Sun City: An Exercise in Camping Orientalism (Art Journal, 2019), The Future of Museological Display: Chitra Ganesh’s Speculative Encounters (book chapter in Museums, Sexuality, and Gender Activism, 2020), and The Dissent of Play: Lotahs in the Museum (South Asia Journal, 2020). Recent research interests expand upon indenture studies, archival work, and material culture. She is currently working on a book project that looks at how contemporary artists remake aesthetic categories through archival returns. In doing so with a transnational scope of what ‘South Asia’ as a category could be, she ultimately pursues kinship across Black and Brown art histories.     

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Session 5:
Representing the Nation to Itself:
Queer American Art from late 19th century to Stonewall 
with Jonathan Katz
Wednesday, July 27, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

This heavily illustrated talk will demonstrate that the history of American art and the history of sexuality traveled a parallel course for over a century. Beginning with the work of Harriet Hosmer through such defining figures as Thomas Eakins, Charles Demuth, Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Agnes Martin, and Andy Warhol, Jonathan Katz outlines how it was queer artists who represented the US to itself.  

Jonathan D. Katz is an art historian, curator and queer activist. Currently an Associate Professor of Practice in the History of Art and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Katz is a pioneering figure in the development of a queer art history, and author of a number of books and articles.  As a scholar of modern and contemporary art, Katz is responsible for many of the first queer studies of such defining artists as Georgia O’Keeffe, Jasper Johns, Leon Polk Smith, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Hamilton, Yayoi Kusama, Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, Robert Indiana, and a number of others. Katz is now completing two new books, Hiding in Plain Sight: On the Queerness of Contemporary Art and The Silent Camp: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and the Cold War. He is also editor of the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Queer Art History. 

He curated the exhibition About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art in summer 2019 at Wrightwood 659, a new museum in Chicago. The largest queer exhibition ever mounted, featuring some 500 works, it will be available as a book this year. Katz is currently curating a major international exhibition called The First Homosexuals, a global show of the first representations of sexual difference after the coining of the term “homosexual” in 1869, accompanied by a book of the same name. He is also, as the beneficiary of a Mellon Foundation grant, organizing 14 exhibitions and performances in Latin America on the theme of contemporary and historical dispossession. 

Register via Eventbrite.


Seminar 2: Electromagnetic Touch: Radios and Community
with Sound Museum Collective
April 4, 18, May 2 and 16, 2022

As part of the Found in Translation series, Fleisher Art Memorial and Asian Arts Initiative are proud to present Electromagnetic Touch: Radios and Community, a series of workshops organized by the Sound Museum Collective of Philadelphia. The Collective holds space to reconstruct our relationship to sounds by creating a platform for women, nonbinary, and trans sound artists and engineers through workshops, collaborative projects, and creative community partnerships. The seminar includes both online and in-person engagements, including a historical overview of radio history, hands-on experimentation with radio technologies, and developing radio stories through Queer perspectives.  All seminars will be provided with live Spanish interpretation.

There are four sessions included in the series. The first, Radio History and its Technology, is a virtual session with its own registration link listed below. Sessions 2-4, starting with Hands-On Radio Circuit Experimentation, will be hosted onsite at Fleisher and the registration link is for participation in all three.


The Sound Museum Collective (SMC) of Philadelphia hold space to reconstruct our relationship to sounds by creating a platform for women, nonbinary, and trans sound artists and engineers through workshops, collaborative projects, and creative community partnerships.

Elissa Fredeen

Elissa (she/her) is a sound artist, live sound engineer, technical coordinator, radio engineer and educator who has worked with various organizations and venues throughout Philadelphia. She is usually rocking out or playing in dirt. E is passionate about reclamation of community media, mutual aid practices and urban agriculture education. Through unconventional media and performance art, with a focus on sound and technology, E’s artistic work plays with the liminal spaces in our sonic sphere and explores the ways in which hearing is impacted by intersectional identities and how these selves, in turn, play into the milieux of who is heard.

Jackie Milestone

Jackie Milestone (they/them) works primarily as a recording and mixing audio engineer, both at Headroom Studios in East Kensington and at their home studio in West Philadelphia. When not in the studio you can find them teaching workshops, building installations, and causing noise havoc with their comrades in Sound Museum Collective – or playing loud punk music with their band LUNCH. Community engagement and mutual aid is central to their life’s priorities, and they are particularly passionate about increasing the accessibility of audio and gear learning, particularly to gender-marginalized communities.

Gladys Nobriga

Gladys Nobriga (they/them/she/her) is Venezuelan-American from Miami, FL currently in the occupied Leni Lenape land called Philadelphia. Nobriga is a sound-based performer, visual artist, writer, stand-up comedian, and activist experimenting with found objects, contact mics, textures, range, analog formats, present moments, and empathy. Through raw avant-garbage performance art and community engagement, Nobriga aims to break down barriers of fear, capitalism, mental health access, environmental injustice, and economic disparity to regain our human rights, protect the land, and uplift our deep truth.

Session 1: Radio History and its Technology
Monday, April 4, 2022, 6:30 – 8:30pm
(virtual session hosted on Zoom)

This workshop will cover the fundamentals of radio, its radical history and its technology, breaking down the differences between CB, HAM, AM & FM, covering the basic mechanisms and policy. We will examine a history of FCC regulations and how they have impacted the commercialization and privatization of radio. We will trace a timeline of pirate radio activities throughout the 20th century up until the present, learning about how and why radio technology has been a tool for resistance since its inception.

Session 2: Hands-on Radio Circuit Experimentation
Monday, April 18, 2022, 6:30 – 8:30pm

This workshop will be a hands-on building opportunity for the community to familiarize themselves with radio technology in a more tactile way. This workshop will involve tinkering that contributes to the conceptual art piece that SMC is building for AAI. In this way, this work of art is further engaging with the community as they work with SMC to create this radio art. By doing so, it will also be an introduction to a unique form of technical literacy. In this workshop we will be dissecting portable battery powered radios. This will serve as an introduction to the mechanical functionality of the radio. Additionally, we will be removing the circuit board from its enclosure and turning it into an unconventional instrument by having participants use their bodies as an antenna and playing the circuit-board. The result will be interesting squeaks, noises and perhaps radio station broadcasts. These circuit boards and speakers will then be used in the creation of an interactive wall that will be a part of the final art exhibition.

Session 3: Developing Radio Programs with Queer Histories & Storytelling
Monday. May 2, 2022, 6:30 – 8:30pm

This will be a hands-on learning opportunity where attendees will be developing skills to create quality radio programming. This workshop will cover the basics of recording good audio such as interviews and voiceovers, Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and legal IDs, Bed Music and Transitions, and the fundamentals of excellent radio content. This will also be an opportunity for participants to discuss the kind of content that they want to hear on RADIO AAI. The intention of this workshop is that the material created from participants will be broadcasted. We will also be referencing some radical historical queer programs from the past 70 years, both in order to acknowledge the amazing programming history that has come before us, and also to use their frameworks for developing our own programming templates and ideas.

Session 4: Editing in a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
Monday, May 16, 2022, 6:30 – 8:30pm

This workshop will review technical details of putting together a radio program from fading in/out, adjusting the levels/volumes of your audio, and adding music. There will be an ask for people to come prepared with playlists, stories or interviews. This workshop will take place at Fleisher’s Digital Media Lab with access to computers, and offer a hands-on experience to create content ready to be aired on AAI Radio. If you have access to your own laptop, we encourage you to bring it. We highly encourage attendees to bring their own laptops. SMC can be responsible for installing free user-friendly DAWs for participants if they are not already on the computers.

Seminar 1: Afrofuturism and the Heroine’s Journey in Contemporary Film
with Li Sumpter, Ph.D.
Wednesdays, February 16 – March 9, 2022

Weekly lectures in this course explore the power and patterns of archetype and symbol – the building blocks of myth and the imagination. These universal elements of human consciousness are not only the stuff that stories and dreams are made of; they can also inspire movements, transform culture, and shape reality. Students learn how the path of the female protagonist differs from the classic male hero and the common themes, tropes, and power dynamics kindred to these two unique journeys. Diving deeper still, this course examines the trials and gifts, wounds, and weapons common to heroines of African and indigenous descent that reflect resonant cultural ideals, current social issues, and the signs of the times.


Li Sumpter

Li Sumpter, Ph.D. is a multidisciplinary artist and independent scholar who applies strategies of worldbuilding and mythic design toward building better, more resilient communities of the future. Her creative research and collaborative design initiatives engage the art of survival and sustainability through diverse ecologies and immersive stories of change. She is a cultural producer and eco-arts activist working through MythMedia Studios, the Escape Artist Initiative and various arts and community-based organizations in Philly and across the country.

Dr. Sumpter holds an MA in Art and Humanities Education from NYU and a MA/Ph.D. in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She currently teaches at Haverford College and Moore College of Art and Design and has taught special topics for youth and adult courses at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Barnes Foundation. Her areas of interest include afrofuturism and worldbuilding, myth and cinema, myth and nature, apocalypse and the media, and archetype and symbol in contemporary art. A 2020 recipient of the Leeway Transformation Award, Dr. Sumpter was also the recipient of the 2018 Sundance Institute and Knight Alumni grant and a three-time recipient of the Leeway Art and Change Grant.

Funding for this program has been provided by PA Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.