Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Amy Lee Flores: Home

 My project is about what I feel home is to me.

Amy Flores, Home, 2012, Chair, paint, photos, paper, pen, cloth and stuffed animals
 Amy Flores Artist Statement

 My project is about what I feel home is to me. The flowers play the role of nature and my last name. The doll is very special to me because it was a gift on the Three Kings Day when I was very young, its name is Taino, which is the indigenous tribe’s name from Puerto Rico. The Siberian Husky is special because it’s always on my bed and when my little brother gets scared I give it to him and he feels safe. The pillow the doll is sitting was something my step-dad gave me -- it’s truly special to me because my step-dad raised me my whole life and when he gave it to me he thought of me. It’s pink and it says “Princess”, and my step-dad thought it looked like me. I chose the colors on the chair because those are the colors I want for my room because these colors are calm yet exciting in a way. The hearts are special for me because it’s how I started drawing. It shows a sign of life and love and those are the three main things I like to have in my life. The headphones show how much I love music and how I can’t live without it. The music also shows the enjoyment I find in dancing and just having fun at any kind of party. The picture of the horse you see was one I painted with crayons. I chose to make that picture the best out of the whole coloring book. It’s my favorite because it shows the Puerto Rican flag’s colors, which is my homeland.                              
  Amy Lee Flores      

Close up


Flores at work 

Dreams & Realities

Our project represents the contrast between how our community looks now and what we want our community to look like.

Jenissa Briana Rodriguez, Nestor Augusto Tamayo & Jailene Alanis Duprey, Our Community, Chair, paper, paint, cloth photographs and found materials

Our project represents the contrast between how our community looks now and what we want our community to look like. We want to show how polluted our community looks when people just throw garbage on the floor.

 Our project relates to the topic because the main theme of the project is claiming places. We are showing how we claim our place. We take care of it, plant, and make sure it looks beautiful. In making this project we used all recycled items. The sun was made out of cardboard, as were the trees. The big flowers and stones were made out of tissue paper and the waterfall was used from a piece of blanket. We thought it would look interesting since the fabric had texture, which made the fabric look like water. The leaves were pulled off of a fake bouquet of flowers. For the back of the chair we used dark colors that nobody really likes looking at so that you can tell it’s trash. We used things that people threw in the recycle bin to represent the litter on our streets.

 Our message is that if you want your community, the place you live in to look nice then you have to take charge and not let there be trash everywhere. It’s embarrassing when you see empty cans just thrown on the floor. If you see trash on the floor, pick it up. Let’s make our community look nice; it’s our environment!

 Jenissa Briana Rodriguez, Nestor Augusto Tamayo and Jailene Alanis Duprey

Rear View.  From  desolation to hope

Nestor AugustoTamayo and 
Jenissa Briana Rodriguez  by Our Community

Wide View

In the YAP Studio 

Ricardo Lopez, Street Kings Artist Statement

This chair represents “the ghetto” where violence is everywhere and easy because there are not enough cops protecting my community.

Recardo Lopez, Street Kings, 2012, Chair, paint,  pencil, paper, cloth and paint cans

Ricardo Lopez's Artist Statement

 This chair represents “the ghetto” where violence is everywhere and easy because there are not enough cops protecting my community. Violence can be good by self-defense and bad because it’s easier to get away with.

The gold crown in my chair represents how gangs claim their territory. The bullet holes and the color red in the chair represents how people get shot fighting for their area. The color black and the graffiti represents the people I see claiming their places, expressing what they feel: memorial graffiti – when somebody dies, political graffiti – expressing themselves against the government, and vandalism – to destroy someones’ area. This chair tells a story about what I experience every day in the community.

This chair also has a story about a person that is trying to rule his area that goes through fights, shootings, and drug dealing to control the area in the way he wants and sit on the throne. In my neighborhood, you can’t sleep a night without hearing gunshots, and a month without any violence.

 Ricardo Lopez


Street Kings

Ricardo Lopez by Street Kings

YAP's Dreams and Realities Exhibition

Consider the phrase: “claiming places”.

Amy Flroes,  Home, 2012, Chair, paint, photographs and stuffed  animas
In El VEstíbulo
Dreams & Realities:
Works by the Students of Taller’s Youth Artist Program
January 25th to March 23rd, 2013
If chairs could talk…

Consider the phrase: “claiming places”. What does it mean to claim your place, to mark a spot as your own? In essence, it is providing evidence of your existence. The students of Youth Artist Program at Taller Puertorriqueño questioned this when provided the opportunity to participate with the Claiming Places series. In our conversations, we discussed home, family, community, graffiti, furniture, video games, posters, etc. It was the image of the chair in the family living room that stuck in our minds. We peeled away the layers of the chair in order to understand why we came to this image and how we may use it when talking about claiming places.

The chair is a universal place of rest. Chairs can be found in your home, in restaurants, in the park, or on the street. It is a place of comfort for the traveler, the worker, the young, and the old. When we sit, we nest. The nest serves the purpose of the sitter: to relax, to learn, to collect items or thoughts, to feed – these are the evidences of our existence. Sometimes, we are even particular about the type of location of our nests. A person may ‘call a spot’ before taking a seat or go through great discussion with others about where the best place is to sit.

A seat declares the impression of a person. The depth of seat cushion dents informs how a person sits, the weight, how long a person sits or how long the nest was abandoned. Seats that remain long show evidence by stains, rips, lumps, and strange colors. When seeing an empty chair in the trash, we can imagine the nest it once was: survivor of many coffee spills and book-readings, story-time with the ones you long, refuge and safe-haven from the hardships of the outside world, or a child’s play-time rocket ship to the moon. 

It is this type of imagination and personal touch that inspired the YAP students to take classroom chairs from the Art Room and convert them into messages about themselves, their community, and their history to create a nest.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Esperanza Cortés: In Entre Sombras - Site of Memories

Poster - E Cortes

Lorenzo Homar Gallery
February 8th to March 30th, 2013

Friday, February 8th, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m

Esperanza Cortés’ installations and paintings in Entre Sombras - Site of Memories, are tokens of human frailty, fears, and injustices that as a woman, mother, Colombian and Latina shape the world she sees. The Lorenzo Homar Gallery was fully resurfaced and smoothed as an essential part of the installation. Working with glass beads, clay, pigments and household objects such as chairs, sewing machine tables, metal chains and a basket she transformed into a bassinet, Cortés seeks to connect with individuals on a primal level, jolting the viewer with the familiarity of these objects against the otherwise stark presentation. She sees the female form and femininity as a center that is encircled and encompassed by compassion, violence, life, death, place and belonging.

The works presented here touch on the consequences of violence on women through war and abuse, exploitation of resources, financial insecurity, birth and death, and racial profiling.

Cortés, born in Bogotá, Colombia, emigrated to New York City at the age of four. Her interest in art began as a child and was shaped by her experiences in the Catholic Church through its ceremonies, altars, architecture and stained glass windows. She was also drawn into the arts by her family, her father’s work with metal, her mother’s knitting, beadwork and crocheting, and her grandmother’s cooking and stories of her native Colombia. As an artist, she sees a duality between personal and community roles. Within the gallery walls, her work feeds on her personal visions and experiences. Out in the streets, her methodology changes. Her work reacts to the environment, and, as she describes, is “in dialogue with its surroundings.”

Cortés lives and works in New York and has exhibited widely throughout the United States in places such as the Neuberger Museum of Art, The Bronx Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio, the Cleveland Art Museum, and the Mexic-Arte Museum in Texas.

Her website is here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Unites and Defines a Community Discussion

Poster for Claiming Places Event

Opening Panel Discussion:
What Unites and Defines a Community  

3 PM, Saturday, January 26, 2013

The first of two panel discussions as part of Taller Puertorriqueño's Claiming Places: Unity, Ownership, and “Hogar” (Home) exhibition cycle.  Through art, dance, and architecture, staged in a variety of Taller’s spaces (its gallery walls, its garden, and a neighborhood parking lot - the physical site of Taller’s new facility), this year’s theme seeks to reveal, question, and engage the community in a dialogue  exploring  “ownership” and the consequences of making a space your own. 

Join panelists: artists Merián Soto and César Viveros Herrera; Taller’s Executive Director, Carmen Febo San Miguel; artist and teacher at Taller's education program, Caitlin Peck;  and architect J.C. Calderon, as moderator, and become part of this thought - provoking conversation.

An essay on placemaking and Taller's role in claiming places is here

Eventbrite - Opening Panel Discussion:
What Unites and Defines a Community    (Tickets are FREE)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

About Carmen Febo San Miguel

Carmen Febo San Miguel, MD, was born in Ciales, Puerto Rico, graduating magna cum laude followed by Medical School both at the University of Puerto Rico.  She moved to Philadelphia for her residency in Family Practice at Hahnemann Hospital and Medical Center in 1974.  Upon completion of her residency, she became Medical Director of the Spring Garden Family Health Services Center in Philadelphia, serving a primarily poor Puerto Rican and African American population.  After moving back to Puerto Rico in 1979 to work at the Naranjito Health Center serving a rural population, Dr. Febo returned to Philadelphia in 1984 were she assumed the position of Medical Director of Germantown Family Medicine Associates, managing all aspects of a private medical practice. 

She became Taller’s Executive Director in 1999 after 14 years as Board Chair.  Dr. Febo is deeply committed to Taller’s goals and mission of education and dissemination about the rich cultural heritage of Puerto Rico, Latino and related groups including African Americans.  She served on the Mayor’s Commission on Arts and Culture under Mayor Goode and currently as a member of the Advisory Council on Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy under Mayor Nutter.  Under her tenure, Taller has grown from an almost extinct organization to one managing 2 buildings, an expansion she headed as board chair and chair of the facilities committee, a budget of $870,000 and a permanent staff of 13.  As Executive Director since 1999, she has led Taller’s programmatic agenda in the expansion of Art Residencies into School District and other charter schools, the Visit Us program, developed new collaborations to exhibit Taller’s art collection at off-sites, has led the coordination of the ever expanding Feria del Barrio and has been called to produce programming for the Kimmel’s International Festival for the Arts, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  She just successfully concluded the production of the 7 events related to the Knight Foundation grant at the site of Taller’s new facility project.      

She has received numerous awards.  Those that are relevant to the arts and education include:

Creative Connector of Leadership Philadelphia for 2011-128-11

Bread and Roses Paul Robeson Life Achievement Award9-10

Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress Pioneer Award10-08

The Philadelphia Association of Hispanic School Administrators7/03
2003 Honoree

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations10/02
2002 Human Rights Award for Arts and Culture 

About J.C. Calderon, Moderator of Panel.

J.C. Calderón, AIA, LEED AP, is founder of Green Tree Architects in Beacon NY. He is currently collaborating on a new 642 room hotel in Manhattan’s Times Square area for the Riu Hotel & Resorts chain with Beacon architects Chris Berg & Jon Moss. He is the founder of The Beacon Public Space Project, a nonprofit community based group dedicated to improving public space in Beacon and founded on the idea that public space needs public participation if it is to improve. The BPSP was founded on July 14, 2012 upon the centennial celebrations of folk artist Woody Guthrie. Upon the 100th anniversary of Beacon in 2013, the BPSP is sponsoring projects to support public space improvements in Beacon & beyond. He received his Master of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts from Williams College. Mr. Calderon lives in Beacon, NY with his wife, daughter and son.

You can see more at: and and at


About Caitlin Peck

Peck with her YAP artists

Caitlin Peck received her BFA in Drawing & Painting from Pennsylvania State University in 2010, also earning the Gerald Davis Award for her work as an undergraduate. She has participated in juried and group shows in the United States and internationally at the Burren College of Art, Ireland. Currently, she is obtaining her MFA in Studio Arts at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia.

YAP students at work on their projects

Peck has been working at Taller Puertorriqueño in the Youth Artists Program (YAP) since January of 2012. Her experience with the students is to encourage them to think critically and creatively about the challenges they  face when making art. In the works of Claiming Places, she asks the students to go beyond the surface of what 'home' means and what makes them who they are. This is a similar path of Peck’s work. Understanding the slippage and fallibility of memory, Peck works in acts of memorializing, memory exercise, and memorization. She works in a variety of mediums including drawing, sculpture, installation, video, and performance.  

More information on Peck on her website  here:

YAP Exhibition Poster
The Poster for the Children Show

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Video Snapshot of the Triangulations Exhibition

Video Snapshot of Triangulations from Taller Puertorriqueño on Vimeo.

A video sample of Merián Soto's exhibition, TRIANGULATIONS: Revisiting OYWPP at Taller Puertorriqueño's Lorenzo Homar Gallery. On view from December 7th 2012 to January 19th, 2013. More information on the show is here.