MAAG Statement on Black Lives Matter

All of us at the Mt. Airy Art Garage have been horrified and grief-stricken by the events of the past month, which have touched every aspect of our lives.
We join the community — and indeed the world — in mourning the loss of lives of Black people at the hands of the police, and in anger at the systemic racism, violent abuses of power and lack of equal justice — and human decency — that have brought us to this place in time. Systemic issues affecting people of color have been brought into sharper focus by the killing of George Floyd, which opened the eyes of many who may have missed them in the past.

The urgent need for change is clear, and calls for reform are mounting and growing louder from all racial and ethnic groups. MAAG supports Black Lives Matter and other groups who are demanding change.

There’s a reason we’re the Mt. Airy Art Garage, and chose this neighborhood as our base. Mt. Airy welcomes people of every race, ethnic group, religion, physical challenges, sexual identity and gender, and all ages. We wanted our organization to reflect the core values of this community: diversity, inclusion, fairness and dynamic creativity.

Is MAAG perfect? No, but we try. Our Board is currently 25% Black. We are striving to do better and ensure that our leadership reflects the diversity of our neighborhood. We are always learning, and there’s a lot more to learn.

Black lives do matter to us; we’ve spent the last 10 years working to engage with, and reflect, our community.

“My Son Matters” and “By the Content of My Character”, a solo double exhibit by Denise Allen, an African-American mother, featured 35 portraits of Black mothers with their sons, among other works.

2017’s exhibit, “Having Our Say”, (in partnership with the Philadelphia Theater Company and the Suzanne Roberts Theater), looked at African-American civil rights, pride and female empowerment in the South.

In the Fall of 2018, a multi-media MAAG show called “Divided Nation” explored the political and social climate, racial inequality, voting rights, freedom of speech and immigrant rights.
We have been actively involved with the predominantly Black Henry H. Houston and Eleanor C. Emlen Elementary Schools through our Community of Pride (C.O.P.) Mural and Literacy Program, which encourages children to think about what makes them feel proud, and express those feelings through art. Each year, the project focuses on the work of a prominent Black artist. The students have been inspired by the art of Faith Ringgold, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Romare Bearden.

While two thirds of MAAG’s C.O.P. teacher-artists are white, all of our guest teacher-artists have been Black. C.O.P. is on hold due to the closing of the schools because of Covid-19, but we’re optimistic about resuming in the Fall, and we hope to recruit more Black MAAG teacher-artists.

Going forward, MAAG is committed to lifting more Black voices in the community with more initiatives. These include a return to solo and group shows as we move into our new space and an online gallery that will feature Black artists in the coming weeks and months.

MAAG is actively seeking new Board members, to better reflect our community’s diversity. We welcome inquiries about Board service, or about additional volunteer activities. (Email to arleen@mtairyartgarage.org)

Art can promote positive social change, and should be available to everyone from the wide spectrum of our population. Art is a path to communication and connection. Art focuses energy on creative solutions that can lead to a more just and equitable world.

We’re dedicated to making sure “Black Lives Matter” isn’t just a slogan, but that Black lives truly do matter in everyday life. All lives can’t matter until Black lives do, too.

MAAG celebrates diversity, and the role that art plays in personal, social and institutional transformation. We remain committed to bringing art to the entire community.

MAAG Board of Directors

Arleen Olshan, President
Patricia Smith, Vice President
Mary Ann Domanska, Secretary
Elayne Bender
Rick Hock
Nicki Toizer
Larry West

MAAG Partners with Juniper Productions for PLAYS WITH FRIENDS

MAAG is excited about partnering with Juniper Productions for PLAYS WITH FRIENDS livestream events on Sunday, June 7th at 2pm and Sunday, June 14th at 2pm. The season finale is on Wednesday, June 24th at 5pm.

Juniper Productions, in association with Manayunk Theatre Company, presents a new livestream theatrical experience inspired by MadLibs: improv and online competitive theatrical games. For more information about Juniper Productions you can visit their website at: https://juniper.agency/.

As a MAAG Member you are able to access FREE tickets by using the discount code JUNIPER5 at checkout. 

To purchase/reserve your tickets please visit TICKET LEAP. https://juniper-productions.ticketleap.com/plays-with-friends/

 

Details From Our Partners at Juniper Productions:

Here’s the low down…three brave guest performers are given a monologue or short speech from a well known play or musical a couple of days before the show. They put together their own home-made props and costumes in preparation for their performance. 

Your job as the audience is to infuse mirth into the show (and applaud the performances). Guided by the MC, you’ll suggest new word substitutions in the monologues. Each guest is given a few minutes to rehearse privately, and then off we go… be prepared for much fun and creativity as the new monologues are performed. 

Voting takes place after the event – you get to name your pick in three categories:

***Best props and costumes*** ***Best characterization*** *** Best general performance***

The best general performers advance to the Grand Finale on June 24th.

Registration is $5 (no additional fees) for the ticket, and we have a 2-for-1 ticket special for you to share with friends and family. We will email each person a link to this livestream event prior to the show.

Let’s play!

Would you like to enjoy PLAYS WITH FRIENDS for FREE?  Sign up today to become a patron of Juniper ($3/month +) and enjoy all the perks of arts patronage!

MAAG in These Trying Times

Dear Members and Friends of MAAG,

We at Mt Airy Art Garage are reaching out to our members and friends to let you know how much you mean and have meant to us over the years. During this time of COVID-19 we are all experiencing a new reality that puts us all in unprecedented times.  

With jobs being lost and schools closed, our community is suffering in many ways. Our Community of Pride Mural & Literacy Project (COP) program at Emlen school is being reworked in hopes that the Board of Education can create online teaching for its students. We plan on continuing to pay our teachers as we seek to re-work our program in hopes of continuing to offer arts education to our children.

As a hub to the arts and culture community, MAAG is working on providing online arts outlets to keep the Arts world alive and well in NW Philadelphia. In order to do this we must ask our members and friends to consider keeping your membership current and friends donating where they can by using our PayPal account (via website) or mailing in contributions where possible.

We hope you and your families are keeping safe and healthy and look forward to seeing everyone on the other side of this pandemic reality. Please stay in touch through our website, email, and Facebook platforms and know that we are all in this together.

Wishing everyone safety and good health,

Board of Directors

Arleen Olshan, President
Patricia Smith, Vice President
Mary Ann Domanska, Secretary
Elayne Bender
Sarah Claxton
Rick Hock
Nicki Toizer
Larry West

Call for Member Volunteers

Dear MAAG Members,
 
We hope your summer has gone well. For the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG), this is an extremely momentous time as we begin our transition into our new home at 7054 Germantown Avenue.  
 
I have been a long-time member and volunteer. I even painted the wooden entrance doors at our old Mt. Airy location. I joined the MAAG Board more than a year ago. Most recently, I have taken on the responsibility of being the Volunteer Coordinator. I want to take this opportunity to extend my heart-felt thanks to the dozens of you who have volunteered for MAAG in the past, in many different capacities.
 
We have a very important upcoming event that I’d like to strongly encourage you to volunteer for. MAAG Rocks Art! is a one-day arts festival to be held in the heart of Mt. Airy on Germantown Avenue between Mt. Pleasant Avenue and Sedgwick Street on Saturday, September 14, 2019 (rain date: Sunday, September 15) from 11 AM – 5 PM. This special event is to help us celebrate our 10th Anniversary and our new home and neighbors!  
 
If you are interested in assisting with the MAAG Rocks Art! event, please reach out to me, Rick Hock, at: rshdurham@gmail.com.
 
Dr. Rick S. Hock
MAAG Volunteer Coordinator
 
P.S. If you are not able to volunteer, please consider making a tax deductible donation to our local non-profit arts organization. Thank you!

The Future of The Mt. Airy Art Garage

The Mt. Airy Art Garage is a nonprofit member arts organization celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. We provide communal space for creativity, collaboration, and self-actualization, while utilizing creative expression as an instrument for social change. MAAG serves as an incubator for professional and emerging artists who work in creative partnerships with local adults and youth to spread the spirit of art, community, and sustainable living throughout Northwest Philadelphia. We foster civic engagement and community revitalization through the arts, while serving as a center for children and adults to learn, find safe space, and rejoice in the unique creativity that springs from us all.

We have established partnerships throughout the city that include City Hall, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Lovett Library, The Philadelphia Theatre Company located at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, The Fabric Workshop Museum, La Salle University Museum, and other local organizations in our community.

Nonprofits like ours have been vulnerable to economic downturns. Trends for arts and culture nonprofits take the hardest hits whenever there is a recession. In our current climate, now more than ever, creativity is vital to underserved populations. Fortunately, over the last few years MAAG has survived and, looking towards the future, will continue to thrive! MAAG has been going through a time of major transition. After losing our home on Mt. Airy Avenue in 2016, we continued to grow in our small gallery space at 6622 Germantown Avenue.

For the past three years, another wonderful alliance has been the creation of the Community of Pride Mural and Literacy Project at the Eleanor C. Emlen Elementary School. This program provides a rich curriculum with opportunities for 4th and 5th grade students learning to draw and paint full-sized murals which have become permanent fixtures at the school.

These classes aim to provide a safe space to nurture creativity, self-esteem, teamwork, and a sense of accomplishment in seeing their original work on the walls.

Most recently, MAAG created a free After School Community Arts Project at the Mt. Airy Playground for children ages 10 to 14. The culminating mural design will be mounted on the three window panels outside of Jyoti’s Indian Bistro at Germantown Avenue and Nippon Street by the end of the school year.

We continue to hold our annual Holiday Arts Market, and for the second year in a row, we will be working with the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs to host the Philly Family Pride Picnic and Arts Festival. This event will be held once again at Lovett Library Park located at 6945 Germantown Avenue on Saturday, June 22 from 11 am–5 pm with a rain date of Sunday, June 23rd, 2019. Admission will be free and open to all ages, families, and community members. This event will have family-specific entertainment, fine art and handcrafts, music, food trucks, and resource tables from a variety of organizations and nonprofits that provide services and support to LGBTQ families and youth.

In the coming months we plan on moving into a large space in Mt. Airy which will enable us to expand our programs, offer classes, rent out multiple artist studio spaces, hold events, continue our gift shop, and have a dedicated gallery space.

As we grow in size and offerings we need to expand our working board. In addition, we are seeking a grant writer who understands our mission, is an art-lover, and is supportive of our child-centered arts programs. This a paid position for a dedicated individual committed to helping the organization with funding for current programs, future projects, and for operating expenses.

This is an exciting time join us for the next ten years! Become a member. Donations of money, time, service, talent, and writing skills, are all welcome. Thank you, Northwest Philadelphia, Mt. Airy Neighbors, for all the support you have shown us. MAAG could only have been created in the Mt. Airy community.

For further information, or to inquire about becoming a board member, contact arleen@mtairyartgarage.org. You may send resumes to: Mt. Airy Art Garage, 6622 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119

The Mt. Airy Art Garage Salon Artist Talks Takes Off!

The artists’ presentations are open-ended; the speaker can do a demonstration of their art or craft, present examples of their work, or create a unique format specific to their topic. Arlene Olshan, MAAG’s co-founder and executive director presented the first Artist Talk in February. Arleen talked about her fulfilling lifetime as an artist, teacher and therapist. Her colorful story of learning leatherwork and becoming a master leatherworker charmed her audience and lead to numerous thoughtful questions. Arleen is a good storyteller and made a great introductory speaker for this new series. MAAG is Arleen’s dream come true and we are truly grateful for her dedication.

In Emic Rizzle Tinkerer, Mary Ann Domanska took her daughter’s imaginative childhood experiences and built a wonderful novel for elementary age readers. There are elements of mystery and intrigue, as Emic boldly and fearlessly tackles the challenges of per-adolescence. This is her first published novel. The next novel, a work in progress, The Grit of Cora Belle Delany emerges from Mary Ann’s childhood in which she lived with parents who fostered dozens of children in their home. Mary Ann presented to a highly engaged audience on March 2, with her vivid descriptions of the inner life of a teenage girl in the foster system. In Cora Bell’s life there was no end to what she could fear and worry about. Sharing this fictionalized child’s life Mary Ann reveals how resilient a child can be, day after day , when life is unfriendly and she doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring. She read from a working draft of this emerging novel. This excerpt of this poignant, eloquent description of a child in “emergency temporary placement” left one wanting to hear more, to know what would become of the vulnerable, yet intensely strong young character.

When asked, what was the writing experience like for her, Mary Ann said, “ Sometimes I am in control and sometimes the character is in control.” Her immersion in writing about character and place produces imagery that is compelling and irresistible. It was a pleasure and an honor to hear Mary Ann read her work in progress. We look forward to the completion and publication of this moving, insightful tale of survival.

Please join us for future Artist Talks on the first Saturday of the month, at MAAG, 4-6pm. Light refreshments are provided and donations are welcome.

The After School Community Arts Project

Parents & children, Please join us for The After School Community Arts Project at the Mt. Airy Playground 7001 Germantown Avenue

You’ll learn basic drawing & painting skills; applying them to painting outside murals in Mt. Airy. All children ages 10 -14 welcome. Free of charge and all art supplies will be furnished.

Classes Start January 15th and run til May 2019 every Tuesday & Thursday 3:30 – 5:30 PM.

This project is jointly sponsored by the Mt. Airy Playground, the Mt. Airy Art Garage, and the generous sponsorship of the Drumcliff Foundation.