We in Philadelphia are living in a time of rapid change and growth for our city. We are witnessing the skyline change and an influx of new people from all corners of the world calling our city home. Unfortunately, segregation here in Philadelphia (and the greater United States) still exists. Though we don’t blatantly see the damage it is wrecking, it remains a problem that artists like Nasir Young, Eustace Mamba, and Jake Weiss (members of the Philadelphia-based Alchemy Art Ensemble) see in so many coded, complex ways.
Segregation can be identified by looking at the neighborhoods we live in, where we work, our level of education, and our health (including environmental pollution/racism and access to healthy food and clean water). Food deserts are defined as urban areas where the access to healthy food options or fresh, affordable food does not exist. Here in Philadelphia, this has been a major issue for decades. According to nonprofit Bebashi–Transition to Hope, 25% of Philadelphians currently experience food insecurity.
Just recently a Grocery Outlet Bargain Market opened its doors in a Sharswood - North Philly neighborhood. As it turns out, this was the first accessible and affordable grocery store in this neighborhood since the 1960’s. "The 1960s riots devastated this community. Since then, there were a lot of promises made to the community that we were going to rebuild, that never happened," explained Kelvin Jeremiah, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Authority to Katherine Scott of 6ABC.
Corner Stories puts a spotlight on these realities through the lens of local corner stores and other identifiable locations that Philadelphia’s food-insecure communities rely on. The artists hope to not only document these realities though their art, but offer the opportunity for others in the greater Philadelphia arts community to help make a difference.
Paired with the show, there will be an ongoing food drive with donations/contributions being given to the local non-profit Bebashi – Transition to Hope ‘s Food First Pantry, located on 11th and Spring Garden. Click here to see a list of acceptable food donations for this cause.
Corner Stories will open in Gallery 1 at Da Vinci Art Alliance on August 2nd and be on view through August 20th. The opening reception will take place on Thursday, August 3rd, 4-7pm. A closing reception and artist talk will be held on Sunday, August 20th from 12-2pm.