Thursday, October 11, 2007

Collective Imprints: Invitation

pictured: rotunda logo

Dear Friends,

You are cordially invited to participate in Collective Imprints, a once-in-a-lifetime project that will be as much about you as it will be about the other participants.

Over the past few months, visiting community artist Michael Schwartz and I have met with various local activists and artists to envision a project that is like very few in the world.

Our goal is to bring together diverse groups and individuals who make The Rotunda the vital venue that it is. In doing so, we will discuss The Rotunda's mission statement, and then define it through visual art. In other words, we want to create visual art WITH you from YOUR visions of, and ideas about, The Rotunda's place in arts, culture, and community.

We will discuss The Rotunda's success in these areas and the work that still needs to be done. In addition, we will talk about the surrounding West Philadelphia neighborhood, your own neighborhood, and our hopes for a better city. We will then mount the finished product inside of The Rotunda, where it will remain on display for years to come.

To participate in this project, you do not need to be an artist. In fact, you do not need to come with any prior experience. Instead, please share your stories about events you have attended and planned here, what you think the venue still needs to do, how you define community in general, how you support the arts, etc.

You have already left your mark on The Rotunda through your support, so why not leave a larger imprint?

What sets this project apart from so many other participatory arts projects is the following:

• All participants will have the opportunity to draw, paint, glue, etc. You will get to design, create, and finish the art that you want to see. Artist(s) who will be facilitating the workshops will help to instruct you on how to draw that perfect hand or shadow that lovely face, but the pencils and paint brushes will not leave your hands. After all, these are YOUR stories and ideas.

• We will document the process via video and photographs. Each participant will be given a journal in which to write about the project, to ensure that all of us have the chance to tell our stories. In addition, we will submit our video footage to be aired on WYBE, a local public television station.

• We will utilize several environmentally responsible products and practices, such as recycled art supplies, methods that reduce water pollution while cleaning paint brushes, and biodegradable cutlery for our refreshments.

Through this project, you will develop: basic skills in drawing, painting, creating collages, and transforming abstract ideas into tangible works of art; the tools to work successfully within a large group; and the opportunity to inspire and be inspired.

This project will be comprised of 10 workshops beginning on November 6, 2007 and ending on January 22, 2008. These will occur every Tuesday, with the exception of December 25 and January 1. The workshops will begin at 6pm and end at 8pm. All workshops will take place at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.

We are having a planning meeting on Tuesday, October 23 at 6pm at The Rotunda.

If you can attend this meeting, please RSVP to Gina Renzi:

If you are interested in participating but cannot attend the meeting listed above, please contact me so that we can talk on the phone or meet in person. Or just come to the workshops! You do not need to attend the meeting in order to participate in the project, but we would appreciate a sense of how many people plan to attend the workshops, so please reply with your interest and availability.

We invite you/your group to join us in building community through this inclusive, honest, and significant project. We hope that you'll be a part of Collective Imprints.


Gina Renzi

The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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