FPA believes that everyday people have compelling stories to tell, and that we can all gain from hearing them. That’s why we create unique community engagement opportunities that transform the stories of everyday people into public art and performance.
Since 2007 First Person Arts has created annual community engagement storytelling projects including: capturing video stories on the street (First Person Story Tour), turning people’s complaints into a musical performance (Complaint Choir), building an art installation at Love Park (The Welcome House), and helping people develop stories about their treasured objects (First Person Museum, funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the
The 10th anniversary festival in 2011 included a citywide haiku project that featured Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez’s Peace Is A Haiku Song. This project, which represented a new collaboration between First Person Arts and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, used the poetic form of haiku as a vehicle for expressing personal reflections on peace and urban transformation.
Also in 2011 we collaborated with Mural Arts and the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health on a performance piece based on community writing called Finding the Light Within. This project was designed to de-stigmatize mental health issues by paying tribute to the real life stories of those whose lives have been touched by suicide.
In 2012, our partnership continues with Mural Arts. We’re creating original performance works in collaboration with professional workshop leaders and local communities. These performances will premiere at the 2012 First Person Arts Festival and feature Philadelphia youth who are overcoming trauma and members of South Philly’s growing Bhutanese and Burmese populations.
We are also partnering with the Achieving Independence Center on a writing project with another dynamic group of youth transitioning from the foster care system to independent adulthood.
This kind of community engagement storytelling project places stories at the forefront of the healing process and the celebration of triumph over adversity. It brings together professional workshop leaders, artists, musicians, neighbors, and friends in a distinctly unique way. We’re proud of this work, and we can do it for you. If you’d like to have FPA design a community-engagement project for your group, please contact Dan Gasiewski at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 267.402.2056. For a schedule of live performances in the 2012 Festival, visit here.