Monday, September 21, 2009



Philadelphia’s First Person Arts Festival is proud to host BOOK BOMBS as part of the Welcome House Project. BOOK BOMBS is a collaboration between artists Mary Tasillo and Michelle Wilson. The Welcome House is a 10 foot by 10 foot transparent cube installed in Philadelphia’s own Love Park, featuring artist projects by day and video of the day’s activities by night. On October 9, 2009, as part of their daylong residency, BOOK BOMBS will utilize handmade paper and community participation to create a site-specific one-night installation called Book Bombs Shelter. This event is free and open to the public.

BOOK BOMBS is a collaborative, site-based zine project examining Philadelphia parks and benches as social spaces, shelters, and art galleries, and will culminate next year as a component of PHILAGRAFIKA 2010. As part of Book Bombs Shelter, Tasillo and Wilson invite the population of Love Park, including office workers, skateboarders, protesters, passers-by, and the homeless, to create works in handmade paper about Love Park. The resulting papers will be attached while still wet to the interior of the Welcome House, creating an evolving visual conversation about the nature of urban public space in general and Love Park in particular. In addition, the pieces will be documented on the project blog, and used as material for the upcoming zine publication about shelter, homelessness, and urban space during PHILAGRAFIKA 2010.

The Welcome House is a project conceived and curated by artist Marianne Bernstein and presented by First Person Arts in collaboration with Designed to re-imagine art spaces, art practice, and community engagement, artists were invited to propose one-day residencies using the space as a nexus for public interaction. All daytime events will be filmed by klip collective videographer Ricardo Rivera and projected onto the cube at night for public viewing. Following the project will be an exhibition of the works created in the Welcome House at the Painted Bride Art Center, located at 230 Vine Street in Philadelphia, in November 2009. The exhibition will remain on display during the First Person Arts Festival and through the end of 2009.


October 9, 2009: Book Bombs Shelter, collaborative public art project by Mary Tasillo and Michelle Wilson, part of the Welcome House Project. Love Park, 15th and JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Does a City Close Its Parks?

Readers in Philadelphia are all too aware of the precarious state of the City at this moment. Without the State's approval of a budget for the current year, and of a temporary sales tax hike for the City of Philadelphia, we are due to go to Budget Plan C in a scant few weeks, with lay-off notices going out tomorrow. This budget calls for the closing of park services and libraries, and social service agencies receiving City funding have been affected for months - shuttering the spaces that provide safe havens and support for those without a safety net. And editorial on today asks: How exactly do parks close? Does it mean we can't sit on a bench? This editorial, "Plan C: Who's Going to Kill the Rats?" goes on to point out the lack of a plan involved in Budget Plan C, which calls for cuttings and closings, but doesn't tell citizens anything about how life will function without its courts or timed traffic lights or its park services.

Coming out of this legislative disaster, we need a movement to hold our legislators, who just got back from a paid vacation while small businesses and non-profits have gone unpaid, accountable. They should not be getting paid while other citizens are not.