Taller’s Annual Report: 2017-2018

Message from the Chair, Edgardo González

In June of this year, Taller was recognized with two important awards. Taller’s El Corazón Cultural Center was awarded the Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Award for Excellence from the Urban Land Institute. This award recognizes excellence in “leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.” The winners represented a variety of project types and were selected by a national jury of 12 experts based on elements, such as innovation in design, high standard of real estate development, and achieving sustainability, among others. The jury recognized El Corazón Cultural Center for excellence in community impact, sustainability, and financial success. The second of these important awards is the selection of Taller as one of 5 finalists in the very competitive process known as Impact 100 Philadelphia.

These awards are in recognition of the high standards of program production and financial stewardship the organization has maintained throughout its history. During this period of growth for the organization, Taller has maintained its commitment to serve as a point of pride for the community, and as a destination for the city and region as a whole.

Our organization is at a dramatic point in its development, poised for growth and expansion beyond anything we’ve experienced so far. For over 43 years, Taller has been a community anchor and asset, attracting new audiences, businesses, and investments. In our new home, we are further magnifying Taller’s role as a transformative force in one of the most negatively economically impacted areas of the city, while at the same time, our programs are attracting new audiences as they help build bridges to connect communities in challenging times, when the forces that divide us seem stronger than the ones that bring us together. Today, this work is more important than ever, and Taller is meeting these challenges.

Taller is profoundly grateful for the support and recognition it receives from funders and partners at all levels. Together, we can be hopeful for another year of growth and progress.

Message from the Executive Director, Carmen Febo San Miguel

This past year represents the first full year of operation in the new space. It has been a year of adjustments, expansion and implementing projections that would prove us right if they were on target. This stunning new facility continues to reassure us we were on the right track. It has allowed Taller to incorporate new initiatives as we intensely work to expand audiences and diversify our economic model towards long-term sustainability. This new building embodies our community’s vision and aspirations for social and economic development.

The Corazón Cultural Center is proving to be what so many of us envisioned, a gathering place for our Latino community, imbued with a deep sense of belonging. Taller’s programs offer opportunities for mutual understanding and self-discovery specifically for young people. With art exhibitions, music, dance, theater performances, and popular festivals, Taller works to broaden the demographics attracted to our many events and programs, making El Corazón Cultural Center a hub for our community and a destination for Latinx arts and culture.

Following the success of its inaugural year, Taller’s exhibitions program has continued to organize ambitious shows of Latinx artists, building relationships with artists and organizations both locally and beyond. More relevant than ever, Miguel Antonio Horn’s Dissonance channeled public outcry in the face of political and economic crises in both the US and the artist’s native Venezuela. Ron Abram’s El Ambiente (The Environment) brought together folklore, family history, and popular culture to explore queer sites of memory masked in stories and legends. And, Jaime Alvarez, explored intimacy, sentimentality, and loss in his series of large-scale photographs of found and discarded objects.

Taller’s Meet the Author Series featured local and national authors for conversation about their work. Authors included Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela who shared her role as an editor and publisher of the anthology Dismantle, an anthology featuring work from over 50 writers of color from across the nation. In December, Puerto Rican-born and Philadelphia-based poet Raquel Salas-Rivera (now the city’s poet laureate) read a selection of recent poems.

Taller has also hosted several community-wide special events. On January 5, we celebrated the traditional Three Kings Day Festival. In February, Taller hosted the 22nd Annual Arturo A. Schomburg Symposium with the theme, “Does Violence Have Color?”

Taller’s off-site art residencies Visítenos Program reached 1,700+ students across 8 Philadelphia public schools, bringing arts classes with a culturally specific Latinx lens including visual art, dance, and music. From its inception this program demonstrates positive outcomes in literacy, behavior and other academic parameters.

Through art, Taller breathes, embodies, and responds to the issues that impact us all, including our intense work to support Puerto Rico and those that needed to relocate to Philadelphia in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. For us, art is an essential vehicle to help understand and overcome the many social and cultural challenges we face. Art is a tool to combat prejudice, and to preserve and keep our culture alive and relevant. Art can build bridges to connect communities in challenging times, when the forces that divide us seem stronger than the ones that bring us together. Today, this work is more important than ever, and Taller, with your help, is primed to meet these challenges.

Click on the link to download the full report here