Walking around the Fairhill neighborhood of Philadelphia, one would eventually stumble upon a community arts center located at 2721 N. Fifth St.
The Taller Puertorriqueño community arts center uses both art and culture to help educate the youth in the neighborhood.
According to Executive Director, Dr. Carmen Febo-San Miguel, “Taller's mission [is] to preserve, develop and promote Puerto Rican artistic and cultural traditions, as well as to the quality representation of other Latin American cultures and our common roots.”
Children are given the opportunity to use their creativity and express themselves through art, as well as participate in community outreach and educational programs. For example, The Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association joined efforts with Taller in October 2001 to launch a program that conducts weekly watercolor painting workshops for a group of up to ten participants. The group meets under the combined guidance of a visual artist, a Latino Outreach Specialist from the Alzheimer’s Association and Taller’s Outreach Coordinator. Successful art exhibitions and celebrations of Memories in the Making are held in Taller’s Gallery.
Also, Taller's educational curriculum features year-round activities including arts instruction, after-school tutoring, traditional dance classes, and so much more. For many, visiting and participating in Taller's educational programs is how they discover and celebrate their Latinidad.
The work that the community arts center has done for the “barrio” doesn’t go left unnoticed. It has recently been nationally recognized and is the first Latino Organization to be awarded the 2008 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Outstanding Leadership & Service to Arts Education Award.
By Monica Sellecchia and Amanda DiPaolo, Group 19, Fairhill