Community Engagement Strategies: First Research, Now Action

Fleisher Art Memorial


Fleisher Art Memorial is implementing new communication strategies meant to bridge the gap between its artistic programming and the rapidly evolving South Philadelphia community in which it is located. Fleisher attracts participants who reside mainly outside its neighborhood, and its offerings largely remain invisible to the organization's surrounding communities, which include Latinos, Southeast Asians, and African-Americans. Multicultural specialist Donna Walker-Kuhne—author of *Invitation to the Party: Building Bridges to Arts, Culture, and Community*, and a noted expert on audience diversification—is working with Fleisher to develop relationships with these growing communities, in order to inform and enhance Fleisher's artistic programming. At the core of the project is a group of trained community liaisons called "FAMbassadors," who advise Fleisher on the creative needs of local residents. Fleisher uses the FAMbassadors' feedback to develop workshops rooted in culturally specific art forms and Web materials that serve as entry points for potential program participants, including an online video course catalog. This project is providing new opportunities for interaction with South Philadelphia communities, and is transforming Fleisher into a more welcoming and accessible space for its neighbors.1

  • 1. Management grants, through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, were awarded from 2009 through 2013.