With a commitment to contemporary craft and design that is broad and inclusive—allowing equally for investigations of material culture as well as for conceptual art—the Philadelphia Art Alliance (PAA) is carving out its own space in the museum landscape. Center support helped the PAA bring to town Beijing-based artists Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen for The Way of Chopsticks, and the Miss Rockaway Armada, a geographically dispersed collective that organizes flotillas, parades and performances.
The Philadelphia Art Alliance (PAA) commissioned the Miss Rockaway Armada, an internationally recognized group of approximately 25 artists and performers from all over the United States, to create a flotilla of boats made from salvaged materials, organize several parades and Vaudeville-like performances, and install a building-wide exhibition. Collectively titled Let Me Tell You About a Dream I Had, the deliberately ragtag project, curated by Melissa Caldwell, challenged conventional notions of proper museum display, decorum, and community engagement—in a very traditional setting—while addressing pressing environmental issues associated with renewable resources and the handmade. The project's "catalog" took the form of a box containing related ephemera designed by the participants.