The Slought Foundation is a small and dynamic organization with great ambitions. Founded in 2002 to present art projects and lectures from a storefront in University City, it has since spearheaded truly international initiatives, such as the Perpetual Peace Project, which included workshops with children in Pakistan and China. With Center support, Slought built a semi-permanent recording booth inspired by a John Cage lecture, and piloted a community education project for local teens in collaboration with architect Teddy Cruz and the People's Emergency Center of Philadelphia.
This grant seeded the development of Mixplace Studio, a research and mentoring initiative that partners youth from West Philadelphia neighborhoods with architecture and design students from the University of Pennsylvania. The project is the Slought Foundation's response to what it sees as an ongoing lack of dialogue between cultural institutions and the communities they serve. They partnered with two organizations: local social service agency People's Emergency Center; and Estudio Teddy Cruz, based in La Jolla, California—a collaboration-based practice that integrates community initiatives with artistic and architectural projects. After a period of assessment, the planning partners identified and invited a cohort of young scholars to participate in the beta project. The team developed a curriculum, redesigned Slought's storefront as a learning laboratory, built a website, and documented the activities, all with the young scholars' input. "The educational aspect of the project is not supplementary; it is the very content of our project," notes Slought.