DaVinci Art Alliance Hosts Sustainability Festival

Officially, Earth Day is on Monday, April 22 but Philly is hosting a month-long celebration, the third annual Everyday Futures Fest, a City-wide sustainability festival coordinated by the DaVinci Alliance (DVAA), 704 Catherine St., throughout April. DVAA has partnered with over 40 organizations, including Solo Real Estate who joins this year as a sponsor. The 2024 theme of the event is “Building Capacity Toward Self-Sufficiency and Collective Resilience.”

“We coordinated with 40 other cultural partners, presenting events all over the City,” said Samantha (Sam) Connors, DVAA Director. This is our third year running the event for the whole city which will culminate in a Block Party, on Sunday, April 21st, 12-5 pm on the 700 block of Catherine Street and Palumbo Park, adjacent to Fleisher Art Memorial. 3,000 people attended last year with a total of 10,000 attending virtually and in person,” they said.

If you only go to one block party this year, this is the one you don’t want to miss! There will be day-long live music, from soul and jazz to the Golden Sunrise Mummers, a South Philly fancy dress band, along with installations, dance, storytelling, and sustainable vendors. This will also be an opportunity to become familiar with DVAA, founded in 1931 by sixteen Italian immigrant artists and art collectors at a time when immigrants were barred from the City’s major art institutions. DVAA was a creative refuge where members could show their work, hold meetings, engage in social activities, and offer intellectual and cultural exchanges and events. Today, it is an intergenerational community space and art gallery with the core mission of Building Community Through Art.

Interactive Art Activity during Everday Futures Fest in 2023. Image courtesy of DaVinci Art Alliance.

There is likely no other block that has launched the careers of as many more young artists. While DVAA was founded by Italian immigrants, Fleisher Art Memorial was founded by German Jewish immigrant, Samuel Fleisher, who had a yarn factory in southwest Philly and in 1898 wanted to provide a creative space for the children of his immigrant workers. Beginning as the Graphic Sketch Club on Bainbridge Street, it moved to 740 Catherine in 1906 and acquired the adjacent Romanesque church. If you are not familiar with DVAA or Fleisher Art Memorial, the April 21st block party is a wonderful opportunity to explore their current exhibitions and pick up a brochure to see their many offerings for children and adults.

Dance performance during Everday Futures Fest in 2023. Image courtesy of DaVinci Art Alliance.

DVAA’s Sustainability Block Party will feature interactive workshops for all ages and foods reflecting the ethnic mix of the historic Bella Vista neighborhood, including Indonesian and Mexican specialties. Philly Dye Club, artists working with natural dyes, will present a workshop on plant dyes, and Next Fab, Philly’s collaborative makers space in South Philly and Fishtown, will present ideas for a sustainable future. These are just a few of the many presenters and activities offered by the over 50 organizations involved.

“The City-wide, month-long Future Fest showcases the rich cultural diversity of our city by providing a free platform to experience art, performances, workshops, film, and more,” said Sam. “While Philly continues to face ongoing issues related to climate change, waste stream management, violence, and gentrification, people in our city are finding innovative solutions for these challenges. Futures Fest was created by community members as an opportunity to learn from each other and take steps towards uniting ourselves across neighborhoods to tackle issues together.” 

Each year, the Fest focuses on a different aspect of sustainability, emphasizing the crucial intersections between environmental justice, cultural identities, and urban sustainability. “At its heart, Everyday Futures Fest is a collaborative initiative between creative people across the city, facilitated by the Da Vinci Art Alliance. Everyday Futures Fest is a space for world-building and envisioning together how to create a better future through science and art,” said Sam.

“DVAA is committed to ensuring equitable opportunities for creative people, specifically focusing on providing a platform for individuals traditionally marginalized in institutions, such as immigrants, the queer community, disabled people, elderly and young community members, individuals with low income, and all the intersections in-between,” said Sam. “We do this through free public events and workshops, a fellowship and residency program, art exhibitions, STEAM workshops with youth, Memory Care art workshops, and an annual sustainability-centered arts and science festival, the Everyday Futures Fest.” 

Come at noon if you are bringing young children, since the block party will attract larger crowds as the day continues. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome. For more information, visit Everyday Futures Fest,

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