Semilla Arts Initiative: Philadelphia, PA

Dates: March 21st – March 29th  

Cost: $425 

Group Size: 2 student leaders, 8 participants 

Host Community: 

Philadelphia, as the city of brotherly love, has tons to offer as an historic landmark for the United States. AS the 6th largest city in the US, there are a wealth of cultural opportunities as well as chances to learn about justice issues in a city that has a long and complicated history. Philadelphia is known for their Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches as well as being the place the Declaration of Independence was signed. VISION will be working The Semilla Arts Initiative, which was started by artist Betsy Z. Casañas in 2007. The Semilla (or seed) Arts Initiative is catalyst for inspiring social change that empowers individuals through art in the Philadelphia community.   

Justice Issues: 

Like any major city in the United States, the justice issues that Philadelphia is facing include police brutality, economic inequality, food insecurity and environmental challenges as climate change becomes more of a reality. The Semilla Arts Initiative finds themselves amidst all of that, working through art and collaboration to connect communities and preserve culture regardless of the issues that these communities are facing. You may be working in a community garden one day, learn from the stories of community elders in the evening, and help Betsy with a mural the next day. Semilla Arts values the space that these communities are in and emphasizes preserving them and creating an environment that the community members are proud of.  

Cultural Opportunities: 

The student leaders will be working closely with Betsy to engage in the culture of Philadelphia, from visiting the well-known sites of the United States to hearing about the culture of diverse communities in Philadelphia. Cultural opportunities are rooted in speaking with members of the community and understand how our own lives are interconnected with their own. 

Food, Lodging, Travel: 

The group will travel by 12-passenger van from St. Paul to Philadelphia, PA and stay in Betsy’s art studio, home of the Semilla Arts Initiative. The long drive will result in the team staying at a church or community center along the way, organized by the two student leaders. Food will be provided by the site and the VISION program.