20th Annual National Arts Program City Employee Art Contest & Exhibition

This post is written by Carrie Leibrand, Communications Specialist for the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.

 

The City of Philadelphia is celebrating the 20th Annual National Arts Program Art Contest and Exhibition for City employees and their families at City Hall. This exhibit—on display from December 9, 2019 to January 24, 2020—is presented by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy’s (OACCE) Art in City Hall program, in partnership with the National Arts Program (NAP) Foundation.

In the first 19 years of this exhibit, an estimated 3,750 works of art have been exhibited by nearly 2,400 City government employees and family members—representing 45 City offices, departments, and agencies.

In celebration of the artistic achievement within the City’s workforce, and to encourage other employees to submit artwork by Friday, November 15, OACCE interviewed 12 City employees who have previously participated in the exhibit. Read on to get to know the people behind the artwork!

 

Khara García
Graphic Designer
and Art Director
Office of the Council President
Philadelphia City Council

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
As someone who already has a creative position, it’s fun and a great opportunity to show a different skill I have with those I work with.

Why is creating art important to you?
Creating art is important because I appreciate the hard work and detail that goes into everything around me.

Everyone is an artist because…   
Because art lives within us.

 

Iris Brunson
Administrative Assistant

Special Financial Services Fiscal Unit
Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility S
ervices

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
It’s important to highlight the creative community within the tapestry of governmental departments and show that beyond the service provided in your 9-to-5, you desire to add or emphasize the beauty YOU recognize in the world through the artwork you craft.

Why is creating art important to you?
Because it’s about seeing something worth noting or talking about; art is about dialogue and conversation. What I create is a statement: I saw it and now I’m presenting my interpretation to you…what do you see?  Let’s talk.

Everyone is an artist because…   
There are no mistakes, do something, create something.

 

Christina Moresi, M.Ed.
Environmental Education Planner
Wissahickon Environmental Center – Tree House
Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
Painting and photography allow me to capture the beauty and wonder of nature that I see every day. By showcasing my work, I have the privilege of sharing my captured moments in nature with a diverse audience.

Why is creating art important to you?
Creating is important to me because it excites and inspires me to learn, observe details, and see the beauty in all things. When I build and create, I gain a sense of accomplishment that I was able to make what I envisioned, despite the challenges presented to me. Creating also helps to keep me at peace, in a world of unrest.

Everyone is an artist because…   
Everyone can create their own beauty. There are no boundaries on a person’s expression through art. Our art is all our own.

 

Rachel Jackson
Public Relations Specialist 2

Image and Exhibitions / Guest Experience Unit
Philadelphia International Airport

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
This city is recognized as a global hub for arts and culture. I think City employee participation in such programs supports that notion by showcasing our hidden talents. It embraces the idea of how dynamic we are as people and how some of our talent may be masked by our everyday jobs. The opportunity to show our work gives us a new space to be seen.

Why is creating art important to you?
Creating gives me ownership and influence.

Everyone is an artist because… 
They conceive a thought.

 

Edward Fidler
Police Officer

Crime Scene Unit Technician
Philadelphia Police Department

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork? Why is creating art important to you?
For me, most of the photography I do can be very depressing and disturbing. Nice to focus on art for a change.

Everyone is an artist because…   
There is no definition of an artist.

 

Michelle Flamer
Senior Attorney

City of Philadelphia Law Department

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
It is a way of demonstrating our talents and diversity of creativity. When you see a police officer on the street, you see the uniform not the artistic talent.  Same for me—most of my clients had no idea that I enjoy making art quilts for exhibition.

Why is creating art important to you?
Outside of voting (PLEASE VOTE!), it is the most productive means of social and political expression I can engage in.

Everyone is an artist because…   
We are all part of the Great Creation and all naturally imbued with creativity if we simply acknowledge that.

 

Gwen Harper
Clerk III
Civil Process

Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
The exhibit allows people interested in art to view paintings. Art is a form of communication so people are seeing statements which they can think about or feel something about.

Why is creating art important to you?
It is something I enjoy and have had chances to meet artists and people interested in art. It has offered new perspectives on life and art.

Everyone is an artist because… 
Anyone can be an artist, but most people are not interested. Sports seem to be more inviting as do movies and shows.

 

Elissa Martel
Special Projects Coordinator
Get Healthy Philly

Philadelphia Department of Public Health

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
I love that the City provides the opportunity for employees to showcase their art and express a different side of themselves outside of their 9-to-5 persona. I don’t often get to share my creativity or feel fully “seen” as an artist as part of my role at work, and I enjoy having this outlet and encouragement from the City to share this part of myself. I love seeing the variety of art that people make each year, the media used, topics addressed, and styles, and seeing the array of departments across the City that are represented. There are artists everywhere, of all walks of life, and this show provides an accessible forum to share that with the broader community.

Why is creating art important to you?
Creating art has always been a huge part of my life. I’ve been making art since I was a little kid, and I love it! There have been stages in my life where I’m not creating as much, and those have always felt like lonely chapters, like something key was missing. When I’m working on a piece of art, I get into a flow and lose track of time. I love the sounds, smells, textures of being in a studio environment. I love making art by myself and with other people. There are endless ways to express yourself through art, and I get a lot of inspiration from classic and contemporary artists, as well as from the world around me. Even Instagram has provided an important forum for creative expression and for up-and-coming artists to share their work with a bigger platform.

Everyone is an artist because…   
Anyone can make art! There are no rules and limits to what you can create. Too many people have been told they’re “not good” at making art or they don’t have “natural talent,” and I think that discourages people from seeing their potential and having fun with art. I really believe that art is for everyone.

 

Sam Ritterman
Assistant District Attorney

Law Division, Federal Litigation Unit
Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
I typically paint portraits of other City employees in my office and submit those to the exhibit.  I think it is a nice way to celebrate my co-workers while also helping to decorate City Hall.

Why is creating art important to you?
I enjoy creating art in as many forms as possible: music, photography, painting, acting, writing, and cooking. I feel that creating art is always time well-spent, keeps the mind working constructively, and allows me to share with others.

Fill in the blank. Everyone is an artist because… 
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” (Shakespeare, As You Like it).

 

Palak Raval-Nelson, PhD, MPH
Environmental Health Services Program Director
Environmental Health Services Division

Philadelphia Department of Public Health

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
The art show is a way for City employees to share their creative gifts with everyone. For me, the art show and Tu inspired me to paint again. I had given up my passion for oil painting due to some personal life issues, and meeting Tu and learning about the art show gave me my passion back. I get inspired to paint and I paint and by sharing my work, I have taken some of the joy back that I used to have when I would paint.

Why is creating art important to you?
Creating art and painting is a spiritual process for me. Painting helps me to breath and relax while I create my art. I also have been able to share my creativity and cultivate in my children who have also submitted their own artwork.

Everyone is an artist because…   
We all have hidden creative talents that, when cultivated, bring joy to us and others!

 

Laura Eyring
Laboratory Program Scientist
Quality Assurance Unit, Bureau of Laboratory Services
Philadelphia Water Department

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
Sharing art is a big part of being an artist. Art is made alone in my studio, so when work is finished, it’s wonderful to get feedback.

Why is creating art important to you?
Art has always been my first love. After high school, I spent four years at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. I knew it would not lead me to a good job, but all I wanted was to paint and draw. When I turned 30, I went back to school to get my chemistry degree (replacing waitressing with a more stable career). But I have continued to draw every day. I am currently represented by the Cerulean Arts gallery in Philadelphia.

Everyone is an artist because…   
Okay, you’re not going to like this, but I couldn’t disagree more! Everyone is not an artist, just like everyone is not a musician, or an athlete, or a doctor or a teacher. Art is a creative endeavor, but it is also a skill. I spent thousands of hours in front of my easel. Just like a musician spends thousands of hours practicing. You don’t just hand someone a violin and tell them to express themselves. I think a lot of people assume that artists are just born with talent, inspiration strikes, and art happens. But I don’t think most artists work that way. It takes dedication and a tenacious spirit. I paint whether I’m inspired or not. Sometimes it comes easily and things just flow, and sometimes it is a struggle. But I still paint or draw every day. It’s a part of who I am. Growing up, my father was in the Philadelphia Orchestra. He practiced hours every day, in a focused, methodical way. He was an amazing role model. I think the desire to create is part of who I am.

 

Rachael McLaughlin
Library Assistant 1
Free Library of Philadelphia

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
Creative outlets are always important, and I attended art school so I feel this is a place for showcasing another deep passion of mine.

Why is creating art important to you?
I have always been an artist and find it essential for my mental health to create artwork.

Everyone is an artist because…   
We all have emotions to express.

 

Dorian Fedkiw
Clinical Care Manager
Clinical Department
Division of Community Behavioral Health

As a City employee, why is it important to showcase your artwork?
Creating artwork provides me with the opportunity for personal expression and the chance to connect and relate with others on a more personal and intimate level. It allows me to express my thoughts, visions, and dreams through lines and shapes.

Why is creating art important to you?
I am a firm believer that art is about exploration and discovery of the human psyche.  It emphasizes originality and free-thinking. It strongly encourages and embraces one’s imagination and fully engages the senses.

Everyone is an artist because…   
Everyone has an innate creative process.

 

to view the aricle in its original location please visit:

https://www.phila.gov/2019-11-06-20th-annual-national-arts-program-city-...