If you rode Septa in Philadelphia in early 2019, chances are you laid eyes on unique works from dozens of artists, all ranging in subject matter and technique.
Or, maybe, in 2018 you used a trash receptacle in the city with special designs on them. Both Track Takeover and Trashcan Takeover were the “brainchild” of Brendan Lowry (@Peopledelphia) via his creative consultancy, Rory Creative, with funding and support from City Fitness.
Now the creative team is once again using their ideas and utilizing more work from designers to release “Draw to Action,” a coloring book featuring original designs from 30 Philadelphia-based artists to raise funds for our city’s most underserved communities.
“Draw To Action’ was ideated pretty early on in shelter-in-place,” says Debora Charmelus, a cultural producer, content strategist, and community builder and a representative with ‘Draw to Action’. “It was born from the idea of supporting artists who may have lost work due to the COVID crisis while providing a much-needed distraction for the thousands of Philadelphians who were now at home. After the untimely passing of Geroge Floyd, the book took on an additional meaning. We thought about the work that needed to be done and we knew we wanted to use the proceeds to support social justice and grassroots organizations that were making a major impact in the city. We hope the coloring book provides a sense of levity to those who purchase the book while bringing attention to the incredible people who are truly making the city a better place.”
“Draw to Action” takes precedence from its name, and will provide financial help to areas that are in need of assistance around Philly. The impact this book of originative designs will have on those organizations is dynamic, with every cent made benefitting 15 different causes.
“The organizations came to us in different ways— some of them we knew of prior to the creation of the book and some we discovered online when thinking about the groups we wanted to support,” adds Charmelus. “We wanted to make sure that we not only had a diverse list of nonprofits but change-makers as well, people who were just doing great work. We spent some time curating the list of partners to ensure that it represented and aided as many groups as possible with a focus on communities that we believed to be the most marginalized.”
Beneficiary organizations include: Amistad Law Project, Everybody Eats Philly, The Evoluer House, GALAEI, Juntos, Micah’s Mixx, NAMI Philly, Phreedom Jawn, Philly Bail Fund, Philly for Real Justice, Philly Unknown, Project LETS, RHD Morris Home, Spirits Up!, and The Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project. The areas that these different groups provide help for range from mental health to social justice reform to transgender rights and beyond.
The works of art are not only there for visual stimulation and financial assistance either, they also offer a format for a citywide conversation. Each artist was able to craft a message through their work, while also providing an outlet to express their own talents.
“It’s hard to choose between all of the art, but we love the collaborative piece by Andrew Herzog, who is known for his ‘Blue Sky or Sky Blue’ piece— an exhibition that took place on Race Street Pier. This page encourages the drawer to go outside, which can be needed during a time when our entire lives exist within our homes,” adds Charmelus. “More than anything we’re grateful to be given an opportunity to shine the light on a group of well-deserving artists, activists, and organizations. We want to make it clear that there’s so much work to be done in the fight for equality, but we have some awesome people in the city who are making that contribution.”
Other contributing artists involved in the project include Dina Baez, JoLeaha Larke, Marisa Velázquez-Rivas, Nick Canonica, Sean Martorana, Shebani Rao, Tara Jacoby and more.
Now, where can Philadelphians purchase the book?
“The best way is to purchase online through This Corner. We are encouraging folks to choose the pick up in-store option to alleviate the load on USPS, but also for the added benefit of checking out their adorable Rittenhouse shop,” explains Charmelus. “We couldn’t have made this a reality without the support of our sponsors: NextFab, Fireball Printing, This Corner, Snack PR, and 1-900-Ice-Cream. They made it possible for us to produce the book and allow for the proceeds to go directly to the organizations.”
“Draw To Action’s” message, effect and mission is by the people and for the people of this city. Despite a pandemic and other social events impacting Philly, there is hope and creativity there to guide us through.
“When you’re working on a project completely online— sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s actually happening. We had been working on this project for months, but it lived primarily in our inbox. When we announced the sale, we were immediately met with unwavering support which allowed us to sell half of our goal within 48 hours,” finishes Charmelus. “Despite the pandemic, we’re beyond proud to live in a city and be a part of a community that is built on a culture of giving.”
To purchase the “Draw to Action” coloring book, visit thiscorner.co