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Event Details

Art + History + Engagement Workshop Series: Petitions for Social Justice & Change with Artist Ben Volta

Saturday, May 13, 2017 10am to 1pm
at Historic Germantown, 5501 Germantown Ave

Elephants on the Avenue artist Ben Volta returns for his second workshop and the final workshop of the Art, History and Engagement series, Petitions for Social Justice and Change, to take place at Historic Germantown. In this workshop neighbors will be introduced to the 1688 Petition against slavery. This document was written in Germantown by Mennonite and Quaker neighbors and is our nation's first written protest against slavery. In the workshop, we will draw from the powerful words found throughout the 1688 petition to create our own historic artifacts that document the times. These collaborative and individual artworks will serve as contemporary petitions for equity and justice that speak to our current climate of social change. Participants will explore the art of calligraphic text and use mixed media, stencil and collage techniques to create their works.

At the conclusion of the workshop, neighbors will come together to share their work and sign each other’s petitions. In the spirit of social justice movements, the power of sharing information and our shared histories,  completed petitions are intended for distribution to the extended communities of workshop participants. A scanner and printer, envelopes and stamps will be set up so attendees can mail prints of their artwork to select 3 recipients in the United States.  Please come with your addresses ready to go so your petitions can be mailed the day of the workshop. This workshop welcomes our Germantown neighbors, families, elected officials and communities of faith. Ben Volta’s collaborating historian is Dr. Molefi Asante.


BENJAMIN VOLTA creates intricate public murals and sculptures, working within the fields of education, restorative justice, and urban planning. He creates participatory art rooted in an exploratory and educational process. His practice stands on the belief that art can be a catalyst for change, within individuals as well as the institutional structures that surround them. Ben is a 2015 Pew Fellow.

Ben Volta collaborates with historian Molefi Asante.

DR. MOLEFI ASANTE is currently professor and Chair of the African American Studies Department at Temple University. He is an internationally acclaimed historian and author of over 74 books in Black studies, race and identity and African culture and traditions. Asante is President of the Molefi Kete Asante Institute (MKA Institute) on Germantown Avenue , founded on the basis of Asante's extensive research and the Afrocentric philosophy---the study of history and the human experience from the African perspective.

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