Linda Fernandez – 2D Visual Arts – Group 2, Round 2 Awardee
Cobbs Creek Art club is a monthly intergenerational workshop for families and people of all ages.
The idea for the Cobbs Creek Art club and artisan market came from conversations with Abdul, owner of Soul Glow Healthy Lifestyle. He is currently the only vendor on 63rd and Spruce selling healthy food options to passersby and a staple in the community. Following our conversations I envisioned what it could be like if we had more art and opportunities for creative expression as a form of health and wellness in our community. Art is a powerful way to learn, express ideas and connect with other people. While Philadelphia has a great array of visual arts programs and events, there are very few that happen in Cobbs Creek and developing the Cobbs Creek art club will mean a deepened relationship with natural spaces and with each other.
My creative practice is all about connection; I love connecting with neighbors and meeting new people in my community. Over the past two years I have led an environmental justice program for teens in Cobbs Creek in partnership with Summer Search Philadelphia. Most of the teens live in the area and attend local schools such as Boys Latin, Sayre and Paul Robeson High. I have also been working in collaboration with a group of dedicated volunteers and Cobbs Creek Ambassadors who help lead weekly clean ups along 63rd street. Last year I helped transform an old tool box that was salvaged from the creek into a painted planter box with a phrase that reads “Keep Cobbs Creek Beautiful”. Through this group I was connected with a neighbor on 63rd street who asked for my help creating a sculptural tree for a Covid memorial which was placed at the Jordan Educational Medical Center at UPenn.
Through my community engagement work in Cobbs Creek I’ve connected with several organizations such as Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center, Blanche Nixon Library, Oak Street Health and Sayre Rec which all offer free community programming.
My plan is to continue to build on these connections and collaborate with local artists to bring more free arts resources into the Cobbs Creek community and use art as a way to bring people together.
The monthly workshops create an empowering space for community members to spend time exploring the natural environment and expressing themselves through art.