Philanthropy Friday: Leeway Foundation

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week: the Leeway Foundation, which supports women and trans* artists and cultural producers working in communities at the intersection of art, culture, and social change. 

Denise Brown, executive director of the Leeway Foundation.

Denise Brown, executive director of the Leeway Foundation. | Photo by Noelle Theard

Who are you? Denise Brown, executive director of the Leeway Foundation. Through grantmaking and other programs, Leeway promotes artistic expression that amplifies the voices of those on the margins, promotes sustainable and healthy communities, and works in the service of movements for economic and social justice. Leeway believes that art can bridge difference, center those who have been on the margins, and challenge and connect communities and individuals to live in peaceful coexistence.

When was Leeway founded? Leeway Foundation began in 1993 as an organization dedicated to supporting women artists in the Philadelphia area.  In the late 1990s, Leeway’s leadership grew its commitment to art as a means of helping achieve social change. Over the past ten years, Leeway’s donor family, its Board of Directors, staff, and Advisory Council worked to transform the Foundation in several remarkable ways. They engaged people of color in positions of influence, and committed to a process of dismantling racism in organizational relationships, practices, policies, and programs. They moved decision-making power from a single-family member structure to a board comprised of people from the community, and committed to an active framework of personal and political transformation.  They expanded Leeway’s mission to support both women and trans people who make art as a means for transforming individuals and communities.

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PA Artist Painted Monica Lewinsky Reference in Bill Clinton Portrait

Bill Clinton portrait hanging at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. | Size-altered photo from Hrag Vartanian on Flickr

Bill Clinton portrait hanging at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. | Size-altered photo from Hrag Vartanian on Flickr

Philly-area painter Nelson Shanks has said yes to the dress. News is getting out that, in a 2006 portrait of former President Bill Clinton, the painter included a reference to Monica Lewinsky’s famed Gap dress that made headlines in the ’90s for its unfortunate stain.

“If you look at the left-hand side of it, there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things,” the painter told the Daily News. “It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.”

The painting now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in D.C., from which, he claims (and the gallery denies), the Clintons have been lobbying to have it removed. More on the story here.

Two Hidden Cézanne Sketches Found at the Barnes Foundation

Photo courtesy of Barnes Foundation

Photo courtesy of Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation is known for their collection of impressionist and early modern artwork, including 69 pieces of work by Cézanne. Well, now make that 71. In the process of conserving some of Cézanne’s watercolors, the Barnes Foundation discovered two previously undocumented Cézanne sketches that were covered by brown paper and stashed within the frame. According to Barbara Buckley, the Barnes Foundation’s senior director of conservation and chief painting conservator, “we’ve had [the watercolors] out of frames before. But the backs were covered with brown paper. That’s one of the reasons they were sent [for conservation]. Brown paper is very acidic and they needed acid-free paper.” After the brown paper was taken off the work of Trees (c. 1900), the conservators at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia found a black and white sketch of a house with part of the Toile range that Cézanne frequented while sketching and painting. The conservators also discovered on the back of  Chaine de l’Etoile Mountains (c. 1885 or 1886) an unfinished sketching of trees. The piece was laid down by pencil with color added on top.

A Barnes spokeswoman states, “as part of our educational mission, we felt it was important for the public to see these.” L’Etoile, Trees, and the two discovered pieces of art will be on a special display for eight weeks in an education room.

These Custom Woodcut Maps of Philly Are Surprisingly Gorgeous

Image via Philly Love Notes

Image via Philly Love Notes

If the idea of wooden art calls to mind whittled bears from tree stumps or a Ron Swanson-crafted harp, think again. Emma Fried-Cassorla, the brains behind Philly Love Notes (and ThinkFest speaker!), is selling stunning, customizable wooden maps of Philly neighborhoods. Minimalist and completely un-kitschy, the maps are perfect late V-Day gifts, or just an excuse to treat yourself.

Click here for shopping info.

Artist Wants to Replace Bill Cosby Statues With Humiliating Nude Sculptures of the Comedian

bill cosby nude statue

Rodman Edwards, an intrepid 15-year-old sculptor from Turlock, California, is on a mission to replace two statues of Bill Cosby—one on display at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in North Hollywood and another at its satellite location at the Disney resort in Orlando, Florida.

According to  Huffington Post, “Rodman Edwards’ proposed artwork is a bronze statue called Fat Albert Cries for Dr. Huxtable. It depicts a miniature Fat Albert—a cartoon character voiced by Cosby—covering the genitals of the naked, bloated body of Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the protagonist of The Cosby Show.”

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“A Carnevale of Philadelphie”

Monica Zack, Saige Robb, Dual Design, Mia Robb and Audrey Wallace.

Art lovers braved the chilly weather Saturday night and celebrated the opening of “A Carnevale of Philadelphie” at  E-Moderne Gallerie in Old City. It was warm and cozy inside as guests celebrated artwork which sometimes reflected the theme of the night: Mardi Gras.

Wine and cheese were served, as the nearly 200 guests perused the art on the wall and chatted with E-Modern owner Edward Fong and artists Inna Race and Vasil Anastasov. Inna Race’s interest in art began as a small child and flourished into a career into adulthood. The exhibition at E-Modern reflects the influence of great artists on her work as she tried to capture their essence in her exhibition, Masterpieces Reborn project” which includes a piece I love: Chagall’s Midsummer’s Night Dream, which Inna then recreated in her own inspired art work. Vasil Anastasov specializes in Japanese-inspired artwork, and hopes his work helps his subjects transport themselves through time and to the places that he captures on his canvas. “A Carnevale of Philadelphie”  runs through March 1 at E-Moderne Gallerie at 116 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Photos from Carnevale of Philadelphie after the jump »

15 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Philadelphia

Smoking My Pipe by Samuel Joseph Brown Jr. is on display at PMA.

Smoking My Pipe by Samuel Joseph Brown Jr. is on display at PMA.

“200 Years of African American Art”
Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) kicked off 2015 by pulling from its holdings 75 pieces of artwork by African American artists. The exhibit, called “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art,” is, like its name suggests, a survey of art that spans two centuries and more than 50 artists. According to the New York Observer, some of the oldest pieces in the collection include Moses Williams silhouettes that date back to 1802, artworks by free and enslaved artists and a sculpture by David Drake. January 10th – April 5th, 10am-5pm, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. —Josh Middleton.

Underground Railroad in Philadelphia
Philadelphia was an important stop along the Underground Railroad in the 1700 and 1800s. Learn all about it at Philly’s Independence Visitor Center, where docents will share stories about the people involved and various locations in the city. February 7th and 8th, 3-3:30pm, Independence Visitor Center, 1 North Independence Mall West.

Catch a discussion about the influence of Jackie Robinson at the Constitution Center | Photo by Charles Gekler

Catch a discussion about the influence of Jackie Robinson at the Constitution Center | Photo by Charles Gekler

African American History Month at the Constitution Center
There are tons of way to celebrate Black History Month at the Constitution Center: Some highlights include “Breaking Barrier Show,” a conversation series that looks at the lives of influential African Americans, like Thurgood Marshall, Bessie Coleman, Jackie Robinson, and more. The event aims to highlight their struggles to break barriers so that future generations of African American people could enjoy rightful freedoms. “Decoding the Document: Emancipation Proclamation Document Workshop” allows visitors to see the printing of the Emancipation Proclamation. And there will be a Black History Self-Guided Tour to showcase museum keepsakes like President Obama’s inauguration artifacts and the original copy of the Dred Scott decision. See the full list of NCC events hereVarious dates and times throughout February, National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street. 

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PMA Acquires New Works From Cézanne, Manet, Duchamp and More

Berthe-Marie-Pauline Morisot's Young Girl With a Basket is among the new works recently acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Berthe-Marie-Pauline Morisot’s Young Girl With a Basket is among the new works recently acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Big news from the Philadelphia Museum of Art today:

The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced today several important gifts to its collection. As a bequest from longtime supporter Helen Tyson Madeira are five paintings by French artists, including Mont Sainte-Victoire (1902–6) by Paul Cézanne; Basket of Fruit (1864) by Édouard Manet; Railroad to Dieppe (1886) and Avenue de l’Opéra: Morning Sunshine (1898), both by Camille Pissarro; and Young Girl with Basket (1892) by Berthe Morisot. In addition, two rare early portraits by Marcel Duchamp have been received from Yolande Candel, the daughter of Duchamp’s lifelong friend, Gustave Candel. They depict her grandparents and were painted in Paris in 1911–12.

These works, all of which are currently on view in the galleries, add greater depth to areas of the collection that are already very strong. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has extensive holdings of the works of Cézanne and houses the world’s largest collection of works by Duchamp.

Mural Arts Announces Artists for “Open Source” Project

Three artists taking part in Mural Arts "Open Source" project: Swoon, Shepard Fairey and the Dufala Brothers.

Three artists taking part in Mural Arts “Open Source” project: Swoon, Shepard Fairey and the Dufala Brothers.

Today the Mural Arts Program announced the artists who will be participating in the new “Open Source” project, which it says is Philadelphia’s biggest site-specific art exhibition ever. The project includes such names as JR, Shepard Fairey, Sterling Ruby, SWOON, Michelle Angela Ortiz, and is scheduled for 2015.

“’Open Source’ will position Mural Arts as an organization on the leading edge of cultural conversation, harnessing our strengths as well as the strengths of the participating artists,” Mural Arts Program executive director Jane Golden said in a release. “Mural Arts has already put our city on the map as a world-renowned hub for public art and this project takes that to the next level. The project will advance Philadelphia’s reputation for cultural innovation and further situate it as a global city.”

The 12 international artists contributing are SWOON, The Dufala Brothers (of Funeral for a Home fame), the team of Ernel Martinez & Keir Johnston, Sam Durant, Shepard Fairey (who did a mural/liquor ad, Lotus Diamond, in Fishtown last year), JR, MOMO, Jonathan Monk, Odili Donald Odita, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Sterling Ruby, Shinique Smith, Jennie Shanker and Heeseop Yoon. The Dufala Brothers are natives of the Philadelphia area. Martinez and Johnston, Odita and Shanker are Philadelphia-based.

MOMO installation.

MOMO installation. For “Open Source,” the New York-based artist will work on a project about empowering youth through the arts.

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Philadelphia Museum of Art to Be Only U.S. Stop for Major Impressionist Exhibit

Dance at Bougival, 1883 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Dance at Bougival, 1883, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Big news in the Philly art scene this week: The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) just announced that it will be the only U.S. city to house an upcoming international exhibition that includes works from Impressionist greats, like Manet, Monet, Degas and Renoir, among others.

“Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting” highlights the impact of Parisian art dealer Durand-Ruel, who championed the works of the aforementioned Impressionist painters, giving rise to the medium we know and love today. A description from the Art Museum:

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