Throughout the winter and spring of 2018, Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary (FPS) organized workshops between 5 commissioned book artists, 11 selected Syrian and Iraqi collaborators, and up to 6 additional participants exchanging skills and stories. Each artist led a series of 3-4 internally facing bilingual workshops, sharing and teaching aspects of their artistic practice including bookbinding, paper cutting, silk screening, paper making, and photography. Through the process of making art, collaborators shared their own skills, talents, and experiences related to place, home, family, journeys, and navigating life in the US, resulting in publishing their own books. The workshops took place predominantly in Northeast Philadelphia at Prince of Peace Church, near to where many refugee families from Arab countries have resettled. The final workshop in each series was held at different venues around Philadelphia - the Parkway Branch of the Free Library, Second State Arts, and the Fleisher Art Memorial.
Although eleven collaborators were selected, workshops were often a family affair with spouses and children attending as well. Collaborators agreed to be engaged with the project throughout the two year, whereas participants signed up to join a series of workshops with an individual artist. Each workshop had an average of 16 adult participants and seven children. With workshops lasting about four hours almost every Sunday since February, food and child care were also provided. You can learn more about each artists’ workshop series and outputs by following us on social media and checking our website. The outcomes of the workshops will be used in publicly facing workshops and in exhibitions in Spring 2019.