VILLAGE ARTS AND HUMANITIES wrote -First-In: A Call To Guardianship
Someone has to be first-in; 30 years ago, it was Lily Yeh who saw vibrant color in a sea of dust and rubble.
But a village isn't built by a single person. It took the community to grow The Village.
It took the children: first-in to say, "What can I do?"
It took skill: neighbors and artists first-in to build, to plant, to beautify and to amplify.
And it took a leap of faith: from like-minded people seeking a more fair and just world for everyone, first-in to ask, "How can I help?"
It took the community raise the Village. And now, it takes The Village to raise the community.
Today, 30 years after the first vision, the first child, the first outpouring of courage and ingenuity, and the first celebration of collective power—we are expanding the definition of community.
We are inviting 1000 Guardians to protect our legacy and our future.
But we need you to be first-in, and show everyone just what is possible through love, imagination, and generosity.
Thank you for joining hands with us.
In love and creation,
ABOUT 1000 GUARDIANS
When you walk through the urban campus of The Village of Arts and Humanities, you pass beneath the steady gaze of guardian angels, owls, and lions. Village founders Lily Yeh and James "Big Man" Maxton in collaboration with community members young and old, created these Guardians to protect the dreams of the young people of this neighborhood.
They remind us that through art we can build a more beautiful and just future together. As The Village nurtures our neighborhood, so does our community give back to The Village with love and creativity. On our 30th anniversary, we want to widen the circle of those who call themselves Guardians of The Village.
We invite 1000 people to join us as Guardians before June 15th, by donating any amount to The Village. With the support of our 1000 Guardians, we will continue our excellent free arts education, maintain our parks and gardens, and most importantly, ensure that The Village and the families it serves can continue to guard our neighborhood for many years to come.
~ All donors will receive a Badge of Guardianship.
~ Donors in the amount of over $50 will receive a unique cloisonné pin in the shape of one of our Guardian Angel figurines, created by Lily Yeh and James Maxton with inspiration from Ethiopian magic scrolls.
~ Donors of $250 will recieve a handmade tile featuring artwork from The Village's renowned murals and mosiacs.
~ Donors of $500 or more, will recieve a signed print featuring sketches or finished artwork by artist and Village founder, Lily Yeh.
ABOUT THE VILLAGE
Thirty years ago, eight lots behind 2544 Germantown Avenue were filled with dust and rubble. Lily Yeh and the neighborhood children saw the beauty that should be there. They planted seeds of creativity that grew a tree with bark of shimmering mirrors and leaves of rainbow-colored tiles.
This “Tree of Life” grew into 15 art parks, guarded by mosaicked angels, sculpted mythical creatures, and sacred monuments to those past. Together, Lily, Big Man, JoJo Williams, and many other neighbors made the power of our neighborhood visible and built a center for arts and culture in North Philadelphia.
Today, the[Village of Arts and Humanities](http://www.villagearts.org/) is internationally known for our high-quality arts education and arts-based community development. We are locally known as a safe space for children and families to express themselves, learn, and grow together. We offer top tier, free arts education to kids 9-19; act as a defacto CDC for our neighborhood, cleaning our streets and supporting small businesses; and instigate creative, useful arts projects that use local wisdom to solve problems that affect not only our neighborhood, but cities everywhere.