FAIRHILL - It is Hispanic Heritage Month and one organization, Taller Puertorriqueño, is fostering and preserving the culture through art.
Taller Puertorriqueño has been serving the North Philadelphia and Fairhill section for decades. They recently built a brand new arts and community center that offers art classes, after school programs and exclusive art by many Puerto Rican artists.
"We have a gallery, we have a gift shop that features writings by Puerto Rican and Latino artists and very involved after school children," remarked Executive Director Dr. Carmen Febo San Miguel.
Their gift shop is not just a corner of knickknacks. It’s the words and works of local and global Latinx people showcasing their art and literature to anyone willing to learn.
"It’s a great place to support the community through buying artwork and jewelry by local artists," gift shop manager Lisa Moser commented.
Erikka Gosling works in marketing for Taller. She’s of Dominican descent. She talked about her wish to be closer to her heritage as part of what drew her to Taller.
"I feel like it’s part of my own journey to reconnect to my heritage. I think a lot of people who don’t speak Spanish feel like they’re not "true Latinos" or feel a lost connection. So, I feel like for me, personally, I feel like immersing myself in the culture and all that the neighborhood has to offer and that’s a big part of why I want to be here," Goslin explained.
Many Puerto Ricans are displaced by natural disasters or they simply choose to move here, Miguel mentioned and a center like Taller allows them to flourish.
"This is where we live, this is where we create, where we produce our art and where we celebrate who we are," Miguel said.
"So, it’s home?" asked FOX 29’s Marcus Espinoza.
"It’s home! It’s creating home and establishing roots," replied Miguel.
Marilyn Rodriguez is an artist and Education Director at Taller and, she believes, it’s the magic of art that allows a person to understand a culture not of their own.
"Art is that thread that glues us all together. Even though everyone thinks they are not an artist, they are. I always say, if you can do a dot and a line, you’re an artist. The reason I say that is because we all create with our hands," Rodriguez stated.