We Are Here Episode 8: Can young people embrace history?
They certainly can, whether it’s through an innovative, low-tech museum or via oral histories of recent generations. In our latest episode, we talk about how institutions in Gettysburg and Philadelphia are bringing young people into the process of preserving the past.
ARTICLE: Ordinary people, extraordinary stories
Two programs in different parts of the state are using the voices of everyday citizens to build connections and explore deeper truths about their communities.
We Are Here Episode 7: If you knew York
The historic south central Pennsylvania city of York, set amid the rolling hills and small towns of the county of the same name, has a thriving arts community. From downtown galleries to a lively music scene to myriad performance opportunities, this is a place where creative people thrive. In this episode, we speak Gregory DeCandia, artistic director of DreamWrights Center for Community Arts, where he is collecting the stories of 100 locals and transforming those interviews into a play. It’s just one example of how artistic energy can help a place tell its own story, and boost the local community.
ARTICLE: In Philly, training the next generation of theater critics
There is a void opening in the arts media landscape — fewer publications, fewer critics — which means less attention for the city’s world-class performing arts scene. To tackle this issue, a new program from Theatre Philadelphia is offering a series of workshops that prepares participants to play this essential role in the creative ecosystem.
We Are Here Episode 6: The Lenape come home to Pennsylvania
For thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers, the Lenape thrived in the Delaware Valley. Centuries of displacement followed, and now a repatriation project aims to heal old wounds. In this installment, we speak with Jeremy Johnson, Cultural Education Director of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, and Doug Miller, site administrator of Pennsbury Manor historic site in Bucks County, about giving the tribe’s ancestral remains and artifacts a final resting place.
ARTICLE: In Germantown, history is happening
This Philly neighborhood has been the site of everything from a Revolutionary War battle to racial justice protests. We look at how local historic sites work to be good neighbors.
We Are Here Episode 5: Everyone has a story to tell
There are many ways to build community. In the Adams County they used live performance and storytelling in a program called “The People Project”. This year’s theme, explored during an event this past October, was “My Place at the Table.” Essays, music, and visual art pieces explored the connections between food, cultural traditions and family dynamics, while also tackling bigger ideas: Who gets a place at the table? How do you find your voice?
ARTICLE: Q&A: Pennsylvania’s head librarian reads the room
We’re continuing the conversation about Pennsylvania’s libraries. Sue Banks knows libraries, and she knows what they need to do as the world changes and communities evolve. She shares her thoughts as part of our We Are Here story series.
We Are Here Episode 4: For immigrants to Pennsylvania, culture is connection
Philadelphia has long been a city of immigrants — over the last four centuries, families have arrived here from England, Ireland, Italy, Central America, Mexico, Vietnam, Cambodia, West Africa. From all over the world. They have left their mark on this place through enduring cultural institutions, murals, architectural styles, regional slang, and of course water ice and weekend barbacoa. Lucky for us, people are still coming here — and there are organizations ready to welcome them. In this episode, we spoke with two such groups, both committed to the idea that staying connected to one’s culture is an important way to feel at home in a new country.
We Are Here Episode 3: Your local library is at your service
As the world changes, so do libraries. Whether it’s organizing board game nights, loaning out wi-fi hot spots, or encouraging conversation — no need to whisper — Pennsylvania’s libraries, and the people who work there, are ready for what’s coming next. To discuss the continuous evolution of these essential community spaces, we spoke with John Pappas, a reference librarian at Ludington Library in Lower Merion, and Linda Capozello, Director of Advancement and Communications at Reading Public Library.
We Are Here Episode 2: Arts on the Farm
In this episode, we’re headed back to nature. The Farm Arts Collective is based in Damascus, Pennsylvania, a town on the banks of the Delaware River in the northeastern corner of the state. Part organic farm, part immersive theater venue and education hub, this bucolic property operates at the intersection of so many essential challenges. How do we grow food in a way that preserves the environment? How do we take action on climate change? Can art and engagement transform a society? And can a perfect heirloom tomato win hearts and change minds?
ARTICLE: Everybody Eats: In PA, food is a gateway to the humanities
From an urban ag/arts mashup, to a video series spotlighting traditional dishes, to a bucolic theater venue on the Delaware, Pennsylvanians are cooking up connection.
We Are Here Episode 1: Murals and moxie in Millvale
In our first episode, we’re heading to Millvale, a town of about 4,000 people right over the 40th Street Bridge from Pittsburgh. The riverside hamlet is home to an incredible series of church murals by Maxo Vanka. The Croatian-American artist explored themes of inequality, war, and justice in his intense, colorful work. Now a dedicated group of art-lovers, activists, educators, scientists, lighting designers, and parishioners have committed themselves to the preservation, promotion, and exploration of these remarkable works. It’s all part of an exciting new energy bubbling up in this historic town.
Introducing We Are Here
Created in partnership with PA Humanities, this podcast is all about Pennsylvanians making their mark. To get you excited about the conversations to come, we’re chatting with Dawn Frisby Byers, the organization’s senior director of content and engagement. In this short intro episode, she helps us define “humanities” and illuminates how their work helps communities thrive.
Funding for “We Are Here” comes from PA Humanities and its federal partner, the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.