The arts industry is a pocket of people who so dearly value the concept of openness, self-expression and a host of conceptual ideologies that, from the outside, it appears to be a haven for creativity and the acceptance of all types of people and their individual ideas.
While this is true for some, it is far from the truth for others.
The lack of representation is an issue across industries, but an issue that seems to, curiously so, silo communities within the arts. It is important to have adequate visibility of groups that are too often overlooked or tokenized.
Caldera Magazine is a new, quarterly publication trying to provide a genuine solution by focusing solely on people of color and the LGBTQIA communities within the arts. I founded Caldera out of frustration as I realized I was consistently one of the few brown people in the room, and seeing first-hand how intimidating the arts can be, simply because they are (to be frank) not always welcoming to all.
Using a print and online publication to be the catalyst for this change came about for two reasons: my love of print media, and recognizing the need for a platform that grants full access to creative expression and ideas. Each issue invites artists and creatives to explore various social issues and conversations through their respective mediums.
We hope that our work at Caldera will impact larger change within the Philadelphia arts community by way of example.
In our first issue, titled “Forty-Five,” contributors focused on life post-Trump, and the effects the election had (or didn’t have) on their lives. Our second issue comes out this July and is centered around gender and sexuality. The hope in having each issue highlight a different social narrative is to take otherwise “difficult” conversations and present them in a point of view that isn’t seen or heard completely void of heavy curation or outside input.
I encourage all of the artists, creatives, writers and poets to create the work they want to make — not what they think will be popular, or will sell more copies of the magazine, because I believe wholeheartedly that their unadulterated voice and work is an important factor in truly diversifying the arts.
From our Partners
Outside of the magazine, we have started hosting various events and workshops that are open and free to all. This summer for example, we are holding a residency of sorts at Ox Coffee in Queen Village. The first Sunday of every month is a hands-on art-making workshop and the fourth Friday of each month is an engaging event, such as our May “Coffee Talk” or our movie night on June 22.
Holding these workshops and events is our way of not only introducing ourselves to the Philadelphia community, but also a way to try and present the arts in all its various media in a non-intimidating environment.
Are we the end-all cure to centuries of white-washed museum spaces, art galleries, performance halls and art schools? No. We didn’t set out to be, either. What we want is to put our nose to the ground and do the work that needs to be done on the grassroots level, with the hope that our work at Caldera will impact larger change within the Philadelphia arts community by way of example rather than another “cultural competency” workshop.-30-
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