The winners of the Fleisher Art Memorial’s prestigious Wind Challenge II can finally show their works

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — One of the city’s most prestigious art exhibits is now on display at the Fleisher Art Memorial in Bella Vista and for the artists chosen to show their work, they have been patiently waiting for two years. Karen Rogers has the story in this week’s 6abc Loves the Arts.

The exhibition is called Wind Challenge 2 and it is part of an annual series, started in 1978.

“It was thanks to Jerry and Dina Wind. They wanted to support the arts,” says Gerard Silva, director of exhibitions and community outreach at Fleisher Art Memorial.

Fleisher Art Memorial makes an open call to regional artists and selects three for each exhibition.

“This time around, I’m working with three amazing female artists,” says Silva.

Natalie Kuenzi is one of them.

“The work we are looking at here is called sky cover“, says artist Natalie Kuenzi.

She recycles plastic bags, crocheting them into what looks like a large-scale painting.

“I see the sky as this wonderful metaphor of dream and imagination,” says Kuenzi.

Kuenzi learned to crochet from her mother and grandmother and hopes her work will inspire others.

“You know, use the plastic they have under their sinks or whatever,” Kuenzi says.

The exhibit also includes the work of Christina P. Day who works with vintage linoleum tiles.

“And then she does these beautiful flower arrangements,” Silva says.

The third artist is Evgenia Kim.

“She lived in the Korean diaspora and all of her images deal with her upbringing,” Silva explains.

Fleisher was opened by Samuel Fleisher in 1898 as one of the first community art centers in the country.

“His parents left Germany to start the Fleisher Yarn Company,” says Silva.

Fleisher’s dream was to make art accessible to everyone.

“It started as an art school for children of immigrants,” Silva explains.

A legacy that lives on today.

“If you don’t have any money, we’ll help you with the tuition,” says Silva.

The annual Wind exhibition was suspended due to the pandemic, so the three winning artists waited two years to show their work!

“Like really two years!” Silva said.

The works are on display until March 12, followed by an exhibition of three different Wind Challenge winners and the Fleisher is issuing an open call for exhibitors for next year’s competition.

“It’s such a special place, being able to show your work here is so exciting,” says Kuenzi.
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Fleisher Art Memorial | Instagram | Facebook
719 Catharine Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147

Wind Challenge II on display until March 12, 2022 at Fleisher Dene M. Louchheim Gallery
Call for applications for the next Wind Challenge scheduled for May 1

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