Free Friends & Family Day @ Fort Mifflin – hosted by ASI

Growing up in Philadelphia undoubtedly requires perseverance and grit — even more so as an immigrant. We admire and encourage the resilience it takes of all our students to live here, and especially to create art here.

Without immigrants, our country would not be what it is. They’ve helped win wars, build infrastructure, and create businesses. Other cultures bring new foods, new ideas, new languages, customs and traditions to create the melting pot that is America.

Art Sphere Inc. wants to highlight the link between immigrants and patriotism — in our own backyard! Fort Mifflin, located on Mud Island on the Delaware River, is a historic fort that served as an integral part of victory in American history, dating back to the Revolutionary War. The Fort was protected by immigrants and minorities, whom without America would not have succeeded in its journey to freedom.

Our students understand what it means to be resilient and courageous — and they demonstrate that through their ingenuity and their art. They know that differences are healthy, change is necessary, immigrants are patriotic, and all of these things combined are what truly make our country great.

On August 18, from 1-4 PM, Art Sphere Inc. is hoping to bring students to Fort Mifflin to engage in the history and make and display art about overcoming adversity. This event, while designed for the students, will be open to the public to engage visitors in a dialogue about what it means to persevere, what it means to be a Philadelphian, and how these roles play into the larger picture of being an American.

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I personally really enjoy learning about the history of our country and how other cultures tie into it. Whenever I visit a new country, I’m fascinated by all the differences (and similarities) between our cultures. With this project, I look forward to sharing that joy of learning and the knowledge I gain with my students. I think it’s important to expose kids to other cultures, not only to round out their knowledge of how other parts of the world live, but also to teach them to be open minded, and that differences are what make the world go round.

With the internet, it’s easy to learn about other cultures. But interacting directly with someone from another country can be a much richer, more valuable way to learn. Which is why I feel fortunate to have insight and assistance from Olly. Originally from Shanghai, China, he naturally has a different perspective on things. Olly has already taught the students about meditation, yoga and Buddhism — things that are now prevalent in America, but were brought here from countries like China and India.

Check out Olly’s photography and blog for a better understanding of where he comes from and his unique experiences as an artist, student, and teacher, all while being a Chinese immigrant. He is a great example of grit and perseverance, and I’m sure he will tell you that moving to a foreign country is no easy task — it takes bravery and strength of character. Shout out to immigrants for making our country great!

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