I love artists because they are capable of telling truths with a few words, a simple melody or the stroke of the paintbrush. And they do it relentlessly, often with their own resources, while balancing a million other projects to afford their dedication to the art that they love. I know nothing braver than that pursuit. I love DVAA, because we provide a community that inspires, connects and presents its hard-working artist members to the public. It is a gift to be able to spend my time building our network of makers, creatives, art-lovers and truth seekers. In my three years at DVAA I have been fortunate to get to know so many stories of perseverance, passion and resourcefulness. One story that has personally affected me is from dear friend and artist member, Edna Santiago:


“I raised my son by myself, and then my pride and joy died in a car accident. As a Physical Therapist I was conditioned to teach and encourage, but no one truly understood my own needs, especially in regards to my loss. That’s when the world of Plastic Arts saved me - tragedy withers with expression and creativity. I became an autodidactic artist, since I was too overwhelmed to learn in classrooms. As I learned my craft on my own, I eventually started venturing into the Philadelphia art world - it was entrancing and challenging at the same time. I slowly met lovely people, - very giving - and also people that lived on their own planet - difficult to understand. I was told many times that showing in a gallery was only "for real artists” and that I was “not a real printmaker”. As I was leaving Fleshier Art memorial one evening, I saw lights in this building across the street - there was an art opening, which was beautiful, but more impressively, the people were fabulous and approachable. This was my first introduction to Da Vinci Art Alliance. Unfortunately, too soon after I got to know Da Vinci, life happened again. My plan for healing and making art in the Philadelphia area was abruptly taken away when we had to move back to Puerto Rico. Seven years went by and then I was blown over again, back to Philly, this time by Hurricane Maria. Upon my return to Philadelphia, I realized that some friends had moved away and that many of the connections I hoped to reignite were lost. But an amazing thing had happened on Catharine Street. While I was gone, my favorite little gallery had grown up. And she is tall and beautiful, radiant to the point where she was now clearly leading the way with the community along her side. With new management, a new floor plan, new programs, and additional exhibitions spaces, I am proud to now be back in Philly and an active part of the DVAA community. An organization that supports me and pushes me to confidently say: I am a printmaker. In 2018, I held my first ever solo show at Da Vinci Art Alliance - an experience that has shaped me as an artist, human and community member. Next year, I will work with DVAA to present an exhibition of Puerto Rican artists who have all been affected by the hurricanes. DVAA has become my space of refuge - after searching for many years: I am an artist, a printmaker, and I am home. “

- Edna Santiago, member of the DVAA Development Committee and Exhibitions Committee

Edna’s story represents just one of over 200 unique artist centered journeys within our membership. At the heart of Edna’s story is a search for her own people — I’m sure as artists and art lovers we can all relate to how important it is to have our own chosen artistic family. As DVAA continues to develop, we hope to ensure that our space is accessible to a wide array of stories, just like Edna’s. This year we are focusing our largest annual fundraising campaign on two areas that we hope will provide more access to our community and richer, deeper and more fulfilling engagement. By December 31, 2018 we hope to raise a total of $7,025 to launch our Membership Enrichment Program and grow our Open Dialogue Series.

Brand New Membership Enrichment Program


Our Membership Enrichment Program will offer subsidized memberships to under-resourced artists, providing them with access to our brilliant community of makers, creatives and art-lovers ($65 per membership). It will also subsidize show entry fees to these under-resourced artist members, enabling them to submit to juried and membership shows at low or no cost. Access for one artist per year costs $120, including 6 show entry fees at $20 a piece.

Need to Raise: $4,625

Enhanced Program to Build Community:

If we meet our fundraising goal, in 2019 we can provide our popular Open Dialogue program, led by artist and DVAA Exhibitions Manager Bryant Girsch, every single month. This program provides a platform for our members to receive direct feedback from their peers on their artistic practice in a constructive, productive and informal environment.

Need to Raise: $2,400

Total Amount to Raise: $7,025

I hope that you’ll consider joining us on these ventures to revitalize and grow the capacity in which Da Vinci Art Alliance serves our artists and patrons. Your contribution of any size will directly support Philadelphia artists by creating space for our artists to learn from one-another and ensuring that our doors are open and truly accessible to all.


Jarrod Markman

Executive Director

Yes! I’d like to build community for Philadelphia artists:

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All gifts support DVAA's exhibitions and programs most of which are free and open to the public. DVAA is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 23-5138722