Exploring Fairhill: Taller Puertorriqueño

Rafael Damast, the visual arts program manager at Taller Puertorriqueño, was passionate and more than willing to share Taller’s story this morning at their gallery in Fairhill.

Working in the Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab, my journalism capstone class, has definitely been an experience so far. I was assigned to cover the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Fairhill, a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, and write stories and produce packages for our website, PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods.com. It’s been challenging finding the time to devote to Fairhill. I intern at the Union, I give tour twice a week, and I have other classes to complete. But I’ve found the work rewarding, as I have the satisfaction of knowing that I am one of the sole media reporting on all the good coming out of this community.

While I was dreading working off-campus in a new part of the city, I’ve found the work exciting and the people welcoming the coverage in an underreported section of the city. When choosing an organization to profile for my latest package, I found Taller Puertorriqueño, a Latino cultural organization in Fairhill. This morning, my sister, Meghan, and I drove out there to meet with Rafael Damast, the visual arts program manager at Taller.

Rafael was so passionate about the art gallery and all their outreach to the community was so interesting. Originally from New York, the biggest draw for him was the way Latino art in Philadelphia really connects with and reflects the community. Located on El Centro de Oro, the main cultural thoroughfare in Fairhill, Taller is a real focal point in the neighborhood.

The editing process is quite seamless with the help of Temple’s TECH Center. I’ve overtakken my favorite dual-screen Mac in the video editing lab, turned on Coldplay, and gotten down to the nitty gritty in Final Cut Pro. I’ll be here for a few hours, but it’ll be worth it when the package is finished and another great story find in Fairhill is published!

You can check out my video, article, and photos about Taller Puertorriqueño and my interview with Rafael here.


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