Artist: Lauren Vargas
About the Artist
Lauren Vargas is a Philadelphia-based painter whose work focuses
on the stories communicated through portraiture and urban landscapes.
Working as both a painter and educator, Lauren lives in the North Philadelphia
community of Hunting Park. She graduated from the University of
Pennsylvania with a BA in Fine Arts and Urban Studies in 2005 and also holds
her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Lauren has received two
Leeway Art and Change Grants for artistic projects that impact social change
in 2015 and 2016. She has worked as a community artist since 2005, both
teaching youth arts class and leading community mural or other creative
projects. Recently, she has shown work at the Philadelphia Sketch Club,
Abington Arts Center, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,
Jefferson Hospital, and the Center for Emerging Visual Artists.
Visit lauren-vargas.com to see more of her work.
In a forest, trees look like individuals, whether they thrive or struggle is on them. But the reality of forests is actually
quite different. Fungi form underground mycorrhizal networks where they connect the roots of trees and plant
into a deeply rooted community. Trees actually share food and water and even communicate with each other. There’s so much happening under the surface that we don’t even see. This resonates with me a perfect analogy for human community. We tend to see ourselves as individuals, especially in American culture, but we are connected to a
community that contributes to our thriving, and that we contribute to as well. Under the surface, we are sustained by our “mycorrhizal” network.
I paint to connect people: connect us with one another, connect us with our communities and natural space, connect us across differences and borders. I create opportunities for people to see one another, to be seen, and feel our common humanity. I paint my community- family, friends, and neighbors- to celebrate their lives, challenge oppression, and inspire a more just world. Love drives my work. Color, patterns, and texture excite me. Connecting with people brings me joy.
All of Lauren's pieces on exhibit are available for raffle HERE.
HP (Hunting Park) Green is run by Jose Feran, who mentors and trains youth from the Hunting Park neighborhood of North Philadelphia to engage in greening, gardening, tree planting and trash removal. Because of the low percentage of tree shade, Hunting Park is one of the hottest (temperature wise) neighborhoods in Philadelphia, which aggravates a number of health and environmental concerns. Eleven students ages 14 - 20 spend five hours per week after school with HP Green as a paid internship, where they engage in classes, sports, service and greening. Currently, in addition to the time spent leading the project and mentoring students, Jose works three jobs in order to be able to pay all of the students out of his own pocket. HP Green is in the process of applying for 501(c)3 status in order to have non-profit status.
Deadline to purchase raffle tickets is June 27th at 11:59 pm.