As the VibeMistress for Soul Sanctuary, I am thrilled to announce the launch of our first-ever official fundraising campaign, as we press forward from our 17th Anniversary and build on some amazing accomplishments we've achieved, particularly in the past year.
Our official website, www.Soul-Sanctuary.net, tells a more comprehensive tale of how we first opened our doors as a Philadelphia performance venue back on April 10, 2002 and how our nonprofit has evolved and withstood adversity to continue to serve as a champion for all things urban and cultural. Our Soul Sanctuary Radio podcast series has eclipsed 4 million (yes, you read that correctly) downloads, and with some of the funds raised through this campaign, we will be launching several new talk programs on subjects that our audience (The Congregation) has asked us to explore: genealogy research, LGBTQ activism and historical homage. Here is a link to our iTunes page: click here
Our first curatorial exhibit, PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY, debuted at Philadelphia's Slought Foundation in June 2018 and drew accolades from far and wide. A smaller version of the initial show was installed at the African American Museum in Philadelphia through April 1, on Penn's campus at The ARCH during that same period, and we are looking for even more opportunities to bring the images and the purpose to a larger national and international audience. On April 24, we dedicated a permanent installation at Slought titled Moments Within the Movement, centered around social justice issues, also featuring the amazing work of Baltimore's Devin Allen. You can read more about that at www.PhilaJustice.org. Below is a summary video of the installation and opening night reception.
As you can see from our intro clip, we also look to interview and film live concert footage of artists who help to define soul music and provide thoughtful songwriting and performance. This archival work can be time-consuming and resource-dependent, so your donations will also keep gas in our cars, help us to update equipment, and provide quality access to the true keepers of the culture for viewers and listeners all around the world. From book signing Q&As with authors like Kevin Powell to backstage conversations with performers like Mint Condition, Lalah Hathaway, and Van Hunt, we value the voice and work ethic of artists who resist genre and challenge us to listen with open ears. Below is a clip of a live performance by master percussionist Sheila E at Philadelphia's Penn's Landing.
All of these clips illustrate just a small portion of Soul Sanctuary's mission. While we would be pleased to increase our podcast listenership or YouTube views, what we really hope to achieve is an extensive archive of soulful expression. Audio, video, still images and any other way we can capture the beauty and sincerity of those who are committed to producing high-caliber artistry.
With both The Godfather and The Queen of Soul now on to their earthly rest, we need a dedicated, willing group of supporters to help us ensure that soulful culture is never thought of in the past tense. Soul is alive and well, in the hearts of those who understand the eternal spiritual connection to artistry and those who strive to bring it closer to us with every project they release into The Universe.
Thank you in advance for your assistance in enhancing our mission and bringing cultural goodness to your fingertips, today and every day.
- Michele Middleton
- Walter Benjamin
- Ross Mortimer