Heart on Your Sleeve is a winterlong poetry and public art initiative focusing on care and renewal for Philadelphians.
Heart on Your Sleeve mock up, poem by Sojourner Ahebee, design by Jonai Gibson-Selix, with printed artwork by Hester Stinnett, October 2022
Philadelphia, PA – Launching on November 5, 2022, Heart On Your Sleeve is a winterlong public art and poetry initiative focused on the themes of care and renewal. This six-month project brings together Philadelphia Poets and Artists to co-create compassionate works that will appear on insulated take-out coffee sleeves and in public artworks at Elixr Coffee. The project aims to bring the perspectives of poets and artists to the public in small and meaningful ways this winter through an uplifting poem, an inspiring piece of public art, or a new piece of clothing. Heart On Your Sleeve is organized by Molly Gross & Ryan Strand Greenberg with support by Elixr Coffee and The Poetry Project.
Poems by Sojourner Ahebee, Dilruba Ahmed, Husnaa Haajarah Hashim, Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, Ursula Rucker, and Eleanor Wilner will be the centerpiece of the six sleeve series created by designer Jonai Gibson-Selix and printmaker Hester Stinnett. Each month, from November 2022 to April 2023, a new poetry sleeve will be available with the purchase of a beverage at Elixr Coffee's four area-locations.
Heart On Your Sleeve launches this fall by unveiling a newly commissioned public artwork by Destiny Palmer at Elixr Coffee's Center City location. Through a partnership with Philadelphia Printworks, the project will also uplift the poets and their work via a long-sleeve T-shirt.
Launch Party Saturday, November 5, 2022, 7-10pm at Elixr Coffee, 207 S Sydenham St, Philadelphia, PA 19102. All are welcome to join the poets, artists, and curators for a launch party with food, drink, and music.
Sojourner Ahebee archives moments of intimacy between Black women. She writes about insecurity of historical archives & insecurity as a feeling that connects us to our most powerful desires. Poet and producer of audio, Sojourner's stories have appeared in The Atlantic, MSNBC, NPR, WHYY, The Academy of American Poets, & on your grandmother’s radio. She's the recipient of a MacDowell residency in creative writing, the International Women's Media Foundation's Gwen Ifill Fellowship, and a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Fellowship.sojournerahebee.com
Dilruba Ahmed is the author of Bring Now the Angels (Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), with poems featured in New York Times Magazine, The Slowdown, and Poetry Unbound with Pádraig Ó Tuama. Her debut book of poetry, Dhaka Dust (Graywolf Press), won the Bakeless Prize. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Ploughshares; Virginia Quarterly Review. She has taught with Chatham University’s MFA Program, Hugo House, Blue Stoop, and workshops across the U.S. In January 2021, Ahmed joined the faculty at Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers. Classes; coaching: https://www.dilrubaahmed.com/writing-lab
Husnaa Haajarah Hashim
Husnaa Haajarah Hashim (“Husnaa,” they/them) is a poet, interdisciplinary artist, student herbalist, educational facilitator, and University of Pennsylvania graduate. A Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate (2017-2018), Husnaa is the author of the chapbook Honey Sequence (The Head & The Hand, 2018). husnaahashim.com
Author of the poetry collection, City of Pearls (UpSet Press 2019), Sham-e-Ali Nayeem is a poet, interdisciplinary artist, and recovering social justice lawyer. Her poetry can be found in numerous anthologies, including Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out (Olive Branch Press, 2005), Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak (Beacon Press, 2005) and Shout Out: Women of Color Respond to Violence (Seal Press, 2008). She has released two albums, City of Pearls (2019) and Moti Ka Sheher (2022) featuring sonic interpretations of her book of poems resting in soundscapes ranging from classical rabab to self produced electronica. Her work explores grief & loss, ancestral transmissions, historical preservation, transnational solidarities and space to imagine. Sham-e-Ali is the recipient of the Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship. sham-e-ali.com
Poet, recording artist, activist, teacher and revolutionary, Ursula Rucker is a certified veteran of the global music and poetry scene. A skilled writer and dynamic performer for nearly three decades, Rucker has used her fiery prose and invigorating imagery to excite and inspire listeners worldwide. She has toured with her live performance memoir, My Father’s Daughter, which she describes as “90 minutes of self-truth and discovery.” She was a 2018 recipient of the prestigious fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts & Change. In 2020, she released big/small poems for pockets, a chapbook of haikus. Most recently, Ursula collaborated with artist Vince Fraser on his exhibit Ase AfroFrequencies which debuted at Artechouse Miami and was recognized as Best Art Exhibit 2021 by TimeOut Miami.
Eleanor Wilner, the 2019 Frost Medal recipient of the Poetry Society of America for lifetime achievement, is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Before Our Eyes; New and Selected Poems, 1975-2017 and Gone to Earth: Early & Uncollected Poems 1964-1975. Her awards include the Juniper Prize, Pushcart prizes & fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation & the NEA.
Jonai Gibson-Selix, designer
Jonai Gibson-Selix is a graphic designer, art director, and public artist who uses design as a tool for constructing a just present and future. Through immersive storytelling, she elevates the voices of diverse brands, such as Tessera Arts Collective, The Free Library of Philadelphia, Bryn Mawr College, and more, in addition to participating in the award-winning public art projects, Visit Philly’s Love + Grit’s Storefronts Project (2021) and Mural Arts Philadelphia’s First 100 Days (2021). Designsbyjonai.com
Destiny Palmer, artist
Destiny Palmer currently is working at Thayer Academy and most recently was an Assistant Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Palmer is trained as a painter, but her work explores the intersections of painting, history and color, allowing it to blur the lines of painting, sculpture and installation. She was co-founder of Traditions Remixed, an artist collective whose goal is to create a supportive community for young artists, especially artists of color, encouraging collaboration and networking. destinypalmerstudio.com
Hester Stinnett, printmaker
Hester Stinnett is a printmaker who rescues discarded book covers from oblivion. She co-authored, with Lois M. Johnson, one of the earliest water-based screenprinting handbooks for artists and teachers, and she teaches printmaking at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture. hesterstinnett.com
Philadelphia Printworks is an independent clothing brand inspired by past and present social justice movements that seeks to create accessible apparel for activists, organizers and allies. It was founded in 2010 by Maryam Pugh and Ruth Paloma Rivera-Perez. philadelphiaprintworks.com
Molly Gross is an interdisciplinary artist, poet, and cultural producer. In 2021 Gross conceived of The Poet’s Table, an afternoon of free one-on-one readings, during which poets recited a poem to each person who visited their table. And she co-produced Calling The World, 2020, a dial-a-poem project with the Poetry Society of America. Other collaborative projects include installing movie-related haiku at Nitehawk Cinema, NYC and distributing Lost Poem flyers at the O, Miami Poetry Festival. Gross is a board member of The Poetry Project and the author of six chapbooks including The Whisperer, Crisscross, and Shape. Her work has been published and anthologized by Diagram. mollybgross.com
Ryan Strand Greenberg
Ryan Strand Greenberg develops interdisciplinary public art projects and programs in partnership with artists, scholars, foundations, institutions, and communities. These programs combine the power of creative expression, storytelling, research, and engagement to nurture connections between people, public histories, and our environment(s). His work has been showcased at institutions as well as historic sites, neighborhoods, gardens, transit stations, rivers, cemeteries, and storefronts. Ryan is a Curatorial Consultant for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Lead Host at James Turrell’s Skyspace @ Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, and a member of Philadelphia Contemporary’s advisory board, Rising Wing. ryanstrandgreenberg.com