Debora Kodish

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Debora Kodish

Debora Kodish is a Philadelphia arts activist.


Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School founders were;[1]

Philadelphia Folklore Project

When .Debora Kodish arrived in Philadelphia in the early 1980s with her new doctorate in folklore from the University of Texas, there was no one in the city documenting everyday life in its many and varied neighborhoods.

No one organization was looking at what the African drummers were doing, what the Hispanic street artists were up to, what the Vietnamese musicians were playing, what the Italians in South Philly were saying - or at why they were doing what they were doing and saying what they were saying.

Kodish and some young colleagues huddled in a room at the Fleisher Art Memorial, and started asking the questions.

From those sessions, a small, fiercely focused independent organization grew - the Philadelphia Folklore Project, a reflection of Kodish's commitment, energy, and voracious appetite for documentation.

Now 61, (2014) Kodish is stepping down after 27 years of leadership. Selina Morales, 32, a folklorist trained at Indiana University and a four-year PFP vet, will take the helm of this still-unique, still-focused organization.

"There's change happening all over," Morales said, "particularly in our field and our corner of the field, which is folk arts and community-based practice and also working for social justice or social change locally."

Money is drying up, although the Folklore Project has been able to maintain its annual budget of about $400,000.

Morales won't stop working to help community groups and artists secure funding, but she is realistic about prospects. And she's noticed that the interests of community artists have shifted.

"There are not going to be any major changes at PFP immediately," said Morales. "But we will be more explicit about our folk arts and social change mission, taking on projects that really exemplify a place that Debora had the phenomenal foresight to keep pushing at over years, but not always named directly - our interest in documenting and working alongside artists who are trying to make some kind of change or stand up for justice, and using folk arts and resources in that way."[2]

2011 MidAutumn Festival

Asian Americans United September 5, 2011:


AAU artist Kathy Shimizu is back to work on MidAutumn Festival :-) Cheers to all our friends! Please share this flyer & the FB event page! — with Lai Har Cheung, Maitrivia Liem, Hon Lui, Chi-Ser Tran, Matt Tae, Srey Boss, Tai Joselyn, Alia Nakashima, Renyu Wu, Ling Lin, Debbie Wei, Duong Nghe Ly, Brandon Huynh, Debora Kodish, Doua Xiong, Lizzy Lee, Wei Chen, Karen Worley and Oh Peou.

Asian Americans United - 30th Anniversary

Helen Gym December 15, 2015.


30th anniversary of Asian Americans United - what a crew! — with Linda Deafenbaugh, Chi Joselyn, Betty Lui, Jay Zou, Masaru Edmund Nakawatase, Eric Joselyn, Maxine J. Chang, Teresa Engst, Wei Chen, Lai Har Cheung, Alix Webb, Sachie Hopkins Hayakawa, Judy At Aau, Mary Yee, Xu Lin, Neeta Patel, Kay Yoon, Paul Uyehara, Ken Hung, Debora Kodish and Alice Vuong.

Asian Americans United - 28th Anniversary

Asian Americans United November 12, 2013:


Only 3 Days to go til AAU's 28th Anniversary Celebration Party! Special Thanks to our Amazing Host Committee & Sponsors!! Please RSVP now and ensure that you will have a seat at our benefit concert by the legendary Nobuko Miyamoto! You won't want to miss it! — with Judy At Aau, Maxine Chang, Betty Lui, Xu Lin, Ellen Somekawa, Masaru Edmund Nakawatase, Lai Har Cheung, Debora Kodish, Helen Gym, Joan May T. Cordova, Dawn Werme Pratson, Wei Chen, Neeta Patel, Alice Vuong, Rebecca Rathje, Claire Yoo, Peter Van Do, Mary Yee, Paul Uyehara, Hiro Nishikawa, Emily Lawsin, Janeya Hisle, Scott Kurashige, Carmen Febo San Miguel, Jean Hunt, Kavita Levy and Sookyung Oh.