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Member Spotlight

Spiral Q

Mailbox puppets dancing to help protect the counting of ballots during the 2020 presidential election

What happened:

On September 2nd rains from hurricane Ida flooded (7' high!) Spiral Q's temporary storage space destroying 80% of everything there. After 9 months of moving out of our old warehouse on Haverford Ave (while simultaneously running programs with youth, activist and neighborhood partners), we were so excited to buckle down and find our forever home. The garages held the majority (thankfully not all) of Spiral Q’s collection of over 2,000 pieces that stood as a living document of 25 years of personal and collective stories of struggle, identity, and justice in Philadelphia. In addition to this, the garages held much office and studio equipment, materials, historic program files, photographs and videos.

Flooded storage unit where SpiralQ Materials were housed

The bad news:

We lost a lot... an estimated:

  • 80-85% of our puppet & art collection
  • 50% of our historic program files
  • Studio equipment & art materials
  • Office Equipment including computers, desks, and storage

Puppets and other materials are strewn across a parking lot being aired out after the flood.

The good news

  • The situation is stabilized and we've removed all water & mud
  • We still have some beloved puppets and banners
  • We rescued 95% of our undigitized photos
  • We rescued 95% of our videos
  • Over 40 heroic volunteers (so far) have jumped into the action to help!
  • 268 incredible people have donated to our fundraiser!
  • Spiral Q has temporary studio space and a promising lead to temporary storage space

Volunteers hold up materials that survived the flood!

How you can help:

1: Spread the Word

A masked boy at school high-fives one of the SpiralQ puppets. They are both sitting in front of laptops, and a caption reads: we're out here changing lives.

2: Volunteer some time

  • Moving shelving, puppets, & materials back to Philly 
  • Digitally scanning photos & slides
  • Transferring archival videos (VHS, Hi8, & DV tapes) to digital
  • Get involved in supporting Peoplehood!

Volunteers are fixing the storage unit after the flood

3: Join in Peoplehood

Saturday November 6th - 1pm

  • Sign up your activist, community, or youth group to represent in the parade
  • Volunteer to flyer your neighborhood
  • Safety marshal the parade
  • Join in art builds at our studio
  • For more info, contact us at community@spiralq.org 

People and puppets march in SpiralQ's Peoplehood event

4: Share your Story

Help us keep the stories behind the puppets alive.

Each piece of Spiral Q's collection holds the stories of so many communities and individuals. Stories of creation and collaboration in art studios, parks, classrooms and recovery centers. Stories of activist strategy and neighborhood cultural expression. Stories of wearing giant puppets in protests or experiencing a parade come down the block you live on.

Help us begin the deep process of honoring and lifting that which has authentically and fiercely represented, advocated for, celebrated and centered our most resilient and powerful communities disenfranchised by capitalism and white supremacy. Let us collectively mourn and eulogize this loss by replacing it with the joy and power of why the puppet existed in the first place, for the people.

Tell us your story of impact. What is the most important and powerful Spiral Q story you have to tell, tell us about the art, the people and the magic you experienced. Tell us online (@spiralq), in person, via email (community@spiralq.org), a voice recording a video and of course if you have an image from the past please share.

young children march with puppets through their Philadelphia neighborhood