Casa de Duende* is dedicated to presenting socially relevant art that addresses critical social issues and challenges both artists and communities to address through art and art-making, the causes and consequences of cultural, economic, and political realities in the context of advancing progressive social change.

Casa de Duende seeks to contribute to creating a discourse between artists and communities on a wide-range of socio, political, religious, cultural, and environmental concerns among other issues of importance and relevance to contemporary life.  We view art as an important tool through which to foment and strengthen community mobilization to address these social concerns.

Casa de Duende is dedicated to presenting artists as insightful social critics whose products transform the language through which we view, hear and see our world and ourselves.

Casa de Duende is dedicated to commissioning, curating, and producing art exhibits and performances with contemporary artists which focus on the social relevance of art and art making as a tool for questioning both, the meaning and role of art and the artist in contemporary culture. Casa de Duende seeks to contribute to creating a discourse between artist and communities at the local, national and international level, on a wide-range of socio, political, religious, cultural, and environmental concerns among others.

Casa de Duende views art as a creative process unlimited by form or medium. We seek to explore this creative process through collaboration with artists, filmmakers, curators, art institutions, galleries, cultural centers and communities. Duende Presents is dedicated to presenting artists as insightful social critics whose products transform the language through which we view, hear and see our world and ourselves.

Casa de Duende is a project of Duende Presents, LLC.

*Duende is a fairy- or goblin-like creature in Spanish and Latin American mythology. Duende was first used by Federico Garcia Lorca as a theoretical concept to denote artistic inspiration in his seminal and important essay on artistic inspiration “Theory and Play of the Duende”. (Composed and delivered in both Havana and then again in Buenos Aires at a lecture to the Sociedad de Amigos del Arte in 1934.)

Lorca’s theory departs from most western concepts of divine inspiration such as the Greek Muse or the German “Daimon”, to posit artistic inspiration as innately tied to the soil from which it rises, enters the body and is given expression. While Lorca uses the bull fight, Canto Jondo” (deep song), and the blues in the United States as instances to illustrate the Duende’s manifestation, Duende encompasses and earthy concept of divine an artistic inspiration from which all art is born. To have “Duende” is to have soul! (David Acosta, Artistic Director)

Vision Statement

All movements for social change embody an artistic sensibility which inevitably rallies artists to their cause. This process reconceptualizes, transforms and changes the socio-political discourse (at least in part), through an aesthetic lens: a conversation between individuals and communities informed by art and art making. Duende Presents takes this as the starting point for examining the creative process that occurs in the collaborative dialogue between artists and their communities. Duende Presents is dedicated to giving artists a platform for socially relevant work and to expanding a discourse between artist and community, between creator and audience.

Founders

David Acosta (Also known as Juan Armando David Acosta Posada) is a writer poet, cultural worker and co founder of Casa de Duende, along with his life partner Jerry Macdonald.

He has served on a wide range of committees and boards, including past work with the Philadelphia International Film Festival, The Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, The PA Council on the Arts, as well as a founding member of Our Living Legacy (1988), the nation’s first festival devoted to art and AIDS. In 1993 he served on the East Market Street Sculpture Review Committee, which selected artist Raymond Sandoval’s Tanamend sculpture from among more than 3,000 artist proposals. He was a founding member of The Latin American Writers Collective, Desde Este Lado, as well as the magazine that bore its name. He was also a co-founder of the Philadelphia Working Fund for Artists with HIV/AIDS. In 1989 he curated the Pieces of Life Project at Taller Puertorriqueño which brought the National Names Project (Originators of the AIDS Quilt Project) to Philadelphia, and specifically to a Latino community in a large metropolitan city, at that time a first for the Names Project.

He has been involved in many boards including Taller Puertorriqueño, The Asian Arts Initiative, Spiral Q Puppet Theater, the Bread & Roses Community Fund, The AIDS Law Project, The Philadelphia AIDS Walk, The Legacy Fund, The Center for Lesbian, Gay Law and Public Policy, and served as an advisor to the American Friends Services Committee Latin American and Caribbean Desk among many others. He was also the first Latino appointed to the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Sexual Minorities form 1985-1989.

David Acosta is a founding member of the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression (NCFE) and of the Art Emergency Coalition (AEC). Both organizations were instrumental in their opposition to the culture wars of the 90s. NCFE went on to successfully sue the National Endowment for the ARTS on behalf of the NEA Four.

In 2007 he was one of 30 Philadelphia activists honored by Bread and Roses during their 30 year anniversary celebration for having broken new ground in building paths to social justice.

In 2008 he was awarded the Red Ribbon Award for his work in Public Policy and was honored at GALAEI’s 20th year anniversary celebration with the inaugural David Acosta Revolutionary Award (He was GALAEI’s founder.) GALAEI is now one of the two oldest organizations in the country serving Latino lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals. He was a past contributing editor to Spanish Poz Magazine which honored him in its 1998/1999 winter issue as one of 49 Latinos in the nation who’ve made a difference in the area of HIV/AIDS. Once again in November of 2010 he was named by the same magazine as among the one hundred most influential people in the United States working on HIV/AIDS. He has received many other awards for his work in both arts and culture, GLBT civil rights, and HIV/AIDS activism advocacy. He is also the recipient of the 1990 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Philadelphia Commissionon Human Relations and a past recipient of the 1989 Lambda Communiy Leader Award.Year.

His poetry has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies. Among them the Evergreen Chronicles, The Blue Guitar, the James White Review, The Painted Bride Quarterly, Philomel, Mayrena, The Americas Review, and the anthologies: American Poetry Confronts the 1990s, (Black Tie Press 1990), The Limits of Silence (Asterion Press 1991), Poesida, (Ollantay Press, 1995) and Floating Borderlands: Twenty Five Years of Latin American Poetry in The United States, University of Washington Press, 1998.

He has written and contributed articles to Cosa Cosa At Large on art and social change. In November of 2010 he curated “Rooted in Ancestors.” For Semilla’s opening Exhibit at the new gallery A Seed on Diamond.

In December of 2011 he curated, Witness: Artists reflect on thirty years of the AIDS Pandemic. Witness, is a multi-media visual arts exhibition inviting artists to reflect on, explore and respond to the impact that the HIV/AIDS epidemic has had on our social, cultural and political life over the past thirty years. More recently he has served as a panelist for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund in 2011 and 2012.

Jerry Macdonald has spent his career working in nonprofit organizations and volunteering for a variety of social justice causes. His focus has been on helping organizations develop the resources that they need to implement their visions of social change.

He has worked with large organizations with a national footprint to small organizations that are rarely seen outside the communities that they serve. As a proposal writer and development professional he has raised over $1 billion in the areas of mental health and substance abuse treatment, social justice, LGBT rights, HIV/AIDS, education, public health, housing, arts and culture, and children and youth services.

For the past 10 years he has served as an executive of one of Philadelphia’s largest nonprofit organizations with annual revenues in excess of $100 million. He currently serves as Senior Vice President overseeing business development, social media and communications.

Jerry and his life partner David Acosta started Casa de Duende because of their love of the arts and because they see a need for socially relevant art to reach new audiences and to adapt to new media. As Managing Director of Casa de Duende, Jerry hopes to bring his fund raising, business development, and management expertise to the cause of helping artists achieve financial success and independence.

In addition to art, Jerry loves travel, food, wine, animals and hanging out at the beach. His sole award was being crowned King of the 1963 Waverly Recreation Department Pet Show.