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First Friday Celebration invites YOU to The Monkey & The Elephant in Brewerytown

Friday is the First Friday in June so, naturally, you’re invited to a special First Friday Artist Series event at The Monkey & The Elephant in Brewerytown that is designed to not only provide a great time, but also something for you to think about.

In an open-house, drop-in viewing on June 4, the works of K’von Harris-Robinson will be celebrated, and there is a special twist to this presentation. Harris-Robinson is a painter, M&E barista, leader at the cafe, and graduate of the M&E program. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Health Care Studies while working on his goals to become a Psychiatric Physician’s Assistant. When painting, he intensely visualizes the beauty within, believing we’ve lost our emotional and physical connection to the world around us. He portrays the missing links and elements we tend to bury deep.

“The M&E program” is what makes this an even more special event.

“The Monkey & The Elephant is a coffee shop with a mission to support and hire young adults who are aging out of foster care,” said Anne Harrison, M&E’s executive director. “It’s a non-profit organization and we do an employment training program and provide both a wage and learning experience as a barista, but also we have an extensive training program that is a partner to the employment.

“The art shows are a way for us to widen our net beyond the folks that we serve in-house but also to reach those all over the city. There are 250 young adults who age out of foster care in Philadelphia every year and are often left in the lurch with the courts, housing and employment. Statistically speaking, all of those factors make it very difficult for these young adults to make their way in the world.”

With that in mind, The Monkey & The Elephant – located at 2831 West Girard Avenue -- kicks off its First Friday Series (open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m) with the works of Robinson, intended to make all viewers stop and think about his work, and to look behind the obvious. Robinson was in the program five years ago and is now one of the leaders in the café and is truly one of the success stories of what The Monkey & The Elephant want to portay.

“He’s really passionate and talented and he’s the perfect person to start our First Friday Series,” Harrison said. “We’re building partnerships with other artists who have experienced histories in child welfare and hope to do this every month, to provide a platform and visibility to the great work of young adults who often don’t get the platform.”

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“We love being a part of Brewerytown and the business and residential communities have been supporting us throughout the pandemic,” Harrison said, “and we’re really happy to be featured here. We’re very thankful for the support we’ve gotten.”

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