TIN CAN TRUST is an interactive, multi-phase experiment in artistic and cultural exchange in partnership with several nonprofit community based and arts based organizations in Philadelphia, Allentown, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. During public workshops, people create various forms of artwork to be packaged into individual tin cans, shipped and exchanged with someone in a different city.

Conceptually, we are playing with the history of the tin can as an object that was intended to allow for longevity and preservation of material resources, with a particular emphasis on its role in war, international trade, colonization and in low-income communities.

The project seeks to make deep connections between Puerto Rico and cities such as  Allentown, Philadelphia, and New York. These three cities have been major destinations for Puerto Rican’s displaced by Hurricane Maria. Overall, the project seeks to engage at least 200 people of all ages in a creative and cultural exchange.

The project will be carried out through an ethnographic process of documenting oral histories, recipes, personal artifacts and other expressions that participants are comfortable sharing in solidarity with their counterparts in Puerto Rico. A similar process will be initiated in partnership with local arts based redevelopment initiatives we are connected to in Puerto Rico, who have since the storm been coordinating their own shipments of basic necessities. By adding to these shipments works of art, messages of support and other non-obvious forms of “aid”, we are exploring the idea that this sharing in solidarity is as important as other basic needs. And that the spirit, like infrastructure, requires restoration.