The fifth annual Feminist Flea Market, curated by House Cat, was taken to a virtual platform on April 30 when over 30 vendors donated their artwork to be auctioned for the Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence.
Feminist Flea has been an ongoing event, organized by Rebecca Aronow, that showcases and supports members of the Philadelphia art community who identify as womxn, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming.
In view of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Aronow was worried she would not be able to host Feminist Flea due to COVID closures settling in. In the past, this event was hosted at several locations, including Underground Arts and the Bok center. Nicole Seltzer, who creates the graphic designs for Feminist Flea, pitched the idea of hosting an auction on their Instagram page (@feminist_flea).
With over 4,000 clicks to their Instagram page and every item sold, Aronow was extremely happy with the outcome of the online auction. The auction was up on their Instagram all day, making it as accessible as possible to respect everyone’s schedules.
Aronow reached out to several local businesses and organizations to promote the event, including Drexel’s radio station (WKDU) and well-known South Street bar Tattoo’d Mom. She chose these promoters by paying close attention to businesses and organizations in the area who care and show support for the local art community in Philadelphia.
“To me, it’s really amazing to see how much the community has come together to support each other, and local businesses are supporting each other. Everyone is really trying to help as much as possible,” Aronow said.
Feminist Flea posted homemade prints, ceramics, candles, tea, tote bags, knitted items, vintage pieces, earrings and several other uniquely made items. Aronow said that in total they had 51 items, and selling every one was a big deal.
“I want to find a way to balance supporting the artists and donating for the next time, but everyone was so amazingly kind in what they gave,” Aronow added.
The proceeds from this event were donated to Women Organized Against Rape, which opened in 1971 as one of the first rape crisis centers in America. WOAR offers free therapy to those who have been affected by sexual violence.
In 2019 alone, WOAR took 2,415 support calls, according to a post that was a part of the Feminist Flea promotional artwork.
Aronow is not completely sure of when the next Feminist Flea Market will occur, but she made it clear that the community that the event creates is first and foremost a safe space for artists.
“I want to make it especially clear that it’s a place to support the community, marginalized communities and give people a platform to share their work,” Aronow said.
Aronow also made it a point to shine light on several other organizations that are seeking donations during this time, including the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, Women’s Medical Fund, Project Home and the Philadelphia Sex Workers’ Fund.
If you or someone you know may be experiencing sexual assault, you can call WOAR’s 24-hour hotline at (215) 985-3333. Texting services are also available Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.