Photo Exhibit, Presentation & Fundraiser for Ph15 - Wednesday, January 11

As tango dancers, the city of Buenos Aires is necessarily close to our hearts.  But most of us never see the suffering that goes on in the city's "villas miserias" (shantytowns).

Join us on Wednesday, January 11 to learn about ph15, an amazing nonprofit that has been empowering children who live in these shantytowns by teaching them photography skills over the past 16 years.  The event includes a presentation by ph15's directors, an exhibit of photos by the youth photographers, and a fundraiser!

What is ph15?

Inside the bustling, cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, there is another “hidden” city, a shantytown or “villa” where people live without roads, sewage systems, garbage removal, and policing. People build their houses out of whatever they can find – concrete blocks and wood, as well as tin and cardboard - and struggle to make some kind of living, working under the table, with no job security or protections.

In 2000, a photographer who had been hired to document life inside the “Ciudad Oculta” (hidden city) – also called Villa 15 – crossed paths with a group of children who lived in the shantytown.  They started to follow him everywhere, and asked him to teach them what he was doing.  So was born Fundacion ph15 (, a nonprofit photography program, which empowers villa children and helps them develop and hone their voices, through the medium of photography.

Over the past 16 years, more than 2,500 children (and 500 adults) have passed through ph15’s programs, which now take place in many more shantytowns around the city of Buenos Aires, and in similar areas throughout Argentina, as well as in Venezuela. The children’s works have been exhibited, lauded, and purchased worldwide including in: Buenos Aires, Madrid, Sao Paolo, North Dakota, Washington DC, Rio De Janeiro, London, Germany, New York City, and beyond. Ph15 participants and graduates have been able to travel throughout Argentina and to Washington DC to discuss and demonstrate their work. And some have secured work professionally as photographers.

Connection to the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School

Philadelphia Argentine Tango School Director Meredith Klein worked as a grant writer for ph15 when she lived in Buenos Aires from 2005 to 2008.  She helped them secure a major grant from the Inter-American Foundation, a program of the United States government.  The grant opened doors for the organization, and its young photographers, worldwide. 

The Event - Wednesday, January 11 - 9 pm-midnight

Meredith has long wanted to mobilize the Philadelphia tango community to support ph15. The right opportunity has finally come up, because ph15's directors Moira Rubio Brennan and Miriam Priotti will be in the area giving a workshop next week.  On Wednesday, January 11, they will give a presentation about ph15 during the Palermo Fishtown Practica, and an exhibit of photographs by ph15 artists will be on view in the studio.  Framed and unframed photos will be available as perks with your donation.

Our goal: To raise $2,000 for ph15


How will the funds be used?

The Philadelphia Argentine Tango School is covering all expenses for this project, including all printing and framing costs for the exhibit and for the photos that you may earn as a perk upon donating. '

That means that 97% of your contribution goes directly to help kids in Buenos Aires (the other 3% gets taken by the credit card company).  When you make a contribution that earns a framed or unframed photo as a perk, 50% will go to the young artist who took that photo, and the rest will go to support Ph15's programming.  Ph15 will use the funds to buy photo supplies such as digital cameras, photo paper, and other costs incurred in running their workshops.  Ph15 provides all programs to young people at no cost.

(Note: Ph15's nonprofit status is valid in Argentina, but not in the US.  So your contribution is unfortunately not tax-deductible as a nonprofit gift.  Because money cannot be transferred to Argentina, Philadelphia Argentine Tango School Director Meredith Klein will bring the money to Ph15 when she visits Buenos Aires in February 2017).

Natalia Godoy, age 16

Gonzalo Ocampo, age 14