Written by Brianna Wiest | Photos by Star Bunner, Kenneth King, and Joshua David Himes
While at a rally for local politician Kevin Ressler, Rose Luciano took me and a few friends to the basement of Fruition Collective, the creative event space that she founded earlier this year. She pointed out that the basement served as the location for a party the night prior. “I create a space for one artist to come, maybe someone from my community likes them, and then they follow them to another venue in town, when they play there later,” she explained. Someone in the group replied: “You want your business to go elsewhere?” to which Rose gave a resounding: “Yes. That’s the idea. This is about all of us.”
I could think of no moment more illustrative of what Rose is trying to build than this. Fruition Collective is an event space located at 24 W. Walnut St. in Lancaster City, and hosts everything from spoken word, live bands, open parties, art shows, cultural events (Caribbean night, Salsa dancing lessons) political rallies, Aerial yoga, Mommy Up workshops and other meetups. But don’t let that list limit you to thinking that is the extent of Fruition’s potential. Rose’s dream is that Fruition is whatever the collective makes it.
“I needed a place to do my work. I needed a platform. My form of art is community building and bridging,” she explained. As a space that claims to exist without an agenda, I asked whether or not she would hold space for someone who wanted to hold an event that was against her ideals. “I would have to,” she said. “It would stretch me. I would have to hold with compassion. Our core values here are listening, learning, authentic community. We are always in a state of learning, and the only way you can learn is listen to people with different perspectives.”
Of course, there is also an emphasis on providing a platform for minority communities, something that Rose has had a lot of experience with. “Growing up as the only Puerto Rican girl in Ephrata, Pennsylvania… I don’t know how I survived,” she said, tears swelling. “We need to have compassion with those who have been cruel to us,” she explains, waving her hands which are tattooed with little birds along the sides – a symbolic moment. “And then we need to take our power back, and not be apologetic about it.”
Rose acknowledges that in larger cities like New York or Philadelphia, spaces like Fruition are common. “We are the same, but we are different,” she explains, citing a proverb. “That applies to the space, and to it’s people.” I ask what it is about Fruition that she hopes will stand apart. “I think that we make everyone comfortable here. They think: ‘This is a place for me.’ There’s a familiarity. I want them to walk into Tellus360 one day, and think, ‘I belong here,’ when maybe they didn’t think that before. I want them to walk anywhere in the city and think: ‘I belong here.’” Though closed-mindedness is still an issue that she identifies as a challenge she’s up against, she feels confident that she’ll be able to keep making connections, and healing.
“In 5 years, I would love to become a known entity in Lancaster,” she explains. “I would love for Fruition to be a staple within collaborative efforts in Lancaster. I want people to think: ‘Fruition helped build bridges and elevated others.’”
“Fruition is here to provide that platform to brings your dreams to fruition,” Rose
concludes. “That’s why the name. I’ve been planting seeds everywhere, all my life,
and I’m ready for them to blossom.”