Arts and Culture

West Philly Porchfest: Taking porch culture to another level

May 24, 2016

If you live in West Philly, chances are you or someone you know has a porch where you’ve spent time drinking your beverage of choice on a warm summer day. Porch sitting is a neighborhood activity that people have engaged in as a way of exchanging ideas and bonding with neighbors for years, and the organizers of West Philly Porchfest (WPPF), which will be held on Saturday, June 4, would like to harness that energy to build stronger connections within the West Philly music scene.

Print“Porchfest is something that the neighborhood can do for itself that really breaks down all sorts of barriers [between music and fans]. Varying skill levels, genres, people who are on tour, people who have never played music before, people whose friends didn’t know they played guitar can play music. It opens up the opportunity for people who have never been invited to house shows in the past to appreciate this music,” explained Owen Lyman-Schmidt, of the West Philly Porchfest Coordinating Committee.

No one is sure of where the first Porchfest took place, but WPPF is modeling its event after Somerville Porchfest. The idea is simple: The West Philly Porchfest coordinating committee of five people will compile a list of participating porches and performers, each porch will be responsible for donating its own sound, electricity and performers. A sense of independent “Do It Yourself” will guide event participants, but Lyman-Schmidt says he hopes to also cultivate a sense of “Do it Together” where porches will collaborate with one another to make the festival a reality.  Continue Reading

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Mural painting this Sunday at Malcolm X Park

May 20, 2016


                          Click to enlarge.

Community members are invited to come by Malcolm X Park (51st and Pine) from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 to help paint a mural-in-progress by artists James Burns and Eric Okdeh and to explore the mental health services available to all Philadelphians.

The invitation is part of The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program Painting a Healthy City, an event from the behavioral health and wellness department, Porch Light.

Painting a Healthy City is a public paint day plus a behavioral health resource fair (inclusive of legal, employment, housing, trauma, counseling, and food insecurity resources), achieving Porch Light’s mission to connect communities in Philadelphia to health and wellness resources in low-stigma environments.

Featured murals this year come from Kirkbride Center and Girard Medical Center’s Goldman Clinic, where Okdeh and Burns have been hosting workshops since October. The artists’ designs draw from participant artwork and stories to create a vibrant picture of recovery, resilience, and hope.

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Powel Elementary invites all to ‘Journey Through West and North Africa’ this Friday

May 18, 2016


Here’s an opportunity to enjoy a great community evening at Powel Elementary School’s Spring Arts Festival on Friday, May 20, when all are invited to celebrate the students’ Journey Through West and North Africa.

For over thirty years, Powel School has added dimensions to student learning and created community with families through exploring a particular region, culture, or continent. The culmination of this is the Spring Arts Festival, where families and community members meet, party, and celebrate the cultures they have explored.

“In the spirit of the Liberian-inspired Welcome Dance – Funga Alafia, to be performed by 1st and 2nd graders, please Be Welcome to our festival,” writes Powel Home & School Association Arts Chair Gretchen Walker.

The school is also seeking community volunteers to help. If you’re interested, please sign up hereContinue Reading

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Artwork by homeless mothers on display this Sunday on Lancaster Avenue

May 14, 2016


An art show featuring work by young homeless mothers will take place this Sunday (May 15) at Indigo Bleu Design Collaborative, 3870 Lancaster Ave. The work displayed in this exhibit, titled Mothers and Others, is the result of a powerful partnership between People’s Emergency Center (PEC), which provides housing and social services for homeless moms and their children, and the Homeless Health Initiative (HHI) of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

exhibitLancasterAve1HHI volunteers visit PEC’s Center for Parenting and Early Childhood Education several times each month. Led by an artist, these volunteer healthcare professionals bring not only the canvas, paint and brushes, they offer their time, encouragement and expertise. The young mothers experiencing homelessness feel empowered and excited for their first exhibit.

The reception for the exhibit will take place from 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday. Proceeds from this event will benefit the artists and future creative expression programming at People’s Emergency Center. General admission tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

Indigo Bleu Design Collaborative is one of the newest event spaces in West Philadelphia.  Continue Reading

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The Green Tambourine moves to 50th and Baltimore, expands programming

May 13, 2016


The Green Tambourine is now open at 711 S. 50th St. (Photo from The Green Tambourine’s Facebook page)


Green tambourine

The Green Tambourine director Ann Schwartz at the new studio near 50th and Baltimore (Photo West Philly Local)

The popular local music program, The Green Tambourine, which started four years ago at The Rotunda, has grown out of its space on 46th and Baltimore and has just moved a few blocks west to a new, bigger location.

“The old space [at 4614 Baltimore Ave.] was great to get us started in 2012 as a designated music space,” says the program founder and creative director Ann Schwartz. “I started looking for a bigger space at the beginning of this year since our schedule was getting tight. When the space came up in March I knew I wanted to make the move.”

The program, which moved to the former warehouse building at 711 S. 50th St., now has lots more space for current and new classes, and is hiring more teachers to expand the instruments that they offer.  Continue Reading

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West Philly venue and artist mixer tonight at Dock Street

May 10, 2016

As we mentioned earlier, this year’s Fringe Festival is expanding into West Philadelphia neighborhoods and is currently seeking venues and artists who would like to be part of this great shebang planned for Sept. 9 – 24.

Tonight, there is a chance for interested artists and venue managers to meet each other in an informal atmosphere during a West Philly Venue and Artist Mixer. The event will be held from 5 -7 p.m. at Dock Street Brewery (50th and Baltimore).

Here’s some more information from the event’s Facebook page:

Are you a VENUE? Do you have an awesome space in West Philadelphia? Are you interested in hosting some rad performances in this year’s Fringe Festival?

Or are you an ARTIST looking for a location to perform your work in this year’s Fringe Festival?  Continue Reading

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