Arts and Culture

New after-school programs at UC Arts League, Curio Theatre

September 15, 2015

UCALTwo West Philly long-standing arts institutions are offering new after-school programs. University City Arts League (4226 Spruce St.) is offering new classes for every age group, with a whole new set of classes just for middle-schoolers (grades 5-8). New classes include Animation, African Dance, Tai Chi, Mixed-Media 2D Art, and Poetry, and registration is still open. The following classes have already filled up: For K-2: Puppet Making, Tumblehop, Escultura; for grades 3-6: Beginner Digital Art. For more information and to register, visit this page.

CurioSchoolCurio Theatre, which is housed in the historic Calvary Center for Culture and Community at 4740 Baltimore Avenue, is offering a new after-school opportunity for neighborhood schoolkids. Beginning in October, Curio Theatre Company is launching an after-school program for students in grades 1-8 for $100 per week. This service will end at 6 p.m. each day. This new program employs professional theatre educators who will offer the following services: prompt pick-up at the end of the school day, individual tutoring for assignments, and theatre lessons following every school day. Healthy snack options will also be offered. Currently, walking service is being offered to students from Penn Alexander School, the City School – Spruce Hill, and St. Francis de Sales schools. Please call 215-525-1350 or email: for more information and registration. Also check out Curio Theatre School on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

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Weekend events roundup: Second Fridays on Lancaster Ave, FringeArts, Honey Festival

September 10, 2015


Click to enlarge

Some nice events will be happening this weekend and next weekend, and we want to highlight a few of them. Also, stay tuned for more information on the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll (Sept. 17), and the fall edition of the Go West! Craft Fest (Sept. 19). For more events or if you want to submit an event, please visit our Events page.

Second Fridays on Lancaster Avenue

Second Fridays will be held on Sept. 11, beginning at 5 p.m., and here’s what’s in store for this Friday: Vendors Village, Neighborhood Time Exchange Open House, paintings and drawing exhibit by Doina Botez, open mic night, a screening of “Song of the South” and more, all on Lancaster Avenue, from 35th to 39th. For more information, visit the Lancaster Avenue Philly website.

Honey Festival at Bartram’s Garden

The beautiful Bartram’s Garden (54th and Lindbergh Blvd.) is hosting the 6th annual Honey Festival this Sunday (Sept. 13). Events will include open hive demonstration, tastings, and even a live “bee-bearding” with Don Shump from The Philadelphia Bee Company. Also beer brewing, beekeeping workshops, kids’ activities, a cooking contest, free yoga sessions, and more! The festival will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Check out this page for more details.


Fringe Arts Festival

The annual Fringe Festival kicked off on Sept. 3, with many wonderful performances and art installations taking place in the city. West Philly is also hosting a few Fringe events this and next week, so here are some more details:

“Body of Water” dance show by Antonia and Artists – Sept 11, 12, 8 p.m.
CEC Meeting House Theatre, 3500 Lancaster Avenue

Our bodies are 75% water. What would happen if we moved like the liquid we are? Antonia & Artists is a dance company made up of talented humans and led by choreographer Antonia Z Brown. Watch as they journey through the depths within to harness the fluidity, agility, and transformative strength of the most powerful element. For more info and tickets ($18), click here. Continue Reading

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Free films to celebrate papal visit

September 9, 2015


International House Philadelphia will present a couple of free films in celebration of the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia. Both films are on the life of Pope Francis’ namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

Roberto Rossellini’s 1950 classic, The Flowers of St. Francis will be shown on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m., and Brother Sun, Sister Moon, a 1972 film directed by Franco Zeffirelli, will be presented on Thursday, Sept. 24, also at 7:00 p.m. Both films will be screened at International House’s Ibrahim Theater, 3701 Chestnut Street.

Guest speakers will introduce each film. On Sept. 19, Professor Stefania Benini will present The Flowers of St. Francis, a timeless and moving portrait of the search for spiritual enlightenment. Benini was Lauro De Bosis Fellow at Harvard University (2014-2015), after having been Assistant Professor of Italian at the University of Pennsylvania (2007-2014). Her research focus in Italian Studies involves the sacred, from literature to cinema and theatre.  Continue Reading

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High Holiday services and events at Kol Tzedek

September 8, 2015

roshhashanahThe local synagogue Kol Tzedek, located at Calvary Center for Culture and Community, 48th and Baltimore, is inviting community members to its upcoming holiday services and events. Rosh Hashanah services will be held on Sept. 13, 14 and 15. Events will include children’s programming, potluck lunch at the chapel and a picnic at Bartram’s Garden.

Yom Kippur services and events will take place on Sept. 22 and 23.

There is no cost, although donations are welcome. Services are open to the whole community – it is not necessary to know Hebrew or be a practicing Jew. Online registration in advance is preferred and can be done on the website: Childcare is offered from 10 a.m. to the close of daytime services (except on Sept. 15) and in the evening of Sept. 22 and the entire day of Sept. 23.

More information and schedule are available here.

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Custom-made swings added to The Porch at 30th St Station

September 3, 2015


Photo courtesy University City District.

Custom-made swings, a new feature that was announced in the spring as part of a major enhancement of The Porch, a public space near 30th Street Station, are finally here. Designed by San Francisco-based Gehl Studio, the new swings are a result of the University City District’s mission to introduce innovative social seating in the area. You may have seen their Looped-In seating structures or custom public transit stop seats in your neighborhood.

The 14 slatted, wooden swings, which add an element of play to the space, were manufactured locally, by Bill Curran Design (BCD), based in Philadelphia’s East Falls. They come in three versions: the Porch Swing, which is meant to mimic swinging on a front porch; the Lounger, a gentle swing that simulates floating on air; and the Park Swing, an individual swing placed on the edges of the Porch.  Continue Reading

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Gush Gallery closes, flower shop to open at 5015 Baltimore Ave; Pope t-shirts at VIX and more Baltimore Avenue business news

September 2, 2015


Archived photo (Selah Lynch/West Philly Local)

We have some news from the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue. After a year of operation, Gush Gallery has closed its doors. Local artists Stephanie Slate and Sarah Thielke opened the interactive art gallery in August 2014 after months of fundraising through Indiegogo, but in the end it turned out to be very difficult to keep the business sustainable at that location.

Their former space at 5015 Baltimore Ave will not stay empty for long though: Snapdragon Flowers (Facebook page), a flower shop run by Cedar Park-based florists, is slated for October 2015 opening. Once open the shop will offer fresh and preserved floral arrangements, as well as gifts and cards with a botanical theme. There will be a couple of chances to learn more about Snapdragon Flowers and meet the owners at the upcoming Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll and Go West! Craft Fest at The Woodlands.  Continue Reading

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