Rhymes, verse and inspiration coming to West Philly

Posted on 15 February 2012 by WPL

The Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, a non-profit organization helping Philadelphia youth discover the power of their voices through spoken word and literary expression, is bringing its 2nd Annual Dream Big Arts Festival‘s main program to West Philadelphia this Saturday and Sunday. The event actually kicks off a day earlier (Fri, Feb. 17) at the Franklin Institute. The West Philly part will take place at the new West Philadelphia High School building (49th & Chestnut) and will include poetry workshops, oratorical and spelling bee competitions, Youth Night Poetry Slam/Open Mic, and an MC Battle.

Black Thought from the legendary hip-hop band, The Roots, will be one of the judges at the Poetry Slam. This year the festival celebrates literacy, activism, and peace. It will culminate on Monday, Feb. 20, with a community service project.

For more information on the schedule, to register or to purchase tickets ($7-$15 youth; $12-$25 adult), visit the festival’s homepage. The Friday Kickoff event at the Franklin Institute (222 N. 20th Street), with Mayor Michael Nutter in attendance, will be held from 4 – 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

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Colette Fu’s Photo Binge opens tonight at UCAL

Posted on 10 February 2012 by WPL

Colette Fu’s ‘High Performance’ (2004).


Here’s another art show opening to add to your Second Friday Gallery Crawl list. Stop by the University City Arts League from 6 – 8 p.m. for Colette Fu’s exhibit opening reception. Photo Binge features Colette Fu’s photo collage work and some of her popup books. The photo collage components were photographed in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and Nebraska over two years with 35mm film and scanned into Photoshop. Here is a link to some images from the popup books included in the show:

Colette says that the title “mirrors [her] state of mind while photographing – an impulsive, out of control state that arises from similar rituals like binge eating, smoking, speeding, drinking, and shopping.” Colette chose sports related backgrounds as “a reference to bone, sweat, desire, spectatorship, competition, achievement and the repetition of continually judging, evaluating and comparing.”

Event’s Facebook page. Open through February 29, Monday thru Friday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday: by appointment.

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40th St Artist Invitational opening is great success

Posted on 16 January 2012 by emmae

Despite the cold, the intimate gallery space at 4007 Chestnut was filled to the gills Friday night to see new work by West Philadelphia visual artists. The invitational format of the show, in which the artists currently in residence at the 40th Street Artist-in-Residence Program invited other artists whose work they admire, made for a diverse and full bodied show. Althea Baird’s tracing paper and india ink print (pictured left) was a highlight, bearing resemblance to a sepia toned photograph, and spoke to, in her words, “our body’s ability to remember.”

Other favorites were Corina Dross’ detailed portraits of graphic artist Lynda Barry and writer Zora Neale Hurston, designed to look like oversized playing cards, and Celestine Wilson Hughes’ bold glass sculptures “Black Madonna” and “Women of the Universe Do Not Drown in Three Feet of Water” (pictured below) which were shaped like cabinets containing human hearts and were reminiscent of Mexican folk art’s raw renditions of love and death. “They have to do with women, and with fear,” said Hughes during the brief artist talk.

But it was born and raised West Philadelphian Brian Bazemore’s work that perhaps best summarized the exuberance, delicate hope, and community pride that was palpable in all the works Friday night and in the crowd itself – his approximately 10 ft by 4 ft wooden “testimonial” board made with plywood and spray paint bore the inscription “Use each setback, disappointment and success as a cue to push forward/ahead with more determination than before.”

The show is running until January 27.

– Emma Eisenberg

Photos by Emma Eisenberg.


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Friends and Neighbors exhibit opens Friday

Posted on 12 January 2012 by WPL

Artists from the 40th Street Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program have invited 11 West Philadelphia-based artists to show their work at the program’s annual exhibition Friends and Neighbors. The show opening reception is tomorrow, Jan. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the 4007 Chestnut Street gallery (1st floor). Apart from seeing the exhibition’s dynamic and diverse artwork there will be an opportunity to meet the participating artists and talk with the 2011-2012 40st AIR residents. The talk is scheduled for 7 p.m. See the flyer below for more information on featured artists. Here‘s the event’s Facebook Page.


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Artclash Collective’s 8th Annual Fun-A-Day January Initiative

Posted on 03 January 2012 by emmae

Photo from
(Fun-A-Day 2009).

Every January for the past eight years, Philadelphia-based artist group Artclash Collective has been inspiring people of all ages, artistic persuasions, and walks of life to make art through their Fun-A-Day initiative. The idea behind it is simple: anyone can participate as long as they select an artistic act to do every day throughout the month of January. At the end of the month, each artist assembles the resulting 31-part exhibit for the ArtClash Collective to arrange in its annual show. Daily art projects have been as diverse as making the bed, writing a haiku, drawing a penguin in a different outfit, writing art jokes, posting a Jay-Z quote to your facebook profile, and learning a new song.

Fun-A-Day is now active in 20 U.S. cities as well as Dundee, Scotland, and Montreal.

The works produced by Philadelphians will be exhibited in the 2012 Fun-A-Day show at Studio 34 at 4522 Baltimore Avenue on February 11 and 12.  The exhibit will also feature an open mic event for those making daily literary art. Studio 34 reports that in past years, over 500 people have turned out to see the Fun-A-Day projects.

For more information, visit Studio 34’s and Artclash Collective’s websites.


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RENT School Edition playing at The Rotunda

Posted on 07 December 2011 by WPL

Rent School Edition logoReminder: Locally produced musical RENT: School Edition is playing at The Rotunda (4014 Walnut Street) through December 23. The producers and high school students cast in the show have done an amazing job. There are eight shows remaining: Saturday Dec. 10 @1 p.m., Sunday Dec. 11 @1 p.m., Sunday Dec. 11 @7 .pm., Saturday Dec. 17 @1 p.m., Sunday Dec. 18 @1 p.m., Sunday Dec. 18 @7 p.m., Thursday Dec. 22 @7 p.m., and Friday Dec. 23 @3 p.m.

Tickets are $10 ($5 for under 18, college students w/ ID, and senior citizens). To buy tickets go here.

Here’s a story in City Paper on this project, and here are some scenes from the show:

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