The 6th Annual West Park Arts Fest is happening this Saturday, June 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the theme “Friends Across Cultures.” The festival celebrates the richness of art and culture in Philadelphia and focuses on the resources in the Fairmount Park Centennial District. Around 2,000 people are expected to attend this free public event that brings together more than 30 arts, cultural, nature, science and community organizations from West Philadelphia and across the city.
The festival activities will include a youth Chess Tournament hosted by A.S.A.P., drawing and theatre workshops, storytelling, science demonstrations, book giveaways, face painting, and more. There will also be live music and dance performances by more than 100 professional artists and 200 talented children and youth. The event will also include a free guided historical trolley tour of the Centennial District with Kathy Lee, educator and Associate Producer of the Trudy Haynes Show. Please check out the flyer below for more information or visit this page.
Founded in 2011 by Repstyles Crew members Steve “Believe” Lunger and Mark “Metal” Wong, Hip Hop Fundamentals work to “empower and educate” local youth by teaching academics and social issues through hip hop assemblies. Their new hour-long “Civil Rights Movement” show (view video below), which will be performed at 10 Philadelphia public schools, will use dance, history lectures, music, interactive workshops, and audience participation to showcase the critical role students played in advancing civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. A free May 5 public performance of the show at Clark Park kicked off the crew’s fundraising efforts.
During the show, students will have the opportunity to unite to “overcome prejudice, breaking unjust laws, writing letters to elected officials, marching and protesting, and boycotting,” Hip Hop Fundamentals’ Education Director, Aaron “Professor Peabody” Troisi. Hip Hop Fundamentals five-performer cast will read samples from different Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. letters and speeches, including “I Have a Dream” and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” as well as highlight examples of student leadership and involvement in the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-Ins, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the Freedom Rides.
“Civil Rights Movement” will also illuminate hip hop’s connection to the historic movement, with particular focus on Afrika Bambaataa and other founders of the politically and socially-conscious genres. According to Troisi, in drawing this connection, Hip Hop Fundamentals will show how hip hop “is one of the many legacies of the Civil Rights Movement; an empowering modern culture in which young people play a critical role.”
The tour will kick off before the end of this month and last through the end of the school year. While Hip Hop Fundamentals is still hammering out schedule and location details, the crew hopes to perform in West Philly’s Samuel Gompers and Overbrook Elementary schools, as well as Dimner Beeber Middle School.
According to Troisi, all funds raised through Kickstarter will go towards tour overhead, which costs roughly $1,000 per show for performers, transportation, production, and other expenses, with no costs passed on to the schools. He said some of the money will also fund arts programming provided free to local high-need schools, and hiring local young dancers for HHP’s youth-teaching-youth mentorship framework.
“We are hoping to bring empowering arts programming back to Philly’s public schools. We are hoping to work with and educate the youth in our communities who need it most,” he said. “This campaign has been so successful, it is obvious that our city is starved for good, educational arts programming. We’re honored to be a part of providing that to youth in our city.”
With the summer fast approaching, many parents are now searching for information on day and residential camps available in our area, so we are trying to keep our Summer Camps page constantly updated as we get more information. Recently, we have updated the page with three more camps, two in Philadelphia and one in Poconos with transportation provided from a pick-up location in Philly. To see our list of summer camps, go to: http://www.westphillylocal.com/summer-camps-2013/
If you’re a camp owner, staff member or counselor and would like to share information about your camp with West Philly residents, please drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
FYI, on Saturday, May 4, there will be a 5K walkathon through West Philly (starting in Clark Park, circling Kingsessing and Malcom X Park, and ending at the Calvary Center) to honor the leadership of women and girls and to support the wonderful West Philly-based girls’ leadership Camp Sojourner. The walkathon begins at 10:00 a.m. and is followed by a celebration at Calvary (48th & Baltimore) from 12:15 to 2:00 p.m. To register online go to: stayclassy.org/GLC.
This is a family-friendly event and even if you can’t walk, you’re welcome to come to the celebration event and support Philly girls and women.
There is also a chance to help another great local camp. You can combine your love of sports and theater by participating in the Curio Theatre Summer Camp Scholarship fundraiser. If you buy tickets for the Phillies/Marlins game on May 2, 2013, 7:05, net proceeds will go to support the Reuben Mitchell Scholarship Fund. Individual tickets are $32 (or 4 for only $100.00!) For more information contact Lewis Mellman at email@example.com or call 267-252-6648.
It looks like it will be a perfect night for some stargazing. Tonight from 6:00 – 9:30 p.m. two West Philly locations, the Woodlands Cemetery and the University of the Sciences, are inviting neighbors for Astronomy Night where you can check out the night skies and meet Philly-area astronomers. At the Woodlands (40th & Woodland), stargazing will be in the Center Circle, the highest point in the cemetery. You are also welcome to bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic with your friends and family.
Stargazing at the University of the Sciences will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Quad area on Woodland Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd Streets.
On Saturday, families are invited for Discovery Day at Clark Park that begins at 11 a.m. Kids can meet local scientists and science students, explore the park and its inhabitants and enjoy hands-on activities, such as sun gazing and creepy-crawly creatures.
The Minor Threats at the PA State Scholastic Chess Championships in March.
Members of the Minor Threats, a chess club comprised of 2nd-6th graders from four West Philly schools, have just returned from the SuperNationals that took place this past weekend in Nashville, Tenn., and have some good news: the team won two trophies! Mitchell Elementary finished 28th place in the team K-5 U900 division. A team member, Tahvon Hughes, finished 35th among individuals. There were 393 kids playing in the division.
The Philadelphia Chess Society returned from SuperNationals, a tournament that only happens once every four years, with a total of nine trophies and it’s great to know that the Minor Threats, the team that so many of our readers supported with financial contributions and words of encouragement, contributed to this success (read our first story about the club and its fundraising efforts here).
Jason Bui, the Minor Threats coach, has sent us an email thanking everyone who supported his club and the Philadelphia Chess Society:
“It was truly an awesome and adventurous experience for us. On behalf of all the participating PCS clubs, students, parents and guests, THANK YOU!”
Penn Museum is organizing two great family events this month and inviting West Philly kids and their families to attend.
Philadelphia READS! community night (free):
On Wednesday, Apr 10, Penn Museum celebrates literacy with a free community night and kickoff to a month-long book drive, from 5 to 8 p.m. The event, co-hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s Groundswell Initiative, will include storytelling in the galleries, dance performances, a poetry workshop, and a hieroglyph-writing workshop. Guests are asked to bring a new or gently used children’s book to contribute to Philadelphia READS, a program that provides books to educators in the city.
On Sunday, April 21, “All roads lead to Rome,” as the museum celebrates the founding of Rome (753 BCE) with an afternoon of gladiatorial bouts, toga wrapping, ancient hairdressing, arts and crafts, a pasta demo, pop-up poetry readings in the galleries, and a talk about Rome. This event will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. and is free with Museum admission.