Communal and Cultural Growth at the Village of Arts and Humanities

By Connor P. Mon, February 10, 2020

The Free Library cares about digital inclusion, equity, and access, and has expanded beyond the walls of our 54 neighborhood libraries to partner with area nonprofits, providing free access to technology and programming to increase the digital skills of community members in areas that need it most. In anticipation of announcing our next Hot Spot, we are shining a light on our current partner organizations.

The Village of Arts and Humanities is both a cornerstone and pillar to the Glenwood and Fairhill neighborhoods in North Philadelphia. It resides across more than a dozen buildings just south of Lehigh Avenue on and around Germantown Avenue. Originally the site held the Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center, founded by Arthur Lee Hall in the 1960s. Hall provided a venue for artistic learning and output in the community, and this practice continues today at the Village, alongside numerous other social initiatives.

The Village grounds nearly all of its work in the arts, doing so primarily through two main initiatives: "Learning Through the Arts" and "Building Through the Arts". Below is a list of some of their main programs and initiatives.
 

"Learning Through the Arts" Programs

  • People’s Paper Co-op
    A women-focused art, advocacy, and social entrepreneurship initiative, that seeks to transform the narrative of re-entry for community members returning from the criminal justice system.
     
  • CRED Philly
    Tri-annual arts and culture publication dedicated to amplifying the voice and vision of Philadelphia’s young artists.
     
  • Village Youth
    Free, multi-level arts engagement program for youth ages 9 to 19, focused on art, education, and advocacy.
     
  • PhillyEarth
    The Village’s environmental education, urban farming, and youth leadership program.

 

"Building Through the Arts" Programs

  • Creative Campus
    The Village's plan to fully utilize its campus of 8 buildings and 12 art parks, reinforcing and expanding its organizational capacity by hosting organizations, artists, and creative entrepreneurs.
     
  • Art Parks / Preservation
    The Village’s public art offers vibrant testimony to the role art-making can play in restoring urban landscapes and bringing community together.
     
  • Community Economic Development
    The Village employs arts-based community development practices to create a vibrant and safe Germantown-Lehigh Commercial Corridor.
     
  • SPACES Artist-in-Resident Program
    SPACES matches visiting artists with neighborhood residents to investigate the community's needs, identify its opportunities, and celebrate and amplify its gifts.
     

While maintaining a connection to the arts and its heritage, the Village of Arts and Humanities has broadened its scope and reach in helping the citizens of North Philadelphia. Anyone interested in learning more about what the Village has to offer can call 215-225-7830, visit www.villagearts.org, or simply stop in at 2544 Germantown Avenue.

Ile Ife Park, located next to and on the grounds of the Village of Arts and Humanities
Ile Ife Park, located next to and on the grounds of the Village of Arts and Humanities
Arthur Lee Hall teaching dance in the 1970s
Arthur Lee Hall teaching dance in the 1970s
The Village is located on a thriving commercial corridor with bus and subway access
The Village is located on a thriving commercial corridor with bus and subway access

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