Category Archives: Community Happenings

Grammy Nominated and Award Winning Children’s Music Artists Perform at Smith Memorial Playground for 5th Annual Kidchella Music Festival

Philadelphia, PA (June 28, 2018) The 5th annual Kidchella Music Festival is in full swing at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse with remaining concerts on Friday, July 20 and August 17!  Each date will feature live music in the 6 ½ acre Playground by nationally acclaimed Children’s Music artists, youth performances, arts stations, and yummy food trucks.   

 At 4pm families are invited to Smith for free play in the Playground and family fun in the Youth Arts Zone which includes a youth music stage, arts stations, and giveaways.  Families may purchase dinner from a variety of popular food trucks or bring food for a picnic in the Playground.  

 The main concert will begin at 6pm and will feature a fantastic lineup of family-friendly music curated by Jeff Bogle of OWTK.com and emceed by Kathy O’Connell of WXPN Kids Corner.  Shine and the Moonbeams (Soul/R&B) and Grammy-nominated The Alphabet Rockers (positive Hip Hop) will perform in July and Red Yarn (foot stomping Americana Folk) and Vered and the Babes (Doo Woop inspired Acoustic Rock) will perform in August. 

Smith’s Executive Director Meg Wise noted, “Kidchella started in 2014 as a small performance on our front lawn for an audience of a few hundred people and grew to a summer-long concert series in the Playground welcoming over 2,000 children and adults from all sections of the City and surrounding suburbs as well as out-of-state visitors. This year, we are excited to give as many families as possible the opportunity to experience this awesome event by offering discounted tickets to PA ACCESS cardholders and free admission for families participating in our Play For All community programs.” 

 Kidchella is a rain or shine outdoor event.  Tickets are $10 per person (children age 1+ and adults) or $5 for Smith members and PA ACCESS Cardholders.  Purchase tickets, memberships, and learn more at: https://smithplayground.ticketleap.com/kid2018/

 Support for Kidchella provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, MetroKids, Power Crunch, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Inspire, Kia Motors America, Simple Society, Honest Tea, and Lee’s Hoagie House.  

Shine and the Moonbeams are singer-songwriter Shawana Kemp and guitarist John Heagle, two New York musicians who have collectively been in every musical genre from Musical Theatre to the circus. Learn more at Shine & the Moonbeams (Facebook) 

 Alphabet Rockers are known as the premiere children’s hip hop artists who focus on social change and racial justice. Learn more at www.alphabetrockers.com  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Contact: Zoe Lowry                                                 zoe@smithplayground.org                                                             215.765.4325 x101 

Indego Bike Profile

by Manuel McDonnell-Smith

Studies show that there are many benefits from riding bikes. It only takes a few hours a week to improve your general health. Riding is low impact, a good muscle workout, fun and easy to do. Check out the profile of Al Harris and share his Indego Bike experience.

Al Harris, from 32nd Street in Mantua is the founder of Team OverTime and Cancer Who? His foundation helps people with Cancer by going to chemo, radiation, doctor’s appointments and more. Al’s also a regular Indego Bike Rider and ambassador for the service.

PJ: What’s been the best thing about Indego for you?

Al: “I think the bikes have encouraged me to move around the city more. Just from riding from station to station, I’ve gotten to experience the scenery and much more of the neighborhoods.

PJ: How about people who are afraid of riding or getting back on a bike, what would you say?

Al: Just using the bikes is a great experience. They are not super heavy bikes, they are great to move around in, easy to switch, and fun to ride.

PJ: Tell us about one of your favorite rides using Indego?

Al: One of my best rides was from 41st and Lancaster back to Drexel University. I really enjoyed being able to be up close with all of the scenery and being able to see and experience differently types of people on the ride.

Indego & Al will be collaborating on a group bike ride and walk at the end of May. Find out more about this event and his organization at https://www.facebook.com/TOTCANCERWho/

 

New Parkside Fields Announced

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA
MAYOR’S OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS

For Immediate Release: June 20, 2018
Contact: David Gould, 267-240-2010, david.gould@phila.gov

Parkside Fields Announced as One of First Rebuild Projects to Start Later This Year

PHILADELPHIA – Today, at an event at Parkside Evans Playground, Mayor Jim Kenney was joined by Councilman Curtis Jones and City officials to announce Parkside Fields as one of the first projects to launch under Rebuild.

The project will create two new public fields that will serve the schools and sports programs in and around the Parkside community – many of which have limited options for home fields to practice or play on.

“Too often I hear stories about our youth sports teams who have to travel to the suburbs to compete,” said Mayor Kenney. “They don’t have fields that are good enough to play on in their neighborhood, so they are forced to travel to the suburbs to play. Our kids should have the same quality facilities as the teams they compete against and have the opportunity to play in their own community. They deserve a place they are proud of.”

The Parkside Fields project will be completed in two phases. The first phase will convert a grassy area near the Parkside Evans Playground on Parkside Avenue into a public practice field for many of the neighborhood sports teams. The second phase of the project will renovate a second field that will be used for games.

“For some, it’s a field of dreams,” said Councilman Curtis Jones of the upcoming Rebuild project. “For inner-city youth, it’s a pathway to scholarships, college campuses, and a better life.”

The first phase of the project will start this year as a part of a small set of sites that will launch using the $8 million in funding that has already been approved for Rebuild in the City’s FY2018 capital budget. Most projects, including the second phase of the Parkside Fields project, will begin after the majority of Rebuild’s funding becomes available through bond proceeds that will be repaid by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax. The bonds won’t be issued until after the tax has been upheld by the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court.

The other Rebuild sites expected to start this year will be announced in the coming weeks.

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Rebuild
Rebuild is a historic investment in Philadelphia’s parks, recreation centers, playgrounds and libraries. Rebuild seeks to improve community spaces, empower and engage communities, and promote economic opportunity in the design and construction industries through diversity and inclusion. 

CENTENNIAL COMMONS OPENS IN WEST FAIRMOUNT PARK ON JUNE 13

Press Release

Cari Feiler Bender: 610-416-1216

What:   Ribbon cutting for Centennial Commons 

Join city officials, nonprofits leaders, and community representatives to formally open the first phase of this new park-within-the-park.

When:   Wednesday, June 13, 2018 (Rain or Shine)

12pm-12:15pm   Walk-through and photo op with VIPs

12:15pm-1pm     Speaking program

1pm                           Ribbon Cutting

Where:   Parkside Avenue at 41st Street, West Fairmount Park

Who: 

Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia

Jamie Gauthier, Executive Director, Fairmount Park Conservancy

Michael Di Berardinis, Managing Director, City of Philadelphia

Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

Vanessa Lowery Brown, PA State Representative

Jannie Blackwell, Philadelphia City Council

Judilee Reed and Cara Ferrentino, William Penn Foundation

Patrick Morgan, Philadelphia Program Director, Knight Foundation

Representative, Philadelphia Streets Department

Representative, Philadelphia Commerce Department

Debra McCarty, Commissioner, Philadelphia Water Department

Chris Spahr and Joyce Smith, Centennial Commons CDC

Calla Cousar, East Parkside Residents Association

Details: This site was the central hub of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 but has been under supported for decades. With support from the William Penn Foundation and Knight Foundation, Fairmount Park Conservancy and its partners retained Studio Bryn Hanes to upgrade a 67,000-square-foot-area along Parkside Avenue.  The new design features freshly laid walking paths on what was before simply lawn, a rain garden featuring native plants, giant porch swings, and 68 new trees that will increasingly provide shade as they grow. Future phases of the project will be announced at the event.

 

Fairmount Park Conservancy exists to champion Philadelphia’s parks. We lead capital projects and historic preservation efforts, foster neighborhood park stewardship, attract and leaverage investments, and develop innovative programs throughout the 10, 200 acres that include Fairmount Park and more than 200 neighborhood parks around the city. For more information, please visit myphillypark.org, join us at facebook.com/fairmountparkconservancy, and follow us on instagram and Twitter @myphillypark.

West Park Arts Fest – Saturday June 9th, 2018

Founded by West Park Cultural Center in 2008, the West Park Arts Fest is moving to South Concourse Drive in West Fairmount Park. The site is adjacent to the Centennial Commons project along Parkside Avenue- an exciting public space project by Fairmount Park Conservancy as part of Philadelphia’s Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative.

Fairmount Park Conservancy and Mural Arts Philadelphia are joining West Park Cultural Center as organizers for this free public event advancing the festival’s mission to bring communities together in the park, promote greater awareness of the area’s history and heritage, while celebrating the arts and cultural diversity of Philadelphia. The festival embraces partnership and has over the years been made possible in great part to the participation of many arts, cultural and community partners from West Philadelphia and across Philadelphia.

On Saturday June 9th from 12pm to 5pm attendees of all ages will enjoy stages of exciting culturally diverse performances by some of the area’s best dancers, musicians, vocalists, and spoken word artists. Some of the talent includes the popular West Philadelphia Orchestra, Badd Kitti, Gretchen Elise Music, Lauren Putty White, The Philly Clicks, Jasmin Yahne Dance Company, and many more. The event will engage attendees in dance, art making, and many other activities including guided historical trolley tours through the Centennial District. The Franklin Institute will showcase prototypes of its new exhibition “Game Masters” as well as providing PACTS program activities. Attendees can buy unique items in the Handmade Market, browse other vendors and enjoy refreshments from diverse food vendors. An estimated 3,000 are expected to attend. There are Sponsor and Vendor opportunities.

Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Arts & Culture Program, with the support of ArtPlace America, will commission one artist or artist team to create an outdoor art installation for Arts Fest with interactive elements that draw their inspiration from the neighborhood. Festival goers will also see a standing timeline created by Global Philadelphia that documents Parkside’s history and heritage with pictures and text.

To see more visit http://www.westparkcultural.org /westparkartsfest or call 215-473-7810

Niesha Kennedy, PR Manager West Park Cultural nkennedy@westparkcultural.org

Chess Cadets Championing West Philadelphia- by Jasmine Bullock

Chess mentor Fred Austin Working with students

Throughout the years, movies like Life of a King and Queen of Katwe have shown us how small, local clubs can change lives. This is happening at the 40th and Walnut Streets Library. The Walnut St. West Chess Cadets Chess Club has been practicing and competing for approximately ten years. The club is sponsored by the Local Friends of the Walnut St. West Library lead by group president, Alice Wells.

Each year 30 children ages 6 to 18 participate in the Walnut Street Libraries Chess Club. Children must be in first grade to attend and many of them return for several years. The current program consists of 32 students ranging from age 6 to 13. The children are expected to attend club sessions each week in order to make progress throughout the year. The students are broken into four groups based on skill level. Their continued participation and weekly commitment is exemplified through the wide range of growth throughout the year!

Student success would not be possible without the dedication of 8 coaches. Most of the coaches and mentors are solicited via word of mouth, the After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) organization and local community groups. Current coach and mentor, Fred Austin, stumbled upon the club in 2011 when searching for a group to play chess with. He was impressed with the enthusiasm of the children and decided to share his talent and love for the game. In past years, former participants have returned to coach younger students while in high school. The club also has unwavering parent support. Each week, parents take turns helping during meeting sessions.

The team participates in approximately four tournaments, sponsored by ASAP, per year and has had several victories as individual competitors and as a team. In their most recent tournament, the Checkmate Violence Tournament at Temple University, Walnut St. West Chess Cadets competed with approximately 300 other participants and went home with four trophies including the 1st place prize!

Each year, the Walnut St. West Chess Cadets Chess Club meets on Wednesdays from September through June. Students are required to complete applications, which are available from librarians. The program runs on a rolling application process. Once spaces are filled, any additional applicants are placed on a waiting list. All students must re-apply each year in August.

For more information about the Walnut West Chess Cadets, contact library personnel at

https://www.freelibrary.org or wswlibraryfriends@gmail.com.