Company Profile:
Philadelphia Education Fund

Philadelphia is a city with many thriving, diverse, and uncommon companies and organizations. This mix of small businesses and large corporations is part of the reason why Philly is such a lively and intriguing urban center. Many of these organizations have the goal of improving different facets of the city, including programs such as One Step Away and Philabundance.

One extraordinary organization that is doing good in the city is The Philadelphia Education Fund. Their mission is to improve Philadelphia’s public education system so that students are prepared for their future college and career opportunities.

“We are committed to three basic elements that create one path,” says Darren Spielman, CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund. These elements include providing excellent teachers in the classroom, keeping students in school until graduation, and ensuring that all students have access to further education and career opportunities.

The Philadelphia Education Fund has nine different programs within the organization that advance their mission. One of these is their Teacher Residency program, which is specifically for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professionals. “People who have a STEM major in college are usually led by their professors to pursue careers that aren’t teaching,”  says Carolyn Rulli, Director of the Philadelphia Teacher Residency. “That’s why there is such a large need for STEM teachers in Philadelphia public schools.”

The program implements a model that is different from most pre-teaching methods. The average student graduating with an education degree will spend around fourteen weeks student-teaching; the Philadelphia Teacher Residency (PTR) program, however, has a different approach. Students that attend UPenn’s Graduate School of Education or Drexel’s School of Education go through the PTR program and spend a full year shadowing experienced Philadelphia school teachers. After the year is up, they commit to spending at least three years teaching in a public or charter school in Philadelphia.

Is this model successful? Absolutely. Nationally, 50% of teachers will leave their first classroom within a year, and the number is even higher in urban areas. The PTR program produces statistics that blow the national average away, despite the urban location, with a teacher retention rate of 85% over a three year period. During this time, new teachers have the full support of the PTR staff.

There is also evidence that classrooms with teacher residents have students who feel more supported. “We work closely with an evaluator in order to track student improvement,” says Rulli. “Past surveys indicate that students generally feel that resident teachers help meet their individual needs.” PTR will soon perform a new study that will collect data such as grades and PSSA scores in order to gather concrete statistics that show the improved conditions of schools that use the PTR model.

The Philadelphia Education Fund as a whole is improving the education system in an area that produces less-than-ideal statistics. This success derives not only from the successful model that they use, but also from the dedicated and hard-working individuals involved in the organization. “Teaching is such a [powerful] profession,” says Paul Lazro, PTR’s recruitment manager. “It provides an opportunity for an exciting career that will make a difference. It’s not your average nine-to-five job.”

If you are interested in getting involved, you can go to their website for more information. Also be sure to check out this video of a resident teacher’s experience with the PTR program.

For more information, you can contact Danielle Hagerty at danielle.hagerty@temple.edu.

Top 5 Career Listings:
Up For The Challenge

This week’s job and internship listings are for those can step up to the plate and prove that they have what it takes to master complicated skills and overcome obstacles.

Campus Philly: Campus Philly Marketing Manager
Interested in marketing and looking for a part-time job? Campus Philly is looking to hire someone who can help them with marketing, advertising, and public relations. You would be responsible for the management and sales of three Campus Philly projects: College Day, the Student Insider Guide to Philadelphia, and the email advertising program. Come and be a part of the awesome Campus Philly team!

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: MBA Intern
Up for a challenge? AstraZeneca is a global pharmaceutical business that focuses on the development, manufacturing, and marketing of prescription medications. They are seeking a full-time intern who graduated with a degree in finance, business, or marketing. This internship is a part of their internship program, Leaders in Finance Tomorrow (LIFT). Responsibilities would include budgeting, expense reporting, deal analysis, and auditing.

InterAct Theatre Company: Production Apprenticeship
InterAct Theatre Company, located not far from Rittenhouse Square, produces contemporary performances in order to educate and entertain their audiences. They are looking for two well-qualified recent graduates who are interested in technical theater work. The apprenticeship would include tasks such as administrative help, stage production, and audio and video installation. A stipend is included!

Mayor’s Office of Sustainability: Outreach and Design Intern
For lovers of all things green: The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is looking for an intern to help them with outreach and graphic design. This internship aims to advance the goals of the city’s sustainability plan, Greenworks Philadelphia. Responsibilities of the internship include graphic design assistance, support with climate adaption efforts, outreach and data management, and help with progress report. 

Lima Consulting Group: Solutions Engineer
Lima Consulting Group is a company that helps businesses measure their online marketing strategies. They are seeking to employ a candidate who is passionate about digital marketing! Right now, they are one of the fastest growing companies in Philadelphia. They need someone who will be able to travel, work with JavaScript and Adobe Analytics, and has international experience as well as Spanish and Portuguese language skills.

You can email Danielle Hagerty for more info at danielle.hagerty@temple.edu.

Top 5 Events: Art & Design

So many art-related events are going on in the city this week! Be sure to check them out to get to know Philly’s art scene and learn more about some famous works.

Hidden Histories

When: February 26th, 5 pm – 9 pm Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art — 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia Price: $14 with valid student ID

There’s a lot you may not know about the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s medieval collection. Discover stories, secrets, and hidden meanings behind the objects in this gallery event. It is free after admission to the museum.

Philadelphia Community Exhibition 2014

When: February 27th, 12 pm – 5 pm  Where: 3rd Street Gallery – 58 N 2nd St, Philadelphia Price: Free!

Check out some up-and-coming Philadelphia artists and see new work from others that you already know! This exhibition displays the work of Center City artists and celebrates the rich art scene of Philadelphia.

Broken Peaces Tour and Talk with Isaiah Zagar

When: February 27th, 6 pm – 7:30 pm Where: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens – 1020 South St, Philadelphia  Price: $15

Find out how the creation of the Magic Gardens and the book “The Yellow Birds” relate to each other at this talk. The creator of the garden, Isaiah Zagar, will be speaking about the book, the garden, and the parts of his life that influenced his art. Reservations are required!

11th Annual Silent Art Auction

When: February 28th, 7 pm – 9 pm  Where: URBN Center – Filbert St, Philadelphia  Price: $10-$15

Join Drexel’s Arts Administration program for this year’s Silent Art Auction! Bid on more than just artwork — there will be gift certificates, tickets to performances, and interns for a day. There will also be live music and drinks! Tickets for Drexel students are $10, while general admission is $15.

Native American Voices: The People — Here and Now Exhibition Opening

When: March 1st, 11 am – 4 pm  Where: Penn Museum — 3260 South St, Philadelphia Price: $10 with valid student ID

Learn about Native American cultures at this exhibition opening. There will be dance performances, discussions, demonstrations, and Native American foods. This event is free after museum admission.

If you’re looking for more ideas about things to do in the Philadelphia region, check out our calendar HERE.

You can contact Simona DeDominicis for more info at simona.dedominicis@gmail.com.

The Philadelphia Prominent:
How to Succeed in Business

Ask Arcadia University students about Danielle Bartholomew, and you will be regaled with stories of her kindness, bright smile, and high intelligence. A passionate student, Bartholomew has also traveled extensively and been involved in many extracurricular activities. Most impressively, she has overcome the dreaded triangle of college, which dictates that there are three key aspects to college life (a social life, sleep, and good grades), and that college students can only have two at a time. Bartholomew knows more than her fair share of students on campus, maintains a strong GPA, and gets enough beauty rest to keep herself looking constantly refreshed.

But Bartholomew’s success extends beyond college life. She is one of the lucky (read: very hardworking) students who has solid opportunities for post-graduation life. It is through her diligence and resourcefulness that she has been able to successfully navigate the often overwhelming landscape of opportunities and pathways that come with being a business major. If you’re looking to succeed in business (or in your higher-ed experience), read on!

 

Flores: Let’s start with the basics and your background. How old are you? Where were you born? Where have you gone to school? And what’s your major?

Bartholomew: I’m 21 years old and I was born in Boyertown, PA, a rather small town and a stark contrast to Philadelphia. I’m a senior International Business & Culture major from Arcadia University and I’ve been fortunate enough to have also spent semesters at City University in London and La Fundación Ortega y Gasset in Toledo, Spain.

Flores: What made you choose International Business as your major?

Bartholomew: When I was 16, I had the privilege to spend a year in Italy as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student. I had never been out of the country, or even on a plane before, but I knew there was so much more to the world than the sheltered bubble of my hometown. So I decided leave my family and friends, hop on a plane, and live somewhere new for 12 months! It was a very humbling and truly transformative experience. New cultures, languages, and people enthralled me. I knew that moving forward I needed to incorporate this passion into my career. I decided on Arcadia because it is a prominent school for study abroad and has so many unique opportunities to study abroad. How I became an International Business major is funny actually, because Arcadia had two majors that had “international” in the title. I started off as an International Studies major, went to London, took a politics class, and realized I hated arguing. And so ended my brief love affair with IS. The next semester I switched to the other international major, which was business, fell in love with it, and never looked back.

Flores: How have you excelled in the classroom? Do you have any advice for students that are just getting started?

Bartholomew: This is a tough question because everyone learns differently – but I am very much an organizer and a list person when it comes to my studies. Ask my roommate about my shoe collection and I’m sure she would laugh at the word “organizer.” But it helps me to see all of my tasks and assignments written in a daily planner. I can visualize what needs to be done and set my focus accordingly. My advice to other students would be to try different tools and methods and see what works best for you. Some people don’t like using planners and instead program reminders into their phones, others are able to simply remember all that has to be done, and that is entirely acceptable. You just have to test the waters and find what works best for you.

Flores: What have you done outside of the classroom to move forward? And what have you gained from these activities?

Bartholomew: I was very involved on campus, in everything from the executive board for orientation to hosting a weekly radio show with my best friend. Looking back on my undergrad experience, I am so thankful for these activities because they equipped me with very useful and transferable skills in the business world including public speaking, leadership abilities, and critical thinking but also minor, but super-important, skills like formal email etiquette. I strongly suggest that every student become involved with something, anything at their school that they are passionate about. The experience and skills you learn will give you a much needed competitive advantage in the “real world”.

Flores: Many students struggle to find their professional identity. Where did you learn how to conduct yourself in the business world, while still a student?

Bartholomew: Professionalism does not come naturally to everyone and sometimes it can be hard to know what is considered “appropriate” and what is not, and that is okay. For this, I would reference my previous response and really stress the importance of getting involved and obtaining leadership experience. Through my activities, I had exposure to actual business opportunities and was able to learn and grow professionally through them.

Flores: Being International Business, you’ve been abroad a few times. Where did you go and overall what has studying abroad given you as a student and as a businesswoman?

Bartholomew: I have been very fortunate and was able to study in Italy, England, Spain and Mexico. Each experience was unique, influential, and had a large impact on my development and growth as a student, professional, and world citizen. One of the most important skills I learned from studying abroad was the ability to live, work, and thrive in cultures and surroundings that are different than my own. This is easily transferable to an office atmosphere where you have many different work styles, traditions, and expectations.

Flores: What will you be doing after graduation?

Bartholomew: I’m currently working part-time at an international digital marketing firm in Philadelphia. It’s been a wonderful experience and hopefully, if all goes well, after graduation I will be offered a full-time position!

Flores: Any general words of wisdom for other students?

Bartholomew: My biggest piece of advice to students is to take advantage of all the opportunities for growth that are all around you as an undergraduate. These experiences will provide you with valuable knowledge of yourself, others, and the world. Also be sure to utilize the tools available to you as well! I found both my internship and job on Campus Philly’s online internship database. The opportunities are out there; you just have to take them!

Mardi Gras Events in Philly

It’s almost Mardi Gras! There are many Fat Tuesday events happening over the next week, so make sure you mark your calendars for these music-, food-, and bead-filled events. It may not be New Orleans, but there’s no reason why Philly can’t put on an awesome Mardi Gras party.

Mummers Mardi Gras

When: March 1st, 3 – 9 pm Where: The Piazza at Schmidt’s – 1001 N 2nd St, Philadelphia

Join the Philadelphia Mummers for a new Mardi Gras tradition! The Piazza will be holding a huge event with food trucks, street performers, live music, and more. This is a 21+ event and tickets are $15.

Mardi Gras Festival

When: March 1st, 4 – 11 pm Where: XFINITY Live! — 1100 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia

Fire breathers, stilt walkers, trapeze artists… all this and more will be present at this Mardi Gras Festival! If you’re over 21, come on out and experience one crazy party. There will be live music, drink specials and a giveaway for a trip to New Orleans.

30th Annual Mardi Gras Show with the Wild Bohemians

When: March 4th, 8 – 10:30 pm Where: World Cafe Live – 3025 Walnut St, Philadelphia

Almost 40 musicians will come together to put on an exciting show this Mardi Gras! Hear the New Orleans-style sounds and catch the traditional colored beads that will be thrown into the crowd. Tickets are just $15!

Brazilian Carnaval featuring PhillyBLOCO

When: March 4th, 6 – 9 pm Where: International House – 3701 Chestnut St, Philadelphia

The Brazilian version of Mardi Gras is just as exciting! Come on out to International House Philadelphia to listen to amazing Brazilian music with samba drums, horns, violins, and dancers in costume. There will be snacks available from Chima Brazilian Steakhouse. Tickets are $20.

You can contact Simona DeDominicis for more info at simona.dedominicis@gmail.com.

 

 

Career Fairs:
Are They Important?

You’ve heard about them, you get emails from your school urging you to attend the ones that they host, but you’ve never actually “suited up” and gone to one. Job fairs — are they really that important? The answer is yes. Job fairs can be a wonderful opportunity for your future career in so many ways. They happen regularly throughout the greater Philadelphia area, and a lot of them are free or discounted for students.

Networking Opportunities 
Job fairs are places where employers and employees can come together to talk, network, and learn. All of the participating employers will have stations set up, and you can talk to whichever companies and organizations catch your eye. Bring copies of your resume and start talking! Confidence really is key; make sure to shake the representative’s hands, look them in the eye, smile, and introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to crack a joke or brag a little about your abilities. Being memorable will make a good first impression on employers, which is important because at an average job fair, employers will talk to dozens of people.

Workshops, Resume Reviews, and Mock Interviews 
Many career fairs will have stations with experts to help you with your resumes, talk to you about a particular career-related topic, and perform mock interviews to help you practice your pitching skills. For example, if you bring a copy of your resume to an editing station, a designated expert will help you structure your resume in an appealing way, tell you what you need to add or delete, and give you tips on what companies are looking for. These are great opportunities that can be difficult to find otherwise, so make sure you take advantage of them.

Keeping Your Options Open
Attending a career fair lets you get a taste of a company’s culture. Businesses will have stations set up, and representatives will be there to talk to you about what the company is like. Never saw yourself at a marketing company? You’d be surprised! Keeping an open mind is important; you might find yourself at a company that you never saw yourself at before, but that you now love.

Potential Employment
All of the things that you do at a career fair can potentially lead to a new job. Make sure to dress professionally, be polite, and hand your business card or contact information to everyone you meet. Following up via email with any company you found particularly intriguing is also highly recommended.

Not sure where to start? Check out your school’s career center to see if they are hosting a fair anytime soon. If you missed the awesome NET/WORK event that we had on February 4, you can look at some of the ones that are open to the public on March 6, April 7, and April 10 at various locations. Looking for an internship? Campus Philly can help! We are having a (free!) Online Internship Fair, March 24-28, which you can learn about here. Be sure to also check out our calendar for upcoming career-related events. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to land your perfect job!

You can contact Danielle Hagerty for more info at danielle.hagerty@temple.edu.

One Day in Pompeii:
Special Student Offer

Have you ever wondered how people lived in Pompeii? Want to know what it was like to experience the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius? Are you interested in ancient artifacts? If so, the One Day in Pompeii exhibit at the Franklin Institute is definitely for you. The combination of art, artifacts, and video presentations gives you a complete window into the way the residents of Pompeii lived their daily lives. It’s the next best thing to visiting the city itself!

When you enter the exhibit, you watch a short introduction before moving on to the first galleries. These galleries show objects found around the ruins that give you a glimpse into the lifestyles of the Pompeiians. The most interesting aspect of these objects — besides how beautiful and ornate some of them can be — is how timeless they appear. A hammer that was found there is almost identical to modern hammers, and the Pompeiian silverware could be found in a kitchen today. There are also pictures of what the towns, gardens, and homes would have looked like.

After this first introduction, you enter a room where you get to experience a CGI reenactment of the volcanic eruption. The special effects make this the most exciting part of the whole experience, and you get an hour-by-hour account of what happened to the city in just one day. After seeing this, the doors open to reveal the second set of galleries: the aftereffects of the explosion. Here, the casts of the bodies found in Pompeii are displayed, frozen in the same positions they were in when the volcano erupted. There are also pictures and information about the ruins, including an illustration of each layer of the 12 feet of ash and other debris that covered the city! Seeing how the city thrived and grew and then witnessing its destruction is a powerful experience as well as an educational one.

If you haven’t already seen the One Day in Pompeii exhibit at the Franklin Institute, be sure to check it out. The exhibit runs through April 27, and there is a special offer for students! Tickets are only $10 for an evening ticket on Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays (you just have to show your student ID at the Ticketing Desk). This price also includes admission to the museum.

Regular daytime tickets are $27.50, and evening tickets on all other nights are $18.

For more information, check out their website.

You can contact Simona DeDominicis for more info at simona.dedominicis@gmail.com.

Top 5 Events:
Movies, Music, and More

Lots of films are playing this week around Philly! Check out new movies, old movies, and spectacularly bad movies. If you’re not a film buff, you can go hear music in Chestnut Hill or grab your friends and play Quizzo. Full details below!

The Front House Philm Fest

When: February 19th, 7 pm – 10 pm Where: World Cafe Live — 3025 Walnut St, Philadelphia Price: $20

Three short films and one feature-length movie, all in one night! Front House Pictures will be presenting the best selections from Philadelphia filmmakers. Tickets are $20 to this film-filled night.

Mega-Bad Movie Night: Jurassic Park III

When: February 20th, 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm  Where: Academy of Natural Sciences – 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia Price: $18

Sometimes movies are so bad, they’re good. Join the experts at the Academy of Natural Sciences as they show “Jurassic Park III” and provide witty quips and commentary. There will be complimentary snacks, academy specimens, and fun activities!

Five Fridays — Jordon Dodson and Julietta Curenton

When: February 21st, 7:30 pm – 9 pm Where: St Paul’s Episcopal Church – 126 Black Rock Rd, Oaks  Price: $20

Taking place in the beautiful St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill, this performance by Jordon Dodson and Juiletta Curenton is not to be missed. They play the guitar and the flute, respectively, and will be sharing their talents with a wine reception and meet-and-greet to follow. Tickets are $20 for students with ID.

Quizzo Bowl X

When: February 22nd, 2:30 pm – 8:00 pm  Where: Spirit of Philadelphia – 401 S Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia Price: $50

Join Johnny Goodtimes as he hosts the 10th annual Quizzo Bowl! This year the event will be held on the Spirit of Philadelphia, a luxury liner that will take you around the Delaware River. Tickets are $50 and include entrance to the boat, free food, musical entertainment, Uber rides, and tickets to the after-party at the Lodge at Winterfest.

Movie Monday: The War of the Roses

When: February 24th, 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm  Where: Trocadero Theater — 1003 Arch St, Philadelphia  Price: $3

Come on down to the Trocadero and see the 1989 movie “The War of the Roses”. The movie stars Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas, and Kathleen Turner, and chronicles the failing marriage of a wealthy couple. It’s $3 dollars to get in, and this admission price goes toward a drink or snack of your choice. The event is 21+.

If you’re looking for more ideas about things to do in the Philadelphia region, check out our calendar HERE.

You can contact Simona DeDominicis for more info at simona.dedominicis@gmail.com.

 

 

Top 5 Career Listings:
Diverse Opportunities in Philly

This week’s batch of jobs and internships contains some uncommon and exciting opportunities. If you’re an out-of-the-box kind of person, you’ll find your match here!

Campus Philly: Campus Philly Marketing Manager
Interested in marketing and looking for a part-time job? Campus Philly is looking to hire someone who can help them with marketing, advertising, and public relations. You would be responsible for the management and sales of three Campus Philly projects: College Day, the Student Insider Guide to Philadelphia, and the email advertising program. Come and be a part of the awesome Campus Philly team!

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: MBA Intern
Up for a challenge? AstraZeneca is a global pharmaceutical business that focuses on the development, manufacturing, and marketing of prescription medications. They are seeking a full-time intern who graduated with a degree in finance, business, or marketing. This internship is a part of their internship program, Leaders in Finance Tomorrow (LIFT). Responsibilities would include budgeting, expense reporting, deal analysis, and auditing.

Philadelphia Zoo: Online Marketing
Hey animal lovers- don’t miss this opportunity to work in an awesome environment! The Philadelphia Zoo is focusing on developing their online presence, and they need an intern to help them. The online communications intern would work to increase attendance and build awareness of the Zoo’s initiatives. Responsibilities would include working on the Zoo’s website and social media platforms, as well as collaborating with the public relations team.

LaPlaca Insurance Inc.: Social Media and Marketing Intern
LaPlaca Insurance Inc. is an insurance company based in Lansdale, a suburb just northwest of Philly. This family-run business provides personalized insurance for both businesses and individuals. They are looking for an intern who will help them with social media and online marketing activities. If you are interested in either marketing or insurance and are creative and self-motivated, apply now before someone else gets there first!

Robert Half Technology: Helpdesk Support Analysis
This internship is located in the middle of Center City! Robert Half Technology is an international business that offers a full range of technology solutions to meet their client’s every need. They want an intern who will help them with customer service via phone or email. Candidates should be good at multitasking and able to troubleshoot hardware and installation issues. Other ideal attributes include proficiency in Microsoft Office and strong communication skills.

You can email Danielle Hagerty for more info at danielle.hagerty@temple.edu.

The Philadelphia Prominent:
Streets Dept

As winter continues to pummel Philadelphia, many businesses are slowing down as they attempt to cope with the snowy onslaught. Photographer and blogger Conrad Benner, of “Streets Dept“, however, has seen his business thrive as Mother Nature transforms the city into a wonderland. He has taken to the streets throughout this cold front to capture Philadelphia’s unique beauty and, more specifically, its street art.

Benner is a Philadelphia-based photographer who has worked with other locally-focused websites like Philebrity.com and Philthy Mag. But it is his blog “Streets Dept”, and the connected Instagram account, that have truly made him a major player in the city’s art scene. Some of his biggest honors include being named: one of Philadelphia’s “Best Blogs for Travellers” by The Guardian, the #1 Philadelphian to follow on Instagram by Philadelphia Weekly, and one of “8 Instagrammers to Follow in 2013” by Philly.com. He’s had photos published in magazines across the print and online magazine market, including TIME and Harper’s Bazaar Spain. Looking at his press page, it’s clear that he’s truly made a name for himself with his photography.

But his success and passion goes beyond the quality of his photographs. Benner explores the city looking for artistic inspiration that is new or undiscovered. His about page explains that he specifically does not, “recycle news.” Rather, he goes, “out on the streets and [discovers] things.” His focus is on street art, but he photographs other aspects of the city, like abandoned spaces or captivating sunsets. The combination of passion for street art, explorative photography, and smart social media make “Streets Dept” a blog that all Philadelphians should get to know.

 

Flores: Thank you for taking the time to meet with me! I think the best place to start would be by discussing your educational and artistic background.

Benner: I went to public school in Philadelphia, specifically Adaire Elementary in Fishtown. Then I went to Central High School. I took a break before going to college. I’m 28 now, but at 24 I started going to community college. I only took classes that I was interested in. I took classes like art history, writing, political science, and sociology. I didn’t continue because I ended up getting the job that I have now, which I partially earned through my freelance writing and blogs. But community college was great when I went there though; great teachers and great people.

Flores: What was your inspiration to start “Streets Dept”?

Benner: I had been freelance writing since I was 20 for different blogs and magazines. Around that time I got my own camera, and started just taking my own photos. I sort of wanted to take ownership of something that was my own. Freelance writing really wasn’t really making me that much money, so it was always sort of just a side thing that I did. For the blog, I didn’t really care if I made money, as long as I owned it. I looked at the different content I was providing and noticed that what I was talking about mostly was street art. My blog was really unique as there wasn’t one then and really aren’t any now. Street art is huge in Philadelphia, but it wasn’t really represented. There was little to no attention paid to street art. It was like an elephant in the room. There were so many great artists and no one talking about it.

Flores: What fascinates you the most about street art?

Benner: I’ve always sort of been interested in it. I researched street art blogs as a kid. I think in Philly what’s most exciting is that there can be something new every single day that you walk through the city. It’s really exciting and it excited me, so I thought it might excite other people too. That’s really what confused me as to why no one was really talking about. I never went to art school. What I’ve learned I learned through the blog. My appreciation comes through what I see.

Flores: What kind of camera do you use?

Benner: I use a Canon Rebel.

Flores: How do you manage all of your responsibilities between work, taking photographs, and all the writing and social media that comes with it?

Benner: I work endlessly. I sort of think that the only way you can really do something is if you’re passionate about it. I work 9:00 – 6:30 everyday. I go home and go through my content and look for ways to expand. I still write freelance pieces as well. I just work non-stop. The only reason I can do that is because I’m really excited about it. It’s so natural now. Especially with things like Instagram I can just easily post my work. You find the time to do the stuff that you really love.

Flores: I think one of the biggest questions about your photography is: why Philadelphia? What keeps you here?

Benner: I liked growing up here. I always sort of imagined myself moving to New York or California. It’s different when you’re older though. When I was growing up it was around the time when the city started changing. People started moving here. I had friends who moved to New York and then moved back within a year. They had no time to do anything except work [in New York]. Philadelphia is a great place to live. There’s a great community of artists and schools. And it’s really starting to keep people here. It’s also a central location, so it’s great for travel. You can rent an apartment here really cheaply, and then use that extra money to travel. You can’t necessarily do that in some of the other cities.

Flores: Going back to your photography: what’s your process, if you have one?

Benner: When I first started the blog I would just walk around and photograph stuff that I liked. At that time I had artists emailing me about pieces, so I would seek out the locations. Now I get emails about going and meeting artists. A lot of it is still just walking around a ton. Even in blizzards and freezing cold. People send photos, and the community really communicates. It’s hard to do stuff in the winter, so posted content can decrease. There’s a bunch of fog and not much else. When I do find stuff I post it on Instagram. I don’t currently have ads, and don’t really see myself having ads. So I don’t try to post like six times a day to get people to click stuff. I’m freer to do what I want because of this independence.

Flores: Do you have any advice for budding photographers?

Benner: First, don’t expect any results over night. Nothing happens over night. Experiment. I never took classes on photography. I just taught myself. I played with my camera for hours and learned that way. It’s more exciting that way. The best way to learn how to do something right is to do something wrong 100 times. I like to photograph a lot of stuff, but I picked a subject that nobody else was talking about. See what you can be successful at. What aren’t other people doing, and then do that really well.