Where to get your loungin’ on: a guide to Philly’s best city parks!

Fact: back in 1683, when William Penn was mapping out the design of Philadelphia, his goal was to create a “Green Country Town” that would attract settlers from across the Atlantic. The basis of his design? Five public squares across the city – one in each quadrant of [what was then] the main part of the city, and one right in the center.

Those integral public spaces are now Rittenhouse, Logan, Washington, and Franklin Squares, and Dilworth Park – just some among many of our favorite parks in the city for relaxing, picnicking, people watching, and reading on a park bench this summer.

Get outside this summer and spend some time in Philadelphia’s parks! Below are our some of our favorites:

Rittenhouse Square: there’s always something to do in Rittenhouse Square, whether it’s watching street performers, shopping at a craft fair, visiting the farmer’s market, or simply reading a book on a park bench while people watching. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket, and take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful park all summer long.

Logan Square: stroll along the Ben Franklin Parkway to Logan Square – you’ll spot the impressive Swann Memorial Fountain sculpture from a distance. With the Free Library a block away, it’s impossible not to want to grab a book and spend the day reading in the park, with a nice mist from the fountain cooling you off on a hot day. Check out Sister Cities Park, for more greenspace, fountains and a café, just across the street as well.

Schuylkill Banks: Philly’s most popular biking, walking and running trail, a part of the larger Schuylkill River Trail and the Circuit Trails – stretching from the Art Museum down to South Street – the Banks hosts movie nights in the summer as well as kayak and riverboat tours. Check out the boardwalk over the river and the neighborhood dog park nearby 25th and Spruce.

Washington Square: smack dab in the middle of Center City and Old City, Washington Square’s tree-lined park (a.k.a., plenty of shaded areas!) is right around the corner from historic Independence Hall, and makes for the perfect resting spot in between a day of exploring all over Philly. See if you can find the tree in the park that has taken a trip to the moon. Yes, seriously!

Spruce Street Harbor Park: the Delaware River deserves just as much credit as it’s western neighbor, the Schuylkill, especially now that this park has become the go-to spot for daytime and nighttime activities, alike. With Philly’s top eateries like Hip City Veg, Chickie’s and Pete’s, Franklin Fountain and more setting up shop along the boardwalk, there’s always a reason to hang out here in the summer. Lounge in a hammock, sit above the river in a suspended net, or watch a live band on the weekend. Oh, and did we mention there’s an arcade AND giant Jenga?

Wissahickon Valley Park: when you’re in the Wissahickon (or “the Wiss” as many call it), you’ll forget that there’s a bustling city just 4 miles away. With more than 50 miles of trails for every skill level, a wide gravel path called Forbidden Drive to bike or walk on, and scenic views along the creek, it’s easy to stay here for hours. The paths are mostly shaded, too, so it’s a perfect escape from the sunny city in the summer.

Franklin Square: between miniature golf, snacks and burgers, a carousel, and year-round events at the park, the historical Franklin Square is the perfect respite from the busy city. It’s a few blocks north of Market Street, and super accessible by public transportation. Stay up to date on their website to find out about the current events happening there.

Dilworth Park: the expansive park surrounding Philadelphia’s City Hall, Dilworth Park, just keeps getting better each year. There’s food at Dilworth Park Café and Air Grille, plenty of seating for lunch breaks and picnics, fountains, gardens, and even free fitness throughout the week. There’s also a subway station directly in the middle of the park, so getting there is a breeze!

Clark Park: if you’re in the University City / West Philly area, or just want an excuse to take the Market-Frankford line to a park you’ve never visited before, make sure to visit Clark Park. There’s 9 acres of greenery (it’s huge!) filled with more than 300 trees, and there’s always an event going on – farmer’s markets, movies in the park, concerts, performances, and so much more. Learn more here!

Fairmount Park: to classify this as just one “park” is slightly crazy, since the 9,200 acres of trails, bike paths, hills, and wooded areas make this one of the world’s largest municipal park systems. Bike, run, or walk along Kelly Drive for the best views of the Schuylkill, explore Fairmount Park’s historic mansions, or enjoy car-free streets on Martin Luther King Drive every weekend from April to October!

Belmont Plateau: here’s a fun fact to impress your friends – DJ Jazzy Jeff’s “Summertime” music video was filmed right here on the Plateau. When you’re looking at photos with the city skyline in the distance, it looks like it’s miles away, but this huge park on a hill, filled with picnic areas, endless fields, kite fliers, mountain bikers, and kids running around, is only four miles from Center City. You can take SEPTA right to the park (the 38 bus stop is a half-mile away)!

The best thing about Philly is that for such a large city, everything is so close. These parks are easily accessible by public transportation, a pleasant bike ride along the river, or by car. We’re planning to visit all of them this summer (as should you!) – stay up to date on our adventures and follow us on Instagram!

Evaluating Black Representation and the Black Imagination in ​Séancers

A special message from our partner, FringeArts:

By: Kyle O’Kane 


This May, FringeArts presents Séancers, an innovative production created by Bessie Award nominated Nigerian-American curator, poet, and performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. His performance, to be presented from May 10-12 on the FringeArts stage, centers around one main theme: blackness. With recent blockbusters delivering representation, especially Marvel’s recent hit Black Panther, Séancers hopes to add on to the conversation to examine the American racialized body in a beautiful way. By incorporating various styles of art including lyrical poetry, movement forms, and discursive performance, the audience observes how loss and oppression can ultimately shapeshift into black beauty.

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is the driving force behind Séancers, a piece focusing on the body through psychic, spiritual, and theoretical strategies. Kosoko’s previous work includes #negrophobia, described as a kind of séance. After touring throughout Europe over the past couple years for #negrophobia, Séancers came naturally to Kosoko as a progression of themes like paranormal activity, loss, and resurrection. The performance takes the audience on a journey through the surreal and fantastical states of the black imagination. When discussing the themes explored in the piece, Kosoko states, “There are 4 pieces of creative works by Black Women in particular that serve as inspirations and/or thematic musings for Séancers. [They include] ”Power” by Audre Lorde, Howardena Pindell’s Free, White, and 21, Rudy Sales’s incredible speech as part of an interview with Krista Tippett, “Where Does It Hurt?” [and] Christina Sharpe’s 2016 release In the Wake: On Blackness and Being.” He treats these works as pillars that function as the foundation for Séancers.

When asked how Séancers contributes to discussions about black representation like Black Panther, he notes, “Similarly, my work is concerned with Black Feminism, Black Study, Black Life, and Black Survival.” He values the visibility of the black individual, wishing for it to continue in coming years. Kosoko also wishes to raise awareness for other marginalized groups, who may not see themselves represented in media and art either. He says, “It’s also important to me that I center and support People of Color, queer, women, and gender variant individuals within my creative practice.” By supporting, and even more importantly, centering on these groups, Kosoko is inviting them to finally get their time in the spotlight as well. From a personal perspective, Jaamil recounts, “I’m also thinking a lot about Black theory, which has been incredibly healing and informative for me as a way to come to terms with personal and societal trauma.”

When it comes to discussing race in an academic setting, Kosoko believes his production has a lot to offer to university students and the conversation on race as a whole. He argues, “I think young people need to become more comfortable discussing race so that it may be dismantled with brave care and sensitivity. But this takes practice like most things…I think there’s a lot that we can learn from the visuality of Blackness, (past, present, and future). This is what Black performance allows us to begin to reckon with and decode.”

This thought-provoking performance runs from May 10 – May 12 at FringeArts’ waterfront headquarters, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.). Tickets cost $15 for students and are available by phone at 215-413-1318 or online at FringeArts.com.

CREDITS

Séancers by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

Written by: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

Directed by: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

Sound artist: Jeremy Troussaint-Baptiste

Video installation: Andrew Amorim

Performers/Creators: Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Tara Sheena

Major support for Séancers has been provided to Jaamil Olawale Kosoko by Abrons Arts Center and Danspace Project with additional funding support from MAP Fund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Princeton Arts Fellowship, and the Jerome Foundation.

Exploring identity in ¡BIENVENIDOS BLANCOS! or WELCOME WHITE PEOPLE!

A special message from our partner, FringeArts:

By: Kyle O’Kane 


This April, FringeArts and Team Sunshine Performance Corporation present
¡ BIENVENIDOS BLANCOS! OR WELCOME WHITE PEOPLE!, a world premiere
collaboration between the Philadelphia-based theater company and Cuban theater artists. The play tackles pressing contemporary issues like economic oppression, race, and embargoes, and it’s a show that sprung from questions of identity. In Bienvenidos Blancos, identity is fractured, as individuals struggle to reconcile their Latinx identity with their American one.

Cuban-American director and Team Sunshine co-founder Alex Torra is the lead artist behind Bienvenidos Blancos ’ magic. When asked in an interview about the title, he replied, “Back in 2015, I had an opportunity to travel to Cuba for the first time. I was really taken aback by how many of my interactions were tourism-based…focused on getting white tourists to have a great time and spend money. It’s for the sake of survival, for sure, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable.” On his experience in America, Torra shares, “ A big complication for me is my white Latinoness. I present white…but I’m part of a Latinx minority group. Along the way, I deleted my Miami accent, and I worked hard to fit and succeed. I ‘whitened’.” With Bienvenidos Blancos, he hopes to go back to his roots and dig deep into what it means to be Cuban-American.

A term relevant to the themes of identity in Bienvenidos Blancos is “double-consciousness,” coined by W.E.B DuBois in The Souls of Black Folk . With it, DuBois touches on the idea of the fractured identity, when you contain more than one social identity and it becomes difficult to develop a sense of self. Torra definitely feels this double-consciousness in his life, reflecting, “ I find myself in Anglo spaces and find myself not quite fitting in…[and] when I go to Miami or Havana, I don’t quite fit in anymore in Cuban spaces. I feel a little stuck.” It’s a challenging place to be in, and in a society that focuses heavily on putting us into a single category, how do we as people maintain an identity that ticks multiple boxes?

Bienvenidos Blancos is the latest game-changing production from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation. Past productions include The Sincerity Project (2014 and 2016)—an anti-play ritual where the same ensemble comes back every 2 years to discuss the memories and lives they’ve made— Henry IV: Your Prince and Mine (2014), and JapanAmerica Wonderwave (2011). Bienvenidos Blancos is their most ambitious work yet, bringing together artists from Cuba with Cuban-Americans and white Americans. Torra is specifically excited to show this to university students, stating, “Our audience has always skewed young, and because the piece is rooted in my particular questions, in a 1 st generation Latino encountering his ‘home’ culture, that felt like an experience that a lot of young Latinx individuals could relate to.”

This performance runs from April 18 – April 28 at FringeArts’ waterfront headquarters, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.) and will feature local Afro-Cuban Rumba performers each night of the run. Tickets cost $15 for students and are available by phone online at FringeArts.com . College Night with Campus Philly is April 19th, where the first 50 Open Arts members to register can see the production for free.

Live in the Philly Moment!

What an exciting time to be a student in Philadelphia! The Eagles are Super Bowl bound, The Franklin Institute has a special student discount to see the famed Terracotta Warriors and there are cool upcoming events happening all over the city, PLUS Open Arts Membership Week and Wired:Philly, our recruiting event for science and tech majors.  Below are our weekend picks!

P.S. Take this quick survey for your chance to win a free dinner in the city.

Deal Alert! The Franklin Institute is offering a student discount (only $10!) for a special Evening with The Terracotta Warriors on Thursday, February 8. Create an Open Arts account (FREE!) to access this deal.

 

 

Now’s Your Chance to Become a Member of Open Arts Philly

January 14 – 21 is Open Arts Membership Week!  Sign-up at openartsphilly.com/activate. Members get access to awesome discounts, free tickets and the ability to be part of our Open Arts College Nights, all for FREE.

Here’s What to Expect at the 2018 Inclusive Leadership Conference

You’re registered to attend the 2018 Inclusive Leadership Conference or you’re thinking about registering – if that’s the case, email Cory Dulaney to see if there is still room.  If this is your first ILC, or you need a refresher, this is what to expect and how to prepare for the 2018 Inclusive Leadership Conference!

What is ILC?
The Inclusive Leadership Conference is an annual day-long conference for college students from the Greater Philadelphia Region. It is taking place this February 3rdfrom 10AM – 4PM at Temple University’s Howard Gittis Student CenterKeynote presentations set the tone for the day followed by three sessions, each session has up to seven discussions for you to choose. Continental breakfast and lunch is included!

Who will be there?
Last year we saw nearly 400 students from various schools in the Greater Philadelphia region (Philly, the suburbs of Philly, South Jersey, and Delaware). Our keynotes for the year include Michael O’Bryan (Village of Arts and Humanities), Tiffany Tavarez (Wells Fargo), and Mayor Jim Kenney (City of Philadelphia). Community and civic leaders, entrepreneurs, regional businesses and higher education professionals are leading the discussions.

What will we discuss?
This year’s theme is Finding Your Voice: Advocating for Self & Others. We all come from different experiences, backgrounds, and are born with different skills and passions. No one voice is, or should be, the same. Some may protest racial injustices by walking in solidarity and others may organize the protest, getting all the proper documentation in order. Some may write a song for gender equality and others may perform that song. No voice is better than another, and we need all of our voices! Maybe you know your voice or maybe you want to discover it. In either case, we want you to leave this conference with the motivation to (re)discover your voice, the knowledge on how you should use your voice, and ways in which to flex your voice!

How to prepare.
Start thinking about what you’re naturally good at. What skills were you born with and what are you passionate about? Your voice is part of an intricate puzzle, and a space is perfectly tailored for you. Sometimes, though, other people’s space look more appealing and may get more recognition. Activists who chain themselves around a tree seem cool, but what about the person who writes policy to save trees? Film directors may have their work on clean water shown across the world, but what about the behind the scenes editors and camerapersons? Come with questions on how to find your voice, where to use your voice, how to help others find their voice, etc…

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via my email or phone info below. If not, look forward to hearing your voice on February 3rd!

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out via email or phone.

Peace!
Cory Dulaney
Campus Philly Program Manager
215-988-1707 || cory@campusphilly.org
 

Hello, 2018! We’re Getting Fit, Giving Back and Planning Our Cheat Day

Exercise your body and mind! Here’s Where to Get Fit in Philly Without Going Broke and where to test your pop culture knowledge at these themed trivia nights.

Lend a helping hand on Martin Luther King Day on Monday, January 15. The 23rd Annual Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service has a long list of community volunteer opportunities.

Take a break from your clean eating resolution for one day. Come on, it’s just one! CCD Restaurant Week is happening January 14-26 at 50+ local spots. Three-course lunch, $20. Three-course dinner, $35. This is a popular deal so make your reservations now.

A Snowy Bowie Skate on Saturday, January 13 and Open Arts College Night: Skate Night on Wednesday, January 31both happening at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest.

Start the New Year off right by finding, advocating, and teaching others to discover their voice! Campus Philly and Temple University will be hosting the Inclusive Leadership Conference on Feb. 3 for ALL Philadelphia-area college students. Register here.

Looking for more? Our calendar is a great resource for planning your Philadelphia adventure!

Ring in the New Year Philly-style!

Welcoming the New Year in Philadelphia is like the dessert of the holiday season. You think you’re done after opening presents and family get-togethers, but hold up! New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are here for the sweet ending. Here are our picks for ringing in the New Year in Philly:

SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront
Sunday, December 31 | 6PM-12AM
Celebrate the biggest night of the year with fireworks! Two shows, at 6PM and Midnight. 

New Year’s Funkin’ Eve at FringeArts (21+)
Sunday, December 31 | 10PM – 2AM
$35 for students and ages 21-25 gets you: 
• all the grooves you can handle
• all the balloons you can handle
• champagne toast
• a floor to bust a groove on to the tunes of the renowned band Ill Doots and Philadelphia favorite DJ Dame Luz

The Ping-Pong Prom (21+)
Sunday, December 31 | 9PM – 2AM
Ping-pong social club SPiN is throwing a unique New Year’s Eve bash. The 21-plus crowd is invited to Ping-Pong Prom, where you can eat, drink, dance and play.

Plus here’s “Cheap or free Philly New Year’s Eve parties ($20 or less)” (21+)

The Mummers Parade 2018
Monday, January 1 | Parade Start: 9AM
During the festive, nearly 120-year-old tradition, 10,000 men, women and children dressed in colorfully lavish costumes twirl, sashay, pirouette and strut down one of the city’s main streets. The 2018 Mummers Parade parade begins at City Hall and continues south to Washington Avenue.

 

 

 

 

Now What? Six Things to Do in Philly Now That Class Is Out

 

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