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Amplifying Civic Power: Art from The Village of Arts and Humanities at The...

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The Philadelphia Foundation

1835 Market Street

#Suite 2410

Philadelphia, PA 19103

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On Feb. 22, enjoy refreshments and music from Dan "Dilemma" Thomas and experience "Amplifying Civic Power in North Philadelphia", an exhibit of work from The Village of Arts and Humanities presented at the Philadelphia Foundation."Amplifying Civic Power" showcases two social change projects in North Philadelphia:

  • “Home Court: The Hartranft Basketball Court Revival,” a creative placemaking project, used art to unite community leaders across generations and revitalize a local basketball court with deep ties to the neighborhood.
  • “It Is Our Duty (To Fight for Our Freedom)” is a collection of youth photography from The Village’s award-winning youth arts program.


About Home Court: The Hartranft Basketball Court Revival

The Hartranft Community Basketball Courts, located near The Village in North Philadelphia, are a microcosm of our neighborhood’s history of arts, athletics, activism, and intergenerational guardianship — as well as severe disinvestment. In 2018, the courts were renovated by the Philadelphia Sixers and the City of Philadelphia, in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The Village and our neighbors used this substantial investment in infrastructure as an opportunity to re-ignite local civic engagement, with art as a vehicle to bring neighbors together and build a shared vision for the courts. Over 12 months, renowned Philadelphia artists Shawn Theodore (photographer), Ill Doots (hip-hop collective) and Michael McDermott (composer) worked in intensive collaboration with neighborhood coaches, players, parents and leaders to create a 2,500 sq. foot participatory art exhibit exploring the courts’ past, present and future.

The exhibit opened to the public on the day of the court ribbon cutting, ensuring that the renovation would not erase the courts’ past, but instead revive the spirit of community care and activism that built them.

“People couldn’t believe it when they saw themselves in the exhibit, and saw themselves as part of history. It brought a whole bunch of hope and faith to the process,” says Reggie Johnson, who grew up playing on the courts and worked as a community convener on the project.

The Home Court project helped to catalyze the creation of a new Parks and Recreation Advisory Council at the court (an advocacy board made up of community members), and community members have since restarted the local summer basketball league with the support of the Philadelphia 76ers.

“This project was not about the next month, or year. It’s about the next 100 years. It’s a testament to the power of community leadership, the intentional deployment of art-making, and strong, trusted relationships to produce meaningful shifts in civic engagement and equitable resource distribution,” says Aviva Kapust, executive director of The Village of Arts and Humanities.

The works presented at the Philadelphia Foundation are just a small fraction of the artwork and community history curated for the original Home Court exhibit. Visitors can visit the full exhibit online at homecourt.villagearts.org.


About “It Is Our Duty (To Fight for Our Freedom)”

The Village of Arts and Humanities’ award-winning youth program, Impact Studios, fuses art, social enterprise, and advocacy to highlight youth voices and perspectives for Philadelphia-based clients and causes. Impact Studios provides paid opportunities for underserved youth ages 11-18 to advance their creative skills under the mentorship of professional teaching artists while producing creative works for local clients across a variety of artistic mediums. Our teaching staff is made up of working professional artists who mentor students in navigating the creative economy as well as advancing their craft.

These photos are the culmination of a summer photography class at The Village of Arts and Humanities where students explored one central prompt: “If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be?” At the end of the course, students curated a final exhibition that challenged viewers to imagine a world full of compassion, joy, and equity as voiced by youth.

The course began by focusing on technical aspects of photography, allowing space for students to experiment with various approaches and techniques, from portraiture to landscape photography, as well as macro photography. Participants of the class practiced balancing technique with personal and emotional expression, resulting in the powerful storytelling featured in the exhibit. The photography class, led by Kaltoum Alibrahimi and Julian Darden, is one of many courses offered in our creative youth development program, Impact Studios.


About The Village of Arts and Humanities

More than 40 years ago, internationally renowned dancer, choreographer and civil rights activist, Arthur Hall, built the Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center in a storefront building near the corner of 10th and Germantown Avenue. For Arthur Hall, creating space for people in the neighborhood to dance, sing and make music was a crucial part of the community’s culture and heritage. Twenty years later, celebrated visual artist Lily Yeh continued growing spaces in the neighborhood in the same spirit of communal care and compassion.

Today The Village remains a vital community asset of 15 art parks and 10 program buildings, impacting more that 1200 community residents and 550 young people each year. We are the largest provider of free arts, culture and environmental programming in a 260-square block area of North Philadelphia.


About The Philadelphia Foundation

Founded in 1918, the Philadelphia Foundation strengthens the economic, social and civic vitality of Greater Philadelphia. It grows effective philanthropic investment, connects individuals and institutions across sectors and geography, and advances civic initiatives through partnerships and collaboration. A publicly supported foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation manages more than 900 charitable funds established by its donors and makes over 1,000 grants and scholarship awards each year. To learn more, visit www.philafound.org.






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The Philadelphia Foundation

1835 Market Street

#Suite 2410

Philadelphia, PA 19103

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