Finding art and culture in West Philadelphia

If you are excited to get out and experience the vibrant arts and culture scene of West Philadelphia, check out these resources to learn about our local arts organizations, performance venues, and upcoming events.

LOOK! on Lancaster ran from September 30-November 30, 2011 along Lancaster Avenue. You can see some of the highlights, including art placed in the windows and storefronts of vacant buildings, group art shows in existing galleries or public spaces, and public performances at

The 40th Street Artists In Residence Program (AIR) awards West Philly artists 1 year of free studio space in exchange for their participation in community-based art projects – leading workshops, teaching classes, exhibiting in the area, etc., on Chestnut at 40th St.

The Rotunda is a community gathering place that believes “art is a catalyst for social change” offering arts event throughout the year: live music, film, spoken word, theater, art, dance, education, youth programs, and arts incubation, on Walnut at 40th St.

West Philadelphia Arts Connect (WPAC) is a collaboration among West Philadelphia artists and arts organizations.

The Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Community Festival is a one day event that celebrates the rich history of the arts in Philadelphia. This annual festival is held on the 3rd Saturday of July in Saunders Park. Live performances take place over a six hour time period which include vocal and instrumental jazz performances, dance, spoken word and at times invitations to the audience to perform.

Spiral Q Puppet Theater lives at the intersection of arts and social justice, using popular arts (parades, print, pageantry, puppets) to build an urban arts democracy rooted in principles of accessibility, inclusion, self-determination, collaboration, sustainability, and life long learning.

Second Fridays on Lancaster Avenue include visual arts, live music, shopping, and a lecture series from April through July, fostering a greater sense of community in the neighborhood, showcasing the talent of local artists, and benefiting businesses by increasing foot traffic along the Avenue.

Satellite Second Saturday, a monthly art and craft event at 50th and Baltimore (during warm months) presented by VIX Emporium and the Satellite Café, invites a number of local artists will set up shop on the triangle in front of West Philly’s firehouse, selling their wares from 11am to 5pm.

The Green Line Café, a local, family-owned coffee shop and café that features local artists and performers, located near the intersection of 38th St, Lancaster Ave, & Powelton Ave, at the corner of 43rd & Baltimore, and at the corner of 45th & Locust.

The University City Arts League (UCAL) offers a year-round program of exhibits, classes, and cultural activities for children, teens, and adults, at 4226 Spruce St.

The Mural Arts Program (MAP) of Philadelphia is the largest public art program in the United States, uniting artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives. MAP has an online Mural Explorer which lets you explore some of the city’s 3,000 murals and projects, and discover the stories and people that inspired them.

The Community Education Center is a nonprofit performing arts center and artists incubator space, supporting the local arts community and hosting outstanding presentations of dance and performance, at 3500 Lancaster Ave.

The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania believes in the power of art and artists to inform and inspire. The ICA is free for all to engage and connect with the art of our time, on 36th Street at Sansom St.

Vix Emporium is a general store of artistic handmade gifts supporting local artists at 5009 Baltimore Ave.

Lacaster Avenue’s online directory, promoting the vibrant Philadelphia enclaves of Mantua, Powelton Village, Saunders Park and West Powelton along with the commercial corridor that unites them: Lancaster Avenue.

University City District’s website features a Directory of Arts and Culture in University City at and a calendar of events at


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