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Philadelphia: Recovery, Renewal and Transformation

Tuesday, October 8, 2:30pm – 5:30pm

The Village of Arts and Humanities

Organized and moderated by Angela Johnson Peters, Senior Advisor, The Lia Fund.

Presented by Alethia Calbeck, Director, Special Projects, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, and Aviva Kapust, Executive Director, The Village of Arts & Humanities.

A city formerly derided for its urban blight, crumbling infrastructure, and less-than-safe neighborhoods, Philadelphia during the last twenty-five years has transformed into a city with a thriving downtown arts and culture district, an enviable restaurant and food scene, and neighborhoods balanced between economic sufficiency and gentrification. Arts and culture have played a pivotal role in Philadelphia’s recovery, renewal, and transformation. This offsite session will explore the nature of the city’s renaissance and examine this phenomenon from a neighborhood and citywide perspective—the transformation of a specific neighborhood and citywide efforts to promote neighborhood- and community-based arts and culture. Starting with a guided tour through North Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, the session will convene at The Village of Arts & Humanities, an award winning (Coming Up Taller, Ruby Bruner Gold Medal, Impact 100) cultural center, where executive director Aviva Kapust will present some of the strategies the Village uses to bring about significant changes in their neighborhood. With a citywide perspective, Alethia Calbeck from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation will present “The Philadelphia Neighborhoods” and “With Art” campaigns, which underscore ways in which the arts are central to supporting communities and authentic visitor experiences.

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The mission of The Village of Arts and Humanities is to support the voices and aspirations of the community by providing opportunities for self-expression rooted in art and culture. The Village inspires people to be agents of positive change through programs that engage youth, revitalize community, preserve heritage, and respect the environment. The Village began with the transformation of a single vacant lot into an art park created with and for neighborhood children. Building on its grassroots efforts and the work of founder Lily Yeh, The Village formally incorporated in 1989. Over the past twenty-five years, it has grown into a mature arts and cultural organization, carrying out a broad range of community development programs.