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Free Interactive Street Festival Coming to Kensington May 21st

Summer is right around the corner and to kick things off in style, on Sunday, May 21 Hope Street, a historic cobble stone street (between Front and Howard Streets) in Kensington is playing host to the 2017 ArtWell Festival, a free interactive street festival uniting both youth and community through creativity.  

ArtWell is a Philadelphia-based youth arts education nonprofit and according to their website, the organization was “founded in 2000 to respond to the chronic community violence in Philadelphia by introducing a preventive, educational, arts-oriented approach to reach underserved communities and youth facing discrimination, poverty, violence, and the everyday challenges of growing up.”

“ArtWell’s mission is to support young people and their communities through arts education and creative reflection, to discover their strengths, face complex challenges, and awaken their dreams. We facilitate multidisciplinary arts programs in schools and other youth-serving organizations that focus on helping children develop essential skills like empathy, compassion, creativity, problem solving, and communication,” Rae Pagliarulo, Development Manager at ArtWell told Spirit News.

He added: “Over the last 17 years, we have educated and empowered over 35,000 youth by collaborating with over 400 partner organizations.”

Hope Street will be packed with an abundance of fun and interactive activities to be a part of. From listening to the array of student poets and talented percussionists, to watching Teaching-Artist in residence, Anssumane Silla, fill the courtyard with West-African Drumming and dance.

Other aspects of the day include singing workshops, student art, Social Action Exhibit, face painting and electric family friendly music. Artists and volunteers will be managing activity tables where people can create their own collages or create a piece of found poetry ensuring that throughout the day, there is always something to get involved in.

In 2015, ArtWell held a similar festival that proved very popular with over three-hundred people attending and the 2017 installment looks to be even bigger and with a slightly different focus.

“People should feel free to come for twenty minutes or the whole day, and should have a similarly fantastic experience however long they attend,” said Pagliarulo. “More so than the first, this festival will really highlight the voices and talent within our ArtWell community. The idea is to come with the desire to create and connect, to meet your neighbors and engage in play, to react to music and poetry, to dance like nobody’s watching, and to remember that there is magic in letting go and allowing creativity to lead the way!”

If a break from the day’s activities is needed, food will be available from the multiple food trucks including, Foolish Waffles, Smokin’ Tacos, and PB&Jams.

ArtWell put much emphasis on the not only the creative development, but the general development of children and using art as a catalyst.

“The children we’re empowering and educating take their skills and share them with their families, friends, and communities. Empathy, communication, creativity, reflection – these are all tools that our youth need to be successful in their lives. By inviting the wider community to our home at Oxford Mills, and giving them a full afternoon of music, art, poetry, and more, we can remind them just how healing and transformative creativity can be, for them and for our youth,” Pagliarulo told Spirit News.

ArtWell Festival runs from 1PM-5PM on Sunday, May 21.

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