Every Monday we round up a handful of fun ways to get involved throughout the week to make your city better. Have ideas for upcoming events? Email tips here.
Photo: Clipart Kid
One result of the last presidential election has been a call for regular citizens to run for local office. Win or lose, starting a campaign could be one of the most effective ways to provide a platform for the issues you and your community care most about (we write more about the concept here). The idea is a no-brainer, though taking the first steps can be a bit intimidating. That’s why local advocacy group PSN Philadelphia is hosting this week’s “So, You’re Thinking of Running for Office,” the second in a series of gatherings that seeks to answer questions about starting up a campaign. Speakers Denise Brooks, a member of the Council Rock School Board, and Kimberly Rose, a Northampton Township Supervisor, will share their experience and answer questions like like how to raise money, the best ways to build voter support and more. Wednesday, January 11, 7 p.m., free, Free Library of Northampton Township, 25 Upper Holland Road, Richboro.
Ground Control to 215: We’re in the midst of Philly Loves Bowie Week! This first-annual nine day celebration started last week, but you have until January 14 to pay homage to David Bowie, who departed this Earth a year ago on January 10. There are a dozen events happening this week—from Bowie Karaoke and a spoken word event, to a Bowie tribute performance by Philly’s tallest, hairiest drag queen, Martha Graham Cracker. Check out the full list of events here. So where does the civic engagement angle come in, you ask? Good question! Organizers have vowed to use the event to raise money and awareness for cancer research and the work being done at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. You can even donate to CHOP in Bowie’s name directly by following this link. Monday-Saturday, January 9-14, various times, prices and locations.
Photo: Jason Giordano
Philadelphia-based photographers Tracy Buchholz and Jason Giordano set off on an adventure last winter to capture images of abandoned spaces in the Greater Philadelphia area. They returned with a treasure trove of images of forgotten, dilapidated spaces—everything from resorts and schools to long-shuttered factories. Their mission also brought up a great question about how these spaces are being—or not being—used, especially in a time when so many abandoned buildings are being recycled for other uses, like, says Buchholz, the Spring Garden school that’s being redeveloped for veterans. You can ponder that question for yourself when their collection of photos, entitled “Hidden History Exposed,” goes on display this week at the William Way LGBT Community Center. The artists host an opening reception on Friday night at which they’ll meet with guests and donate proceeds of art sales to William Way. Opening reception Friday, January 13, 6-8 p.m., exhibition on display through February 24, free, William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street.
Photo: Jason Chen for Streets Dept.
On January 14—the weekend before Donald Trump takes the oath to become President of the United States—a group of local activists host a silent art auction to benefit a bevy of social justice organizations vowing to be on the front lines during The Orange One’s reign. Called Collective Action, the auction seeks to drum up $20,000 by selling art donated by 100 Philadelphia area-artists. Organizers say the idea is a “direct response to the election of Donald Trump and to the increasingly dangerous, self-serving people he has brought into his administration.” They hope to fight back by donating all money raised to local and national organizations like Planned Parenthood, Mazzoni Center, Juntos, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and more. If that—and the added bonus of taking home an excellent piece of local-made art—sounds like a plan you can get behind, show up Saturday to place a bid. Saturday, January 14, 6-9 p.m., 990 Spring Garden Street.
On Sunday, socially active creatives in cities across the globe will come together for an event that aims to promote the basic fundamentals of democracy during a time when, organizers stress, “the freedom of expression is dangerously under threat.” Philadelphia’s getting in on the action with a peaceful protest and gathering at the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) called Writers Resist: Philadelphia United for Liberty. There, dozens of scribes, poets and filmmakers will stand in solidarity for basic principles that we are all entitled to, like fairness, equality and the right to free speech. Plus, they’ll pull out some of their talents to entertain and empower those who show up. There will be readings by a host of folks, like former Philadelphia Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, Beth Kephart and Joey Sweeney. Keep your ear peeled as the event winds down, as there’s chattering on the event page that folks may gather at a nearby bar afterward for further discussion. Sunday, January 15, 2-5 p.m., free, National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall.