Do Something: Explore the Ties That Bind Us

The Village of Arts and Humanities' Spaces initiative debuts its first international artist exhibition. Plus, two ways to give back this holiday season and more ways to be an incredible citizen this week

Do Something: Explore the Ties That Bind Us

The Village of Arts and Humanities' Spaces initiative debuts its first international artist exhibition. Plus, two ways to give back this holiday season and more ways to be an incredible citizen this week

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.

Take SEPTA, Feel Freer

SEPTA is the kind of thing we love to hate. Nothing gets us more fired up than a late bus, a stalled train or a hateful ticket booth attendee, but there’s a fellow coming to town this week who’s going to try to convince us to think more positively about the wheels and rails that cart us around the city. On Monday night, international transit consultant Jarrett Walker leads a lecture entitled “Abundant Access: Public Transit as an Instrument of Freedom,” in which he’ll dive into how—despite the ease at which we complain about it—urban public transportation systems actually provide citizens freedom and enrich communities around the world. Walker takes transportation very seriously. He’s published a whole tome about it, and he authors the popular transit blog HumanTransit.orgMonday, December 5, 6:30-9 p.m., Myerson Hall, Room B1, University of Pennsylvania, 210 S. 34th St. 

Discover New Cultures Through the Arts

As part of their “Tabadul: Cross-Cultural Exchange Through the Arts” program, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture exhibits photographic works created by students from the Northeast and South Philadelphia at their first Neighborhood Forum on Culture. “Tabadul” means “exchange” in Arabic, so the idea is to bring together youth from both ends of the city to engage them in dialogue and introduce them to different cultural experiences represented in each neighborhood. As they view the artwork, they will be asked to respond in writing or drawing to prompts presented. In the end, thoughts will be shared and, presumably, minds will be lifted. Anyone is invited to attend the event to browse the artwork and take in some of the live performances of poetry and music. International foods will also be served. Friday, December 9, 4-6 p.m., free, Academy of Palumbo, 1100 Catharine Street.

Donate Some Threads to Career Wardrobe

With the weather changing, this is a perfect time of year to take stock of your fall/winter wardrobe, assess what you need to keep and get rid of all those things you know you’re not going to wear again. If you can tackle that feat in the next few weeks, you can donate your threads to the University City District, who’s hosting a clothing drive for Career Wardrobe, which provides individuals in transition the clothing and skills they need to land a job. UCD is looking to collect lightly worn professional apparel for men and women—from dresses and blouses to button downs, khakis and pant suits (see the full list here).  In the past year, Career Wardrobe has outfitted nearly 3,000 men and women seeking jobs in Philadelphia. Your donation could go a long way in helping someone in 2017—and will look much better on someone than just sitting in your closet. UCD is taking donations Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. through December 16. Dropoffs should be made at their headquarters, at 3940 Chestnut Street.

See What's New at Village Arts

The Village of Arts and Humanities’ SPACES artists in residence program debuts its very first international artist exhibition, featuring work from Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh of Ghana and Olanrewaju Tejuoso of Nigeria. Since their arrival this summer, the two men have been working with Philadelphia artists, photographers, community organizers and more on individual exhibitions that get grand-opening treatment this week. Tejuoso’s “Material Memory” utilizes discarded strips of cloth that have been knotted and weaved to create a large-scale installation honoring community memory, loss, and love. Ohene-Ayeh’s interactive work, “Relational Strategies,” is an attempt to “spark and document [North Philadelphia’s] unique creativity.” Guests can step inside a studio with artist collaborative Killiam Shakespeare, who will perform with artists they have been working with at local open mic nights for the past six months. If you can’t make the opening, stop by through January 31 to peep the exhibitions—and a series of photo essays on Ohene-Ayeh’s project by Lori Waselchuk. Friday, December 9, 5-10 p.m., free, Village of Arts and Humanities, 2519 Germantown Avenue. 

Build a Tower of Toys for Kids in Need

For every person who bah-humbugs their way through the holidays, there are hundreds of needy kids who just want to wake up Christmas morning with some presents under the tree. Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF)’s annual TOY drive seeks to make their wishes come true at this festive and much-anticipated fundraiser that asks guests to bring a new, unopened toy in exchange for a fun night of drinking, dancing and mingling with all kinds of merry folk. For the 10th anniversary of TOY, organizers are taking the bash to the 51st floor of Three Logan Square. There, donated toys will create a tower of their own before being loaded up and donated to youth at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Action Wellness. Saturday, December 10, 7-10 p.m., $78, Vista at Top of the Tower, 1717 Arch Street. 

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