It’s that time of year in Philadelphia when a trip to warmer, brighter environs starts to seem extra appealing—if not downright necessary. But hey, sometimes that’s just not in the cards.
Thankfully there’s plenty going on this week to pull you out of the winter blues, including a fun charity event inspired by the glitzy casinos of French Riviera hotspot Cannes.
Speaking of Cannes, the Philadelphia Youth Film Festival hits Germantown on Saturday afternoon—stacked with films made by teens from Perth to Penn’s Landing.
And there are several ways to mark Black History Month this week, including an inspiration musical event at the Please Touch Museum, and the opening of a new exhibition at PAFA featuring the works of more than 70 African-American artists.
Find details on all that and even more in our list of the week’s best do-gooder events below.
Things to do in Philadelphia this week
Escape to the ritzy casinos of the French Riviera at this lively annual benefit for HIV/AIDS-fighting organization Action Wellness. Guests can try their hand at a variety of classic casino games while being entertained by drag queens and a live DJ, and enjoying appetizers and booze from an open bar. Prizes up for grabs include stays at Kimpton hotels around the country. Thursday, February 20, 6–9pm, $40–$75, Kimpton Hotel Palomar, 117 S. 17th Street.
The Mann Center and Please Touch Museum teamed up for this free musical and dance showcase that marks Black History Month with performances from a host of local arts groups, including PHILADANCO! D/2, Sister Cities Girlchoir and the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale. The night also includes a spotlight on local black innovators in the health and wellness field. Thursday, February 20, 6–8pm, free, Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts debuts this latest special exhibition that features more than 70 artworks by African-American artists. The works, which were gifted to PAFA last spring from the collection of arts advocate and former Philadelphia School Superintendent Constance E. Clayton, include paintings, works on paper and sculpture from artists like Augusta Savage, May Howard Jackson and PAFA alumni Henry Ossawa Tanner and Laura Wheeler Waring. Don’t miss your chance to check the groundbreaking exhibit at PAFA, which is the leader among American museums when it comes to acquiring art by female and African American artists. February 21–July 12, various times, $15, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad Street.
Since its debut in 2017, the Philadelphia Youth Film Festival has matured from a simple movie screening to something of a high school Sundance. Any student from around the world, aged 14 to 19, is invited to submit films in one of four categories: narrative, documentary, experimental and screenplay. The festival garnered 455 submissions from all over the world, including Iran, Israel, Northern Europe and Philadelphia. Of those 455, 33 will be screened at this weekend’s event, which also features speakers like Nicole Kassell, who’s directed episodes of popular TV series like Vinyl and Watchmen. Saturday, February 22, noon–6pm, free, Sharpless Building at Germantown Friends School, 31 W. Coulter Street. —Elena Musher Eisenstadt
Join a daylong bar crawl-type adventure that includes stops at six Philly black-owned businesses. The day begins at Reef Lounge before heading to spots like beauty supply store Marsh + Mane, health-food restaurant Green Soul and The Pop-Up Store for food and drink specials, product samples and live entertainment. This is the first of a quarterly series that aims to increase exposure to black-owned restaurants, bars and boutiques throughout the city. Saturday, February 22, 3–10pm, $10–$25, various locations including Reef Lounge, 605 S. 3rd Street.
This soiree at Reading Terminal Market heats up after the shoppers go home with dancing and live music, food from more than 50 market vendors and no less than five open bars. Proceeds from ticket sales and a silent auction fund upkeep and renovation on the historic building that’s housed the market—a longtime hub for community and local food- and merchandise-perusing—since 1893. Saturday, February 22, 7:30–11:30pm, $95–$200, Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th Street.
Mural Arts Philadelphia hosts this special Black History Month trolley tour to spotlight murals featuring iconic black figures—many of whom were from Philadelphia—that blazed a trail for civil rights, freedom and equality for the African American community. The two-hour tour comes complete with an informed guide who will school you on the history of the works and the fascinating subjects within. Sunday, February 23, 1:30pm, $32, starts at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Samuel M. V. Hamilton Building, 128 N. Broad Street.
More things to do in Philadelphia this week
- February 17: Young Involved Philadelphia hosts a Get Involved Happy Hour at Devil’s Alley for local folks looking to get more engaged in their city and community.
- February 20: A free afternoon symposium in University City on disrupting Asian-American feminism.
- February 21: Kick off the weekend with a queer dance party in West Philly that benefits the Trans Masculine Advocacy Network.
- February 22: While away your Saturday afternoon with a browse around Liberty Flea (pictured) and all its vintage and artisan treasures, at the Bok.
- February 23: Kids Rock Philly rocks World Cafe Live with a concert to benefit a local organization working to bolsters students’ access to quality music learning.