The biggest event draw of the weekend will arguably be Wonderspaces, a cool new sound-and-light show opening in the Fashion District on Friday evening. Besides all the glowing, Insta-worthy displays, the exhibition also includes elements that speak to some of the topics we talk about here: like the power of collectivity and protest. Be sure to check it out.
The weekend also gives you the chance to pick up quirky local art on the cheap, take a bootcamp that prepares folks to run for office and bar-hop to support those affected most by the Australian bushfires.
Find details on all that and a little bit more in our guide to the best do-gooder events of the weekend below.
Things to do in Philadelphia this weekend
Artists from Sundance to Burning Man collaborated on Wonderspaces, a fascinating pop-up sound and light show opening this week in Fashion District Philadelphia. The exhibition takes over a 24,000 square-foot, two-level gallery in the neighborhood with 14 experiential art installations that are ready-made for Instagram. Among the exhibits on view are Submergence, an immersive experience by Squidsoup that lets guests walk through 8,064 dazzling points of light that change color along with music. Come Together by Michael Murphy (pictured) explores the power in coming together for a common cause and centers around an image of the artist’s girlfriend’s raised fist from Women’s March in 2017. Time-slotted tickets are sold here. Guests should expect to spend 75 to 90 minutes inside. Opens January 24, various times, $24, Fashion District Philadelphia, 27 N. 11 Street.
Thinking about running for public office but don’t know where to start? She Can Win, a local organization working to promote more women in civic leadership, is hosting its biannual political training boot camp on Saturday morning to help you get the ball rolling. The daylong event caters to any female-identified person thinking of running for office or interested in working for political campaigns. It includes informational sessions on field operations, communications, fundraising and campaign management. Since it started in 2014, She Can Win has trained more than 500 women. Show up and help keep that number on the rise ✊🏽. Saturday, January 25, 8:30am–4:30pm, $35, Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden Street.
Statement-making art and home goods are available in spades at gallery and boutique Art Star’s annual Crap Bazaar. For one weekend only, the Northern Liberties shop is setting up a couple tables in its backroom to sell flawed—and deeply discounted—creations made by 20 local artists. Think Island of Misfits-type goods: a vase that leans a little too far to the left, a ceramic ashtray with a weird knotty bubble in the center, a stuffed doll with a droopy eye. You catch our drift. Participating artists include Tadpole Creations, Lenny Mud, Rider Ceramics and exit343design, which we featured in our recent holiday gift guide. Art Star is donating 25 percent of Crap Bazaar profits to two nonprofits: ACLU of Pennsylvania and Portside Art Center. January 25, 11am–7pm; January 26, noon–6pm, free to attend, Art Star, 623 N. 2nd Street.
Two separate parties in the Society Hill-ish area on Saturday afternoon are benefitting organizations working to help the people and animals affected by the Australian bushfires. Do a mini bar-hop to double your impact: Start at Khyber Pass Pub (noon–4pm, 56 S. 2nd Street), where your $20 door fee gets you a free drink. One-hundred percent of money raised will benefit Adelaide Koala Rescue and The Kangaroo Island Mayoral Fund. Not too far away, local Australian rules football team the Philadelphia Hawks are throwing their annual Australia Day party at Cavanaugh’s Head House (noon–6pm, 421 S. 2nd Street). All money earned from the suggested $20 admission fee goes to the Australian Red Cross. Both parties feature live music and Aussie-inspired food and beverage, such as sausage rolls, meat pies and Coopers Australian pale ale.
Lunar New Year in 2020 happens on Saturday, January 25, and there are lots of ways to welcome the Year of the Rat in Philadelphia. If you want to make a weekend out of it, start at Dilworth Park on Saturday evening (5–9pm, 1 S. 15th Street). The space will be done up in traditional Chinese decor, and alive with activities like lion dancing, ice skating. Show up early: The first 50 guests will receive “lucky red envelopes” stuffed with secret prizes. On Sunday, festivities are going down in Chinatown, when the annual lion dance parade (11am–3pm, starts at 10th and Race streets) snakes through the streets. Nab a good spot during the spectacle by checking the parade route schedule here.