History

Our legacy is anchored in artist-facilitated community building. More than 40 years ago, Arthur Hall erected the Black Humanitarian Center near the corner of 10th and Lehigh in North Central Philadelphia (now The Village’s main programming building). For Arthur Hall, creating space for people in the neighborhood to read, dance, sing and make music, was a crucial part of each resident learning and celebrating the community’s culture and heritage. Twenty years later, artist Lily Yeh continued growing spaces in the neighborhood, in the same spirit of communal care and compassion. For Lily, the beautification of physical space catalyzed positive mental and emotional shifts in the way that residents viewed their own lives and the health of their neighborhood. Using social art practice, both Arthur and Lily—the Village’s first artists in residence—in collaboration with Big Man, Jo Jo, H German Wilson and so many other influential figures, encouraged peo­ple to believe in, and help build a more beautiful and just future for themselves and their families.

“Tree of Life”

The children building "Tree of Life" sculpture in Ile Ife Park

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Park Building

Victor Jackson with community residents, laying the foundation for Meditation Park.

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Serpentine Walls

The Village is surrounded by serpentine walls, marking spaces as sacred and cared for by the community, for whom and with whom they were created.

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Ile Ife Guardian Mural

Lily Yeh, painting The Village’s iconic Ile-Ife Guardian Mural, originally designed and created in 1986.

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Park Building

Community residents forming the circle that would become the Tree of Life sculpture in The Village's first art park, Ile Ife Park.

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Rites of Passage

In Meditation Park, Teaching Artist of Theatre, H. German Wilson and neighborhood youth perform the Rites of Passage. wherein youth promise to be good stewards of their community and their community promises to be good stewards of their youth.

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Lily, James ‘Big Man’ Maxton, and Jo Jo

Lily painting the angels in Angel Alley with community residents James 'Big Man' Maxton (who became The Village's resident mosaic artist and Operations Director) and Jo Jo Williams (mason worker and carpenter who helped design and build The Village's art parks.)

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African Dance at Ile Ife

Afro-American Dance Ensemble, rehearsal at Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center, predecessor to The Village.

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Arthur Hall

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Our Team

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Faith Bartley

People's Paper Co-op Lead Fellow

Bio to come…

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Courtney Bowles

People's Paper Co-op Co-Director

Bio to come…

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Roosevelt Davis

Community Development Associate

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Lillian Dunn

SPACES Residency Manager

Bio to come…
lillian@villagearts.org

Staff

Jon Hopkins

Environmental Director, PhillyEarth

Bio to come…
jon@villagearts.org

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Aviva Kapust

Executive Director

Bio to come…
aviva@villagearts.org

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Marangeli Mejia Rabel

Community Economic Development Director

Bio to come…
marangeli@villagearts.org

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Mike O’Bryan

Youth Arts Program Manager

Bio to come…
mike@villagearts.org

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Frank Poland

Facilities Technician

Bio to come…

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El Sawyer

Operations Director

Bio to come…
el@villagearts.org

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Mark Strandquist

Peoples Paper Co-op Co-director

Bio to come…

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Brenda Toler

Administrative Manager

Bio to come…

Board

Susan Smith

Bio to come…

Teaching Artists

Donna Backus

Mixed Media Arts

Recent Funding and Major Support

  • Alan Hilles Foundation
  • American Honda Foundation
  • ArtPlace America
  • Bartol Foundation
  • Berwind Family Foundation
  • Ex;it Design Studio
  • Glaxo Smith Klein / The Food Trust
  • Hankin Foundation
  • Jako Enterprises / Kicks USA
  • Knight Foundation
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • Merck Family Foundation
  • Moore Family Foundation
  • Moore Family Foundation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • North Central Empowerment Zone
  • United Way
  • Pennsylvania Council on The Arts
  • Pew Center for Arts and Heritage
  • Philadelphia Commerce Department
  • Philadelphia Cultural Fund
  • PHMC/DHS Out of School Time
  • Seth Sprague Charitable Foundation