Community Arts

UCAL’s Community Arts program engages the public via classes and pop-ups. We currently work with two senior centers (Living Independently For Elders sites) to provide poetry classes. These classes run year around, and there is a poetry reading every spring along with a publication of that year’s poetry. Support provided by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund .

We also provide art classes to children living in temporary housing at the People’s Emergency Center (PEC), and the Jane Addams Place. Programming over the years has included visual storytelling, literacy-based arts and crafts, and improv classes.

POPBANNEROne of the biggest elements of the Community Arts program are our Pop-up activities. These make and take tabling activities are inspired by our 50th-anniversary clothesline events of 2017 and occur in partnership with a host organization at festivals, parks, and neighborhood happenings. Pop-ups are mini art classes and shows all in one. These events are heavily dependent on what the host-partner is interested in providing to the public and have included projects such as screen printed handkerchiefs, paper lanterns, fan decorating, painting with foods, and eco-footprinting.

Pop-Up partners have included the University City District, Art In the Open, The Parent Infant Center, and Greensgrow Farm West.

Art In Schools

Art In Schools (AIS) works with principals, classroom teachers, programming partners, and OST programming directors, to bring dynamic classes in the arts to West Philadelphia schools. Our classes are tailored to fit the needs and expectations of partners. Classes can take place in an art classroom, bring an experience when there is no art program, or supplement curriculum that is already taking place within the school. AIS brings passionate and excited artists into the classroom to share what they love.

UCAL offers sculpture, painting and drawing, pottery, writing, dance, and improv. Past and current class content includes printmaking, Afrofuturism, epic game making, puppetry, wearables, and model making. AIS instructors also go to back to school nights and special school events to provide art activities to help encourage community and provide a lasting token of that event. UCAL’s programs were developed with the belief that children can benefit from exposure to the arts, which helps develop basic skills, encourages visual awareness, and stimulates intellectual growth and creativity.  

Classes usually meet once a week, anywhere from four to twelve weeks, and can include an entire school, or just ten selected participants in an after-school program. UCAL looks to create partnerships that encourage artistic skill and creativity in the youth of West Philadelphia.

AIS currently serves Samuel Powel School, Henry C. Lea School, Benjamin B. Comegy School, The Science Leadership Academy Middle School, the Workshop School, and the City School.

Making it Happen

If you are interested in bringing any of UCAL’s community arts programs to your event, center, or school, please contact Accra Zuberi at

DonateWe have graciously been supported by the Sheila Fortune Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Alfred and Mary Douty Foundation, the Rosenlund Family Foundation, the Glatfelter Family Foundation, and the Christopher Ludwick Foundation.

Our program is growing, and we need your help. Please support the community arts program by donating to our annual appeal. Every bit helps us to continue bringing amazing classes and events to our community.

Thank you to Philadelphia Cultural Fund! This grant allows us to serve and nourish our community through art and culture.

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