School and Community Partnerships

PAFA provides supplemental educational programming to support student learning, parental engagement, and visual literacy initiatives for predominantly bilingual audiences in the Feltonville and Kensington neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

During the academic year, every student at every school receives in-class lessons, opportunities to visit the museum, and a chance to contribute to an Art Island project, which is a multi-week collaborative project that allows members of the community to contribute to a permanent art project that will live at the school. Teachers at all grade levels and subjects receive professional development workshops, parents receive free family workshops to help support creativity at home and PAFA partners with other organizations throughout the year to present a number of arts festivals and celebrations for families in the neighborhood.

About the Program

PAFA is committed to a deep investment with the Kensington and Feltonville communities over many years, working alongside partner teachers, principals, parents and community leaders to use the arts to support critical needs in literacy skills for a largely bilingual community. These programs do not replace the need for qualified art teachers in elementary schools, but work alongside committed professionals to support student learning, parental engagement and visual literacy for all members of the community.

Piloted in 2013-14 with Isaac A. Sheppard Elementary, and now including  Feltonville Intermediate and Gloria Cazares Elementary School (former Philip H. Sheridan Elementary), PAFA's School and Community Partnership brings all aspects of PAFA’s educational programs for students and families to the Kensington and Feltonville Community.

PAFA is also committed to building and strengthening partnerships through the arts and is always interested in hearing from organizations and schools that are interested in joining this effort.

Community Partners

  • The Free Library of Philadelphia: Local branches of the city's library system work with PAFA staff to provide community-based art lessons during out of school time to participating students, families and community members. Workshops are held during after-school hours using a drop in model, with no registration required providing out-of-school settings for families to create together.  
  • Taller Puertorriqueño: This wonderful community arts partner works with PAFA on professional development opportunities for art educators working in the neighborhood, hosts family workshops and collaborates on a big end of year arts festival for participating schools and families.
  • Providence Center: Committed to North Philadelphia’s Fairhill community since 1993, Providence Center offers education programming for children, youth, and adults. PAFA partners with them through their after-school program providing art workshops to participating students and families.
  • Episcopal Communtiy Services: This great Out of School Time Program provides after-school and summer camp services to elementary and middle school students in the diverse Feltonville neighborhood. PAFA partners with them through their after-school and summer program providing art workshops to participating students and families.
  • COMHAR HOPE: A comprehensive human services organization that implements community centers, community living arrangements, co-occurring behavioral health, addiction and treatment programs for members of the community. PAFA partners with COMHAR's Latino Treatment Program as well as their Allegheny Center. PAFA provides monthly guided Museum Tours as well as art-workshops on-site to participating members.
  • Mann Older Adult Center: This great city center provides congregate meals, recreation, education, health service, transportation and counseling for older adults in the Fairhill community. PAFA provides Mann's members with art-workshops on-site as well as guided Museum Tours for members and their families.
  • Baker Industries: A social enterprise, Baker Industries blends a unique mix of hard-to-employ adults into a nonprofit work program.
art island 2019

Spring 2019: Philip H. Sheridan School

In response to the school’s request to have a project that would beautify the schools entrance as well as the first floor, artist Matt McKnight worked with students creating personal paper mosaic tiles that were then assembled as a whole and permanently installed creating a colorful and bright greeting into the school.

art island 2016

Fall 2016: Feltonville Intermediate School

In response to the school’s request to have a project that would beautify the schools entrance hall—a space frequented by the entire student body as well as all who walk into the school—artist Wayne Kleppe worked with students creating personal flags that were then permanently installed creating a visual unified banner of flags.

art island 2016

Spring 2016: Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences

In response to the school’s request to have a project that responded to their outdoor yard, an area that is frequented by the entire school in the morning, during lunch time and during dismissal; artist Mia Rosenthal, a PAFA alumni, worked with students creating personal symbols, prompted by questions that made students think of their own identity. The symbols were vinyl printed and installed in the schools windows that face the outdoor yard.

Lead support for the School and Community Partnership initiative is provided by the William Penn Foundation.

 Additional support is provided by the Fleischner Family Foundation, the Christian and Mary Lindback Foundation, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, the Stephen and Carol Canter Family Foundation, and Dale and Richard Levy.

William Penn Foundation logo

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PAFA offers programs for artists and art lovers of all ages and skill levels who want to learn about and make art.