ArtWell was founded in 2000 to respond to the chronic community violence in Philadelphia by introducing a preventive, educational, arts-oriented approach to reach underserved communities and youth facing discrimination, poverty, violence, and the everyday challenges of growing up. Our mission is to support young people and their communities through arts education and creative reflection to discover their strengths, face complex challenges, and awaken their dreams.
ArtWell has grown to partner with over 400 organizations and serve more than 35,000 participants. At least 85% of the young people we work with are residents of low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia. In 2013, we served over 1,000 students in the greater Philadelphia area ages 5-18, including youth from private, public, and disciplinary schools, as well as community organizations and libraries.
Our innovative approach utilizes best practices in Critical Pedagogy, Multicultural Education, Asset Based Youth Development and Social-Emotional Learning. Workshops are student-centered and combine the building and mastery of arts skills with dialogue, inquiry, and reflection to explore “big ideas” and essential questions that are relevant in young people’s lives. Teaching artists engage youth in critical thought and often difficult dialogues through creativity and self expression by creating a community where students feel safe to be their authentic selves, share stories, take risks and grow.
By fostering creativity, enhancing communication and literacy skills, ArtWell helps individuals from diverse cultures and faith traditions to deepen their understandings of themselves and their community and to ultimately reduce violence and increase peace within our city and region.
ArtWell lifts up the voices of those unheard, helping individuals work together to build stronger communities.
To learn how you can become a volunteer, participant, or bring a program to a school or organization in your neighborhood, please contact Julia Terry, Program Director.