Children with access to art education have a better chance of growing up to be positive members of their community. Sadly, many schools in Philadelphia don’t have the funding or resources to give students the opportunity to express themselves through art. A painting class or sketchbook can be the catalyst for a lifetime of creativity, or a positive memory that propels someone into their next phase in life.
Please Touch Museum’s brand new Creative Arts Studio is now open and provides a fun and engaging space to paint, draw, and interact with other kids in a positive environment. The 1200 square foot space will be open Monday to Friday 11am to 2pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm. Children who step into this space can participate in collaborative mural making, cardboard structure building, and color mixing at the Studio’s permanent “clay station.”
The museum is very easy to get to and located right between the Parkside neighborhood and West Fairmount Park. SEPTA Bus route 38 drops you off at the front entrance and Route 40 stops along Parkside Avenue. The Please Touch Museum is connected to the network of paved trails and park roads throughout West Fairmount Park, and Indego has a station nearby at 4601 Parkside Avenue.
The easiest way to find the Please Touch Museum and other great destinations is to download the GoPhillyGo Android app. Download it before your visit to get you to the museum, and use it while you are there to find your way to places like the Belmont Plateau and the Shofuso Japanese House. You can always plan an address to address trip by bike, walking, or public transit on the GoPhillyGo mobile website.
A colorful sign welcomes kids as they enter the bright space. Works of art stand out against the white walls they hang from. The room is equipped with paint, paper, and stations that invite children to get their hands dirty or work with a group of kids on a collective mural with a theme. A colorful mural with the words “Philly Pride” hangs on the wall.
GoPhillyGo spoke to Danielle Defassio, Manager of Studio and Performing Arts, inside the Creative Arts Studio. Defassio works with two other coordinators on programming in the Creative Arts Studio and manages the Museum’s theater space and performing arts program.
“This space is brand new, and it’s a very different concept than a lot of other spaces, especially for the very young,” Defassio said. “Here we want to give them the chance to touch high quality materials that they might not get to touch at home or school.”
The museum will begin an artist in residency program at the Creative Arts Studio this February to coincide with their upcoming exhibit titled America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far. This exhibit explores Muslim cultures from Philadelphia and around the world with art, technology, and interactive experiences aimed at learning through play.
Local artists Bariq Cobbs and Keisha Whatley are the featured artists in residence. Their works will be on exhibition and the artists will hold a series of workshops for kids in the Creative Arts Studio throughout 2019.
Studies show that exposure to art and nurturing creativity can have positive impacts on child development. Spaces like the Creative Arts Studio foster creativity, but also offer valuable social training that allows kids to make the right choices later in life. “We’re looking for kids to come in here and work on their problem solving skills, their creative thinking skills, and their critical thinking skills,” Defassio said.