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Cultural Alliance Hosts Community Engagement Forum in Honor of MLK Day of Service

Philadelphia—On Thursday, January 22, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s GroundSwell advocacy & community engagement program will host “Arts & Culture Vitality in Your Community,” a forum to highlight and discuss the work creative organizations are doing in communities across the region.

This free event will be held at Christ Church Neighborhood House from 3-6:30pm with a keynote, panel discussion and audience Q&A, followed by a cocktail reception. Attendees may visit to register.  

“In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and the annual MLK Day of Service event on January 19, we wanted to convene the sector for an open discussion on how we can be more involved in the communities where we live and work,” says Nicole Allen, Cultural Alliance Director of Policy & Community Engagement. “We believe arts and culture have the power to unite neighborhoods and make a real, lasting difference, and we’ve invited some special guests to share ideas on how artists and cultural organizations can better connect with their communities.”

The keynote will be delivered by Arthur C. Evans, Jr, PhD, Philadelphia’s Behavioral Health Commissioner. Dr. Evans is renowned for his experience in revitalizing community healthcare services and transforming delivery and accessibility systems.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Glen Knapp, Executive Producing Director of Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Three cultural sector leaders will participate:

  • Asdrey Irizarry, Education Director, Taller Puertorriqueño
  • Cassandra Green, Manager of Community Outreach, People’s Emergency Center
  • Mary Javian, Director of Professional Development & Community Engagement, Curtis Institute of Music

At the conclusion of the program, attendees will have the opportunity to share their own stories of positive examples of the impact of arts and culture in their neighborhoods, as well as ask questions about best practices for developing community engagement programs.  Philadelphia Young Playwrights and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program will also lead interactive workshops during the cocktail reception.

For more information, including headshots and bios for speakers and panelists, please contact Alison Zeidman at 215-805-5737 or

Established in 1972, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is the region’s leading arts and cultural advocacy, research and marketing organization. Our mission is to “lead, strengthen and give voice to a diverse cultural sector that is making Philadelphia a world-class region to live, work, and play.”  Our membership includes over 400 organizations ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles and zoos. Our members, as well as the cultural community as a whole, count on the Alliance for signature research reports on the health and growth of the sector; grantmaking in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; robust professional development and membership services; marketing and audience development through our signature consumer marketing programs, and Funsavers; and leadership in policy and community engagement through our GroundSwell advocacy initiative and STAMP teen program. For more information on the Cultural Alliance, please visit

In January 2013, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance launched a new grassroots advocacy and community engagement initiative, GroundSwell, which works to expand the cultural sector's base of engaged grassroots advocates by giving residents a chance to learn about and participate in activities that are improving communities around the region. GroundSwell's work aligns arts and culture with other quality-of-life partners (parks, trails, libraries). For more information, visit