ASI Bulletin – January/March 2024


Happy New Year to one and all wherever you are!

Sending you a warm New Year’s greeting! It’s delightful to see our staff and students enjoy the diverse traditions and celebrations from various parts of the world. Whether it’s enjoying fireworks, watching iconic events on TV, participating in cultural rituals, or simply spending time with loved ones, the spirit of celebration is truly universal.

Reflecting on the highlights of the past year and looking forward to exciting plans is a great way to approach the new year. May 2024 bring joy, fulfillment, and positive experiences to you and the entire community. Here’s to embracing the potential of the new year and working together to make it even better than the last. Happy New Year! 🎉

Warm regards,

How you can make a difference

It’s wonderful to share the impactful work that Art Sphere Inc. is doing to provide free art programs and resources to the community, especially during a time when such opportunities may be limited. Supporting organizations like ours is crucial for the well-being and development of children and families.

For those looking to make a difference and contribute to Art Sphere Inc.’s mission, here are some ways to help:

  1. Spread the Word: Share Art Sphere Inc.’s mission and initiatives with your friends, family, and social networks. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool in raising awareness. Engage with Art Sphere Inc. on social media platforms. Like, share, and comment on our posts to help broaden our reach.

  2. Donate: Consider making a donation to Art Sphere Inc. Every contribution, no matter the size, can make a meaningful impact. As mentioned, specific donation amounts are highlighted to illustrate how various levels of support can directly benefit the community.

  3. Volunteer: If possible, offer your time and skills to support Art Sphere Inc.’s programs. Volunteers can play a vital role in helping with classes, workshops, and events.

  4. Corporate Sponsorship: Explore partnerships with local businesses or corporations that may be interested in supporting community initiatives. Corporate sponsorships can provide additional resources and visibility.

Remember, every little bit helps, and collective efforts can lead to positive change. Thank you for the important work you’re doing, and best of luck in continuing to make a difference in the lives of children and families through art!

Here is a useful and practical guide for setting your own goals and making progress in the new year. If you are adventurous check out our Entrepreneurism page and Interactive Programs.

Wishing everyone a successful and fulfilling journey towards their goals in 2024.

Celebrate 2024 with New Year’s Handouts and January through March with Winter Themed Handouts and crafts. Make Cut Out Snowflakes and Penguin Day art to help you embrace the cold weather and dark nights by making beautiful and creative projects in the new year.  Some of our other highlights for the upcoming months include:

Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air! Put your love into these amazing activities created just for Valentine’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day

Feeling lucky and abundant? Spread the wealth, make a card, color a rainbow, and share some joy!

Exploring the Arts From Around The World Celebrating Holidays, Culture and Literacy

Whether you are in Philadelphia enthralled by the fireworks on Penn’s Landing, watching the Times Square ball drop on TV, ringing bells in Japan, sharing Joumou soup in Haiti, building an old man sculpture in India, throwing old plates in Denmark, eating grapes in Spain, hanging onions in Greece, sleeping on mistletoe in Ireland or heading to the beach in Brazil, we hope you celebrate 2024 in style! Honoring the new year with all its potential and our power to make it an even better year than the last is an important tradition in cultures and continents around the world.

Each week, Art Sphere provides a different art and cultural program at each of our locations focusing on a different part of the country or the world or a different ethnic group. We do this with art examples, reproductions, photographs and books written and illustrated by people of different races and ethnicities.

Students’ enthusiasm and feedback for these Fall Programs show some of the many ways ASI makes a difference in measuring student accomplishments. 

At Cione, Shissler, and Northern Liberties recreation centers, ASI teachers and students alike enjoy sharing their creativity to inspire their peers. In a recent class our students talked about things students want to change in the world and at the recreation centers.

Students wanted to make sure that people had food, and for the winter holiday exhibit event they agreed that they wanted to do a canned food drive for those less fortunate and use their art work to uplift others.

At Dendy Recreation Center, we celebrated Halloween, Winter and Christmas with Holiday Art Making events and distributing art materials and books for youth to make art from home. You too can explore making art and writing projects inspired by our book list!

For example, we read “Boo Stew” by Donna L. Washington for Halloween focusing on a Black heroine from the South where students identified the location from the descriptions of the swamp and the illustrations of the Mississippi River. Students loved following the example of Curly Locks, and made their own gross recipes and creepy jar art to tame monsters! Students learned new vocabulary, and to use the pictures from the book to identify new terms describing the weather, emotions and landscapes. 

The following week, students made Day of the Dead skulls decorated with flowers and patterns to celebrate the art of Mexico. Students learned about a tissue paper art form Picado Dia de Los Muertos banners that we brought to classes to inspire them. Playing Mexican music helped make this a festive event. Bringing music from different cultures and engaging multiple senses helps make the art making process immersive. 

Students also made cornucopia pictures with the “three sisters’” symbolized by beans, squash, and corn, and learned about Thanksgiving from the Indigenous people’s perspective using the book “Keepunumuk Weeachumun’s Thanksgiving”  written and illustrated by four Indigenous People. 

Indigenous people’s cultures can be interesting, spiritual, creative, and unique. Learn their history and celebrate their originality with Art Sphere.

Students this Fall learned about the contributions to music made by Black musicians such as Soul, Gospel, Rock, Jazz, and Blues. They played various instruments, made their own rhythms, and took turns leading the group in conducting and assembling songs. Students invented their own rhythms and collaborated with classmates to add their own lyrics. We saw  how they courageously jumped in with the next phrase of respect and awareness. They learned improvisation, social skills and team work! 

Join Riya for in person cartooning classes at Cione Recreation Center on January 14th and 28th from 12 to 1 pm.  
Please contact Kevin Director to register at
See highlights from our in-person Free Cartooning Classes on Sundays and use these links to access free online class resources here.

In the context of storytelling, we employ skits, acting, writing, group discussions, collective creative processes and art making to provide a conduit for students to talk about their own experiences and feelings within the framework of short stories, such as “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros. This short story explores childhood trauma in the framework of school and the importance to learn how to self-advocate and step into maturity. The students like the dramatic readings to keep focused on the story and respond with deep and meaningful reflections throughout. Emotional depictions make it possible for everyone to identify with all the characters, and no feeling is judged. Students who don’t want to speak publicly can share their thoughts in paper messages written in thought bubbles.  

As parents and guardians, we encourage you to ask your children what they learned in our classes. We are often surprised at the maturity level and how our youth express themselves.  We also encourage you to stop by and even possibly volunteer by handing out supplies, collecting papers and maybe even reading a story to our younger children. Your presence can make a great difference!  If you would like to volunteer please contact:

Our Literacy Through Art Programs at Penn Treaty School provided a broad selection of free books that center around BIPOC characters and challenged youth by reading short stories like “Eleven”.   

Our partnership with Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network, Harrisburg University and VentureLab has helped ASI expand student access to modern technology used in colleges and innovative careers for youth. Students have been able to virtually travel the world, experience college classroom spaces, go on dinosaur fossil digs, visit other planets and imaginary worlds. We used virtual reality to travel to these unique places and made avatars through VR as the impetus for students to write their own original mysteries and adventure stories and to create their own characters where their imaginations are limitless. 

Join us for the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday, January 15, 2024, from the comfort of your own home! Are you passionate about music and eager to explore instruments from various cultures? Spend your time from 10 am to 12 noon supporting our lesson plans by delving into the world of musical instruments. Sign up today!

Or learn how to volunteer with ASI online through Microsoft 365 on your choice of the upcoming 365 days of the year here.  Our online volunteer events are a great way to engage corporate volunteers. For details email

Thank you to all the incredible volunteers who’ve signed up for MLK Day of Service! Join us in making a difference with Global Citizen. 

You can become a member of our staff to help us in the classroom. Read about the experiences of volunteers within our organization, and learn more about how to get involved.

YOU can be a part of Art Sphere’s mission in “Transforming Lives through the Arts.” Art Sphere provides FREE art instruction and supplies to inner-city youth who often have fewer opportunities to take art classes. Here, they learn how to creatively solve problems and express themselves.

Art Sphere Inc. would like to thank the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, PSAYDN, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Penn Treaty Special Services District, and our other supporters for all of their support! We wouldn’t be able to bring impactful free classes to our students without your help, and we hope to continue to make a difference in our underserved communities across Philadelphia. 

Please go and learn how this organization helps to support cultural nonprofits every year in our city.

. . . and that wraps up this edition of the Art Sphere Bulletin. Thank you so much for reading our update this quarter. Be sure to follow us on social media for more fun activities!

We would be honored for you to share our free arts projects by forwarding this email address to your friends, family and colleagues. Let them know they can receive our newsletter by sending a blank message to: