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DO-GOODER Spotlight: SpARC Philly

The Do-Gooder Spotlight is GroundSwell's blog post spreading the word about individuals and organizations working to better their communities. Today we are giving a shout-out to our friends at SpArc Philadelphia!


SpArc Philadelphia was established in 1990, as the parent company of a family of organizations that provides services to individuals with disabilities and helps them to achieve independence through choice, self-determination, inclusion and community connections.

SpArc works with many organizations to provide various services including volunteer opportunities and opportunities to engage in the cultural arts. include in-house contracted work, cultural arts, community supports, and volunteering in the community. Throughout the year, SpArc will bring in local artists and educators  to teach participants skills in ceramics, drawing, painting, theater, music and movement.  The participants truly do a build a bridge to bring together Philadelphia arts communities through a variety of exhibitions, projects, and partnerships.

This month the organization unveiled a new exhibit in the Education Corridor of the Philadelphia Museum of Art,  On Wednesday, September 3, the organization unveiled Bridges, an exhibition featuring vibrant artwork from artists dealing with physical and cognitive disabilities. 

The making of the exhibit was an extensive and rewarding process and the artists worked diligently to bring the exhibition to life.  Throughout the year, they receive guided tours of the museum’s collections and then created their own works of art in their program’s studios and exhibit them at the museum.

The artists viewed many highlights from the museum's collection during their tours, including still life, landscapes, surrealist art, and modern and contemporary works. Many of the artists responded most profoundly to portraits from eras spanning the 19th century to the present. When they returned to the SpArc they worked on self-portraits, as well as portraits inspired by various cultural references including direct interpretation of works they had seen in person at the museum.

The exhibit opened in early September and has been so popular that it was extended an additional week, through Sunday, October 5.