Around Town

Cultural Alliance asking for $2M increase in budget

The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is calling on City Council to support the Philadelphia Cultural Fund at $5.5 million, more than the currently proposed $3.5 million in the FY24 Budget. Following Council’s decision to allocate an additional $2 million to PCF in the FY23 Mid-Year Transfer, the Cultural Alliance is requesting Council to reinstate $2 million to its FY24 Budget to provide the arts and culture sector the stability it claims it needs to help Philadelphia thrive.

“We cannot go back – and we will not stand silently by as the city underfunds and overlooks arts and culture in Philadelphia,” said Patricia Wilson Aden, president and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “We urge the city to take a step forward and provide the stability our arts organizations need to thrive by funding PCF at $5.5 million. Our sector has contributed significantly to Philadelphia’s economy with $3.4 billion in economic impact, and the proposed budget underscores the lackluster commitment to the arts.”

Established in 1991 as an independent, community-focused nonprofit and grant-making organization, PCF works to enhance the cultural life and vitality of the city and its residents.

Tufting classes in Bok Building

South Philly residents can take workshops on rug tufting, embroidery, screen printing and summer fiber camps at Tuft the World in the Bok Building. The adult classes range from making a tufted mirror or stool to cyanotype and mono-printing extravaganzas. Tuft will offer beginner and advanced tufting classes as well as beginner crochet, embroidery and screen printing.

The summer camps for youths will be textile focused. Campers (ages 8-12) will explore different fiber techniques to transform plain fabric into unique artworks. During a five-day camp, kids will learn how to weave, tie-dye and screen-print on fabric. The summer studio for teens (ages 13-16) will explore different fiber techniques to transform plain fabric into pieces of art. During this four-day session, teens will learn how to embroider, tuft rugs and screen-print on fabric. Projects will vary week to week. All weaving and screen-printing materials will be provided by Tuft the World’s Education Studio. For more information, visit

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra receives grant

The National Endowment for the Arts has approved Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute for a $30,000 grant to support Tune Up Philly, Orchestral Pathways Program, an after-school music program directed by Paul Smith. TUP focuses on creating student pathways and empowering communities by bringing intensive arts access to “under-resourced” areas of Philadelphia.

TUP focuses on creating and inspiring true community by providing children in “under-resourced” communities with opportunities to learn and perform a differentiated orchestral music curriculum. PYOMI will receive general programmatic support for TUP, which is one among 1,130 projects across the country, totaling more than $31 million, that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2023 funding.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, including

PYO Music Institute’s Tune Up Philly-Orchestral Pathways Program demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture and design.”

Scanlon pushes for action to address black maternal health crisis

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon joined a bicameral group of colleagues in introducing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, historic legislation to save moms’ lives and address every driver of maternal mortality, morbidity and disparities in the United States.

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any high-income country, and it is rapidly getting worse. Recent data from the CDC show that maternal deaths in recent years have increased by a dramatic 40 percent. But there is hope: More than 80 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.

Led by Sen. Cory Booker, Reps. Lauren Underwood and Alma Adams and sponsored by Black Maternal Health Caucus members, the package of 13 evidence-based bills would make critical investments to address social determinants of health, provide funding for community-based organizations, grow and diversify the perinatal health workforce, expand access to maternal mental health care, address the effects of climate change on maternal and infant health, and improve data collection processes.

“Every mother in our community deserves to live a happy, healthy life with her baby,” said Scanlon. “But tragically, our country has the worst maternal health outcomes in the developed world, and black women are three times more likely to die from childbirth than white women. I’m proud to join Reps. Adams, Underwood and Sen. Booker in introducing this sweeping package of bills that addresses every driver of the crisis and makes the investments moms need to have safe and healthy pregnancies. I’m calling on my colleagues to pass the full package immediately.”

Burrs at the Beach

The 34th annual Burrs at the Beach will take place on Sunday, June 25, from 1-6 p.m. at Keenan’s Pub in North Wildwood. Proceeds will benefit needy Catholic students at West Catholic with tuition financial support.

The cost is $30 and includes buffet, reduced drink prices, raffle prize, band and DJ. Must be 21 or older.

Call George Light (‘58), 610-996-2015; Peg (Sheffield) Panichelli (‘65), 610-420-0987; or Tom McGinn (‘65), 610-461-6241.

Proper handwashing techniques

Essity, a global hygiene and health company, as well as a producer of professional hygiene products, recently conducted a survey to assess what, if anything, the pandemic has taught people about proper hand-hygiene behaviors. Essity surveyed people 18 and older living in the Delaware Valley to determine the area’s “grade” on its first Handwashing Report Card. Survey results were merely “Satisfactory” overall, leaving room for improvement and further education.

Most notably, while those surveyed do still seem to be partaking in handwashing behaviors and practices (receiving a grade of “Outstanding”), they could use some improvement on their knowledge of proper handwashing techniques (“Needs Improvement”).

“It’s important to not only wash your hands, but to wash them properly,” said Amy Bellcourt, vice president of Communications, Professional Hygiene, for Essity North America. “Not understanding or following proper hand-hygiene practices poses a significant threat to our individual and communal health. The COVID-19 pandemic saw a shift in how seriously we take preventing the spread of germs. And while we have definitely moved past sanitizing every home-delivery box and our groceries, practicing proper handwashing is still one of the most effective ways we can help prevent spreading germs.”

Proper handwashing techniques:

• Wash for no less than 20 seconds.

• Water at any temperature will suffice as long as hands are washed with soap for at least 20 seconds.

• Use soap. (Any kind will prevent spread of germs.)

• Do not air-dry; wet hands spread germs more easily.

• Use single-use paper towels to dry hands most effectively.

Bellcourt said, “These simple handwashing steps can create safer environments at home, at school, at work and at play. At Essity, we are committed to providing hygiene solutions that are affordable, sustainable and attainable for all.” ••

Cornhole at St. Martha

St. Martha Parish, 11301 Academy Road, will host a Cornhole Tournament on June 17, at 11 a.m. The cost is $50 a team (all ages) and includes two tournament T-shirts and a chance to win a cash prize. There will be basket raffles, a 50-50, craft beer pull, food, kids crafts and T-shirt sales. Proceeds will benefit the parish Raising the Roof campaign. To register, to become a sponsor or for more information, go to the St. Martha Facebook page or call Kathy Cantz at 215-632-4742 or Mary Beth Ricks at 215-459-3430. ••

English classes for Ukrainians

Holy Family University’s English as a Second Language initiative for newly arrived Ukrainian adults is accepting new applicants. The classes are free and open to members of the community who are at least 18 years old. Classes are at 9801 Frankford Avenue and online. Class days and times are online (through Aug. 24, Tuesday and Thursday, 6-7 p.m.) and in person (June 21 to July 31, Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-7 p.m.). Since last fall, more than 100 newly arrived Ukrainians have attended classes at no cost to help them improve their English proficiency and become familiar with the Philadelphia community. Interested applicants can register at ••

Hoops camp for boys and girls

The 17th annual Jaguar St. Ephrem Basketball Camp for Boys and Girls will take place from Monday, July 24, to Friday, July 28. The cost is $150 and includes a basketball and T-shirt. The camp is held in the air-conditioned Marian Center at St. Ephrem Parish, 5400 Hulmeville Road in Bensalem. The camp is under the direction of former college coach Dan Williams. For more information, email Williams at ••

5K for charity

Madison’s Miracles Inc. – a charity in memory of Fox Chase native Madison Klepesky – will present the Flying Angels 5K on June 10 at 8 a.m. in Beaufort, South Carolina. Sponsorships are available at $1,250, $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000. To make a donation, send checks payable to Madison’s Miracles Inc. to 4 Fox Sparrow Road, Beaufort, SC 29907. For more information, call 267-226-9500, visit or email

Madison Klepesky, a St. Cecilia and St. Hubert graduate, was 18 when she died in a car accident caused by a speeding drunk driver in 2021 in South Carolina. She was a student at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. She would have turned 20 on June 10, the day of the 5K. ••

Franklin Mills flea market has opened

The Roosevelt Mall flea market has closed due to major construction and total renovations of the mall, with additional retail stores being built where the market operated. Philadelphia Flea Markets has moved to Liberty Plaza, at Liberty Bell and Franklin Mills boulevards, just off Knights Road. The market will operate every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., through November. For more information, call Tony at 215-625-FLEA or log onto ••

Pro-life baby shower

The Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia will hold a baby shower on June 24 to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that there is no constitutional right to an abortion. There will be a Mass at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, followed by a march down Race Street and a rally at Independence Mall, where there will be music and speakers such as Mark Houck, the pro-life activist found not guilty by a federal jury of shoving a Planned Parenthood volunteer he said was harassing his son outside a Center City abortion clinic. Baby donations will be accepted. ••