WHAT: For more than 40 years, the University City Arts League (UCAL) has offered classes and workshops designed to spark creativity and inspire a new hobby. Today’s classes and workshops range from pottery and photography to kickboxing-aerobics and magic. There’s also a gallery space tucked inside the group’s beautiful Victorian twin house.
WHERE: 4226 Spruce St.
WHAT’S GOING ON: You name it, UCAL has it—for people of all ages. Children (through age 12) can take up quilting or magic, or explore creative movement, while teens 13 through 18 can participate in figure drawing, yoga or jam sessions with fellow musicians. For adults, the choices are many. Interested in poetry? Take a class dedicated to political poems. Off to Paris next year? No problem—sign up for Beginner French lessons. For those who want to take home a handmade pot, join a popular pottery class. Learn to move around the dance floor in Argentine Tango lessons, or drop those stubborn pounds in Cardio Kickboxing Aerobics.
ONE-TIME ONLY: If you are hesitant to make a commitment to two months’ worth of classes, opt for intensive, one-time workshops, such as the recent day-long “Girls’ DJ 101” class. Coming up on Nov. 8 is “Financial Planning for Artists.”
IN THE COMMUNITY: UCAL strives to be an active part of the community, and collaborates with Penn Alexander School in after-school language classes as well as an after-school Arts Club. The center also partners with the Vet School each summer for the Animal Art Adventure Camp (above), where children ages 6 to 10 learn about animal welfare, responsible pet care, sea life and dogs with jobs, and interact with numerous different animals. UCAL also works with the University of the Sciences to host an annual auction of collectibles, crafts and art for sale.
ON THE WALLS: Each year, the Arts League hosts exhibits from local and emerging artists, including photography from Walt Goettman and Patrick Esmonde, mixed media by Jill Maio and, coming up, paintings from Jacqueline Unanue, Nov. 2 through 25. Currently on display through Oct. 26 are images from the Brandywine Photo Collective, featuring work by 16 photographers.
STOP BY: Even if you’re not participating in a class, anyone can stop by the ongoing Argentine tango or ballroom, salsa and swing parties, or see dancers, performance artists and others share their work in the Etc. Performance Series, Nov. 3 and 4. Unique handcrafted items are on sale in the Holiday Craft Show, which runs Dec. 7 through 22.
JOIN NOW: While you don’t have to be a member of the Arts League to take classes, you will get a discounted rate, plus receive notices about special events. You’ll also get discounts at other local cultural institutions, including International House and Curio Theater Company. Membership ranges from $35 for a child to $250 for a patron.
MORE INFO: To learn about all of the events and classes that will run in the upcoming holiday session (Nov. 11 through Dec. 15), go to their website: www.ucartsleague.org.
Originally published on October 18, 2007