The Northwest Sanctuary Project

Sunday, Dec. 11, 1 pm – 5 pm

The Immigrant Innovation Hub

6700 Germantown Ave. (Entrance on Westview) 

Free Admission



The Northwest Sanctuary Project is a free creative arts event for community members of all ages taking place this Sunday, December 11th from 1-5 p.m. This four-hour semi-structured event provides a forum where community members, artists, storytellers, writers and musicians can join together to promote positive messages of peace, inclusivity, and love for our community and all of its members through the creation of art, written pieces, stories, and poetry. This event is in response to the recent rise of incidents of hate speech in our nation. The project is sponsored by Mt. Airy Art Garage, Mt. Airy USA, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Al Bustan Seeds of Culture, Patchwork: A Storytelling Guild, the Philadelphia Children’s March, and Friends of Germantown-Northwest.

The Northwest Sanctuary Project consists of ten varied activities and workshops for people of all ages, including opportunities for participants to express themselves through watercolor painting, sign construction, writing activities, our very own “Post-It Note” wall, creating and telling stories, collaborative poetry construction, and more! Young children and adults alike can make paper cranes for peace, create a watercolor painting, make a sign, or decorate their own “safety cape” to wear. Workshop leaders include artists, writers, school psychologists, community arts organization leaders and storytellers. Music and spoken word poetry will be provided as well. For a list of times and teachers on Sunday, click this link for details.

Participants are welcome to attend workshops, or to observe and partake in whatever is of interest to them. Drop-ins welcome! Refreshments will be served and Peacekeepers will attend the event to ensure safe speech during the event.

The scope of this project is not to fight negativity with negativity, but to create sanctuary and unify the community.  The heart of the project is to facilitate healing and connection in the community through artistic expression and dialogue, and the aim is to foster and cultivate a safe space for everyone in the community through love and support expressed visually through artistic expression. Eventually the project hopes to display the artistic creations made by participants in local business window fronts, or as local exhibition. For more information or if you have questions, email Sarah Napolitan at or Linda Slodki  at



Mt. Airy Art Garage Launches The Community Of Pride Mural Project

cop_logo_finalMt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) is proud to be launching our Community of Pride Mural Project in two local elementary schools this week!


MAAG Teachers + Emlen and Houston Teachers = The Dream Team

The Community of Pride Mural Project begins with a conversation. We are asking students at Eleanor C. Emlen and Henry Houston public schools “What makes you proud?” Answers range from friends and family members, to more abstract ideas, to personal collections or achievements. Over the next four months, through weekly art classes lead by MAAG professional artist teachers, the children will develop and fully realize their ideas and images. MAAG artists will design a unique mural for each school consisting of these original drawings. The murals will be painted by the students and publicly installed in each school, so the children can see their work every day, honoring their collaborative effort while simultaneously providing a source of personal pride. When asked why they wanted to create a mural, one 5th grader from Houston said “Teamwork makes the dream work!” It is precisely that spirit we embrace in this project.

img_5407webThe goal of the project is to deepen a sense of community spirit and pride, using art as a means of communication among the children. The project will aid in building a culture of goodwill that cuts across political or cultural differences and even embraces them. This project is about enriching children’s lives, offering inclusive opportunities, and sharing the positive rewards of making art together.

The participating schools lack art programs or funding for more creative programming. MAAG artists will be guiding the students in making personally expressive imagery that will become incorporated into the larger collaborative images. The transformative power of authentic art experiences, especially in the lives of children who are disadvantaged, cannot be underestimated. Being surrounded by one’s own artistic renditions and sharing them with peers builds communication skills, confidence, and self-esteem. As a community arts organization, it is critical for us to support the schools and children in our community.img_5394web

img_5372For more information and to learn how you can help, or to track the project’s progress, follow Mt. Airy Art Garage on Facebook and Instagram, or visit You can also track #MAAGPopsUp on social media platforms.

We also want to thank our growing list of community sponsors who are making the Community of Pride Project possible:













MAAG In Action! The Beginning of A New Era


You may not have heard much about the goings on at MAAG lately. We’ve been quietly busy – very busy. As our August 31st move date approaches, and we get ready to launch #MAAGPopsUp mode, we’re thrilled to share some incredible news!

We have solid commitments that will ensure our continued success while anticipating the completion of our new space on the 6600 Block of Germantown Ave. Let’s just say, we couldn’t have done this without Mt. Airy USA as our community partner. Stay tuned for details on where MAAG will be popping up this Fall:


1. We will be opening our handcraft gift shop on Germantown Ave. You’ll know where to find us, any day of the week, by following the hashtag #MAAGPopsUp on social media.

2. We have confirmed a location for both Philadelphia Open Studio Tour (POST) AND our Holiday Art Market! Thanks to Lutheran Theological Seminary, we will be hosting a big, beautiful, AND handicapped accessible series of events (with parking) right in Mt. Airy.

3. As artists in residence, we will be moving into Houston and Emlen Schools in October 2016 as we launch the Community of Pride Mural Project.

4. We will be hosting all of our monthly artist group meetings, classes, and figure drawing at confirmed locations starting in Sept. 2016.

5. We are deepening our partnerships with other arts organizations for some outstanding member exhibitions both indoor and outdoor in 2016-7.

So what can you do to help? For starters, you can become a member or rejoin. It’s so easy! You can make a donation to the MAAG in Action Fund. Your money will help us pay for movers, put our things into storage, and position us to be even more visible than ever before. We’re excited to begin a new era, but we can’t do it without you!

Be sure to follow MAAG on social media for details on our classes, workshops, exhibitions, and updates on our move, with the hashtag #MAAGPopsUp!





It’s Been A Roller Coaster Of A Year

We’ve explored gender with students at Moore College of Art in our International Women’s Day Celebration. We were honored to have the first citywide showing of My Son Matters! — a photo exhibition by Denise Allen that explored stereotypes and racism with positive imagery. We touched our community to make it a better place for children and elders with the Make Art Grow Food Project. More collaborations, more exhibitions, a small dream growing.


(c) Michael Albany

Then we were faced with the dilemma of needing to find a new home. Unexpected challenges, momentary detours. We want to tell you, with smiles on our faces, that the Mt. Airy Art Garage will continue to grow in Mt. Airy.
We hope to have an exciting announcement next month about new partnerships and new beginnings. We know in our hearts that none of this would have happened  without your support.MAAG_Wall_Mural-001
We’re more experienced this time around. We’ve had successes beyond our wildest expectations. Each challenge has strengthened us and shown us that not only do we have community support, but there is a real need to continue this work.

(c) Van Williams

Thank you for your continued support and confidence in our work, and all the appreciation you show.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.
Linda Slodki & Arleen Olshan

(c) Lydia Nobles



Make Art, Grow Food Mural Dedication This Week. Join us!

Mural Dedication this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 11 am at the Mt. Airy Art Garage (rear).


Mural Design (c) Daisy Langston Juarez. Photo (c) Michael Albany.

What an amazing intergenerational collaboration between children at Henry Houston Elementary School and elders at Homelink making their own kind of special magic. All drawings in the mural are original and created solely by the participants. The teacher artists of the Mt. Airy Art Garage compiled the images.

Now we are ready to celebrate! Join us this Wed., Sept 9, @ 11 am in the rear garden of the Mt. Airy Art Garage. We’ll be joined by all the artists in the project, both young and old, plus a host of sponsors who made this project possible.  Earth, Bread, and Brewery will concoct some tasty garden treats for all to enjoy.

So, let’s celebrate and keep on dreaming!


Time For African Drums & Dance At The Artist X-Change

Finally Friday, August 28, 6 pm.

Looks like we’re going to be drumming, dancing and sharing at our next Artist X-Change! Our newest resident studio artist, Stephanie Amma Young and Ishmael-El will engage you in West African drumming and dance to experience their expression in life.

Steph1Amma and Ishmael brings their love and passion for their cultural heritage through dance and drum wherever they go. maag_banner_art-x_v2Join us as we experience some expertly performed dance and drum that promotes the preservation of African dance and culture. It provides opportunities for lifelong learning and fortifies our communities with a sense of pride. Spreading “Peace, Love, and Respect for Everybody!”

It’s a night of building community and making connections. You’re even welcome to talk about your own projects. $5 donation.

Stephanie “Amma” YoungSteph2

AMMA, Stephanie Young is a native of Philadelphia who celebrates the African-American experiences and contributions through her art. As a multi-disciplinary artist, Amma is elated with opportunities that will allow her to fuse her visual arts with music, song and dance.   

AMMA has studied and worked as a visual artist and dancer for more than 30 years. She also studied and taught silk screen printing and mural painting. She has studied and performed as a dancer, of Traditional West African Folkloric. Amma studied West African culture through spiritual and religious training and art disciplines. 

stephanieAMMA, as a performing artist,  has performed in concert performances at the Philadelphia Academy of Music, Philadelphia Art Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Smithsonian Institute, New Covenant Church of Philadelphia, Odunde Festival, African American Festivals, Welcome Americas, and other venues.

AMMA  received her BFA in Fine Art from the University of Art Philadelphia. When she is not creating paintings and dancing, she can be found designing costumes for Kulu Mele, Adowaa Praise Drum and other Dance companies teaching and sharing her creative gifts with youth in Public Schools.

AMMA is an award winning artist who is a recipient of 2014 Council of the Arts Apprenticeship Grants to study songs and culture of Mali West Africa; a three-time LeeWay Grant Award Recipient; 2010 Presidential House: Commemorative Untold Story Quilt and Exhibit at Independence Mall and African American Museum of Philadelphia, among a host of other awards.

Ishmael-El, Percussionist/Singer

Ishmael is a percussionist and performer with over 30 years experience. He has performed in many venues including The Locust, The Academy of Music, Kimmel, Wilma, Zellerbach, Painted Bride, African American Museum of Philadelphia, University of Penn, The Barnes, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Philadelphia Odunde Festival, and New York Street Festival. He has studied and performed abroad in the Caribbean Islands—Puerto Rico and St. Johns; West Africa— Nigeria Benin, Guinea Conakry, and Senegal Gori Island.   

He has also played for EZIBU Muntu African Dance and Culture Ensemble and Elegba Society in Virginia, and presently Little Africa Drum Ensemble specializing preserving Afro-Cuban Rumba, Troupe D.A.D.A., Adowaa Praise Drum and Dance Ministry of New Covenant Church of Philadelphia, and the premier Kulu Mele African American Drum and Dance Ensemble for 35 + years.


Make Art Grow Food Mural Comes To Life!

Make Art Grow Food Mural

Oh yes! The kids from Houston School, elders from Homelink, and MAAG teacher artists have been busy making murals and growing urban gardens. There’s so much happening here…we jus have to show you how much fun we’re having and the amazing artwork we’re all creating. Who knows? Just maybe, you’ll join us and volunteer to make this amazing project even better! We’re full steam ahead into September.

So, please indulge us as we share our ongoing joy in this project.

It starts with an idea. Urban gardens, food, vegetables, nature, animals, nutrition, and, of course, a big helping of creativity and love. Then everyone starts to do their artwork. Daisy Juarez and Arleen Olshan take those ideas and help incorporate them into a mural. Daisy does the layout and design of the mural, while everyone’s artwork gets added to the mix.


Then begins the mural painting, and everyone gets to work. Sometimes the kids come to MAAG every day to make the most of their time before school’s out!





And, lo and behold, the mural starts to come alive. The kids are jumping up and down as they see their birds, and caterpillars, and faces, and… The elders smile—they love their mural hands, shaped in a heart, leaves of the tree, embracing all, especially the children.


2015-06-24 12.36.57

The urban garden? Thriving!

From this…


To this….

With Nettie Scott, MAAG garden and nutrition teacher, at the helm…



To this…




To this…

garden volunteer

BUT WAIT! We’re not done. We’re tending to the garden, watering, weeding, and nurturing so that Earth, Bread, and Brewery will have a luscious crop from which to cook their meal in September for all the participants to enjoy. Thank you Peggy Zwerver!

We’re also finishing off the mural, filling it in, making it even richer. And we need your help! It really is great fun when you’re painting with a group of 5-6 folks. You don’t have to be an artist. Just have a steady hand.

So, reach out to us at or call 215.242.5074. We need your help. We pretty sure you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks again to our sponsors. We could have never done it without you. Stay tuned for updates on Make Art, Grow Food.


Joint logos August


Make Art, Grow Food Summer Exhibition Opens It’s Doors

Opening Reception Finally Friday, June 26 @ 6 pm. Admission Free. Exhibition runs Friday, June 26 — Sunday, Sept. 6

Garden flowers GloriaKlaiman

© Gloria Klaiman

Nathalie Borozny2

© Nathalie Borozny

We’re flying high on the tails of the Make Art, Grow Food Project which is moving full steam ahead. We’re finishing off a mural filled with artwork created by elders at Homelink and kids at Houston School while the urban garden continues to thrive. So what better way to celebrate our luscious urban garden and a mural that is exploding with color and creativity than to toast the world that surrounds us.


© Lee Muslin

You’ll feast your eyes on an array of painting, photography, sculpture, found objects, and fiber. Participating artists include Meri Adelman, Poppy Rae Bass, Ellen Benson, Nathalie Borozny, Bill Brookover, Robert Finch, Bill Hanson, Shari Johnson, Gloria Klaiman, Judy Levy, May Lomax, Jay McClellan, Lee Muslin, Arleen Olshan, Patricia Smith, Vita Tew, Karoline Wallace, and Larry West. It’s a feast for the eyes and senses.


© Poppy Rae Bass

So, stop in to our gallery. Cool off, maybe even help with the mural. And, of course, enjoy the show!

Make Art Grow Food Project Is Off To A Running Start

What do you think is happening at the Mt. Airy Art Garage right now? Magic…that’s what’s happening.

Autistic kids at Houston School are partnering with elders at Homelink and MAAG artist teachers are right by their sides. For starters we’re all making a mural—one that will have everyone’s artwork in it, both young and elder. At the same time, we’re planting an urban garden—learning about nutritious foods and how to grow them in your own backyard. Earth, Bread and Brewery will be cooking up the garden herbs and veggies in September to make something yummy. The fruits of everyone’s labor for all to participate in and celebrate.

This project’s part fantasy, part reality, pure creativity, and all about sustainability, urban gardens, nutrition, good health, and, of course, art. Children and elders, working together, creating something so very special. Anyone who comes in can’t help but fall under its spell. We see it every day with our very own eyes.

Come visit, volunteer your time, donate, join our growing list of community sponsors. Join the growing list of supporters who are becoming a part of this project happening right in the heart of Mt. Airy. We’ll be updating you on a regular basis.

Meet the teachers!

Arleen Olshan, Art Teacher

Arleen Olshan, Art Teacher

Daisy Juarez, art teacher and muralist designer extraordinaire

Daisy Juarez, art teacher and muralist designer extraordinaire

Our artist teachers design, teach, prep walls, mix paint, and share the best of themselves.

Both Nettie Scott, our Master Gardener & Artist Teacher, and Carol Nashleanas, our artist gardener, were camera shy.





A small section of Daisy's imagining with artwork from one of the children.First time ever in the garden! Getting the soil ready, planting tomatoes and watering them.

A small section of Daisy’s imagining with artwork from one of the children.First time ever in the garden! Getting the soil ready, planting tomatoes and watering them.

First time ever in the garden! Getting the soil ready, planting tomatoes and watering them.

First time ever in the garden! Getting the soil ready, planting tomatoes and watering them.

Creating The Mural & Urban Garden

Make an impact this summer! Stop in and learn how you can get involved in Make Art Grow Food. We need volunteers to keep the garden growing. We’ll be hosting community paint days to complete the mural. And lots more.

Be a part of something really special. Join the neighbors that are stopping by with soil, plants, and an abundance of smiles and enthusiasm. Be a part of making a difference. Email us at or all 215.242.5074.


Stay tuned as we get ready to paint!

2015-05-14 21.56.382015-05-14 21.59.06









My Son Matters! TALKBACK…A Plea From One Mother To Another

TALKBACK Friday, May 15, 6 pm, @ 11 W. Mt Airy Ave. $5 Donation. Everyone welcome.

Post Ferguson—My Son Matters! Post Baltimore—My Son Matters! 300 people at Denise Allen’s opening reception—My Son Matters!  Check out this video! The main question on everyone’s lips—when can we talk more about this? 


(c) Sheppard Williams


(c) Sheppard Williams

TALKBACK is our response. A roundtable discussion with Denise Allen and the mothers in the Exhibition. A safe space, amidst the most positive imagery. As Vashti Dubois says “It’s a chance to speak through motherhood to all mothers regardless of race or status.” A time to talk, to listen, to share, to understand. For all of us. Men, women, and children.


(c) Sheppard Williams

You won’t want to miss this. Bring your family, bring your friends, bring yourself. Why? Because My Son Matters!