Arts Sanctuary moves to cozier quarters

While many neighborhood arts organizations dream of expanding, a North Philadelphia program dreamed of shrinking.

For 11 years, the Arts Sanctuary has been using a large church on Diamond Street to hold classes and workshops for African-American art and literature.

Managing director Tarana Burke said the original home of the Art Sanctuary — in the Church of the Advocate on Diamond Street – – is too big for some events.

“We need to be cozy sometimes. You can’t do a poetry class with 600 people,” said Burke. “We had a woman yesterday say to us — she had been to several of our programs, but she had never been to a program in the light —  ‘It’s sort of dark in the church, the lights are down. I’ve never been to a program in the sunlight.’ “

The new location on 16th and Bainbridge, with offices above and a storefront gallery with large, plate-glass windows fills the void of light and the abundance of space from the Diamond street church.  

The Arts Sanctuary is not abandoning North Philly for South. Burke said the church will still be used for large events

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