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The Kimmel Cultural Campus arts education programs expanded to online, resulting in enhanced engagement with students and schools in 33,000+ learning hours

A Virtual Success: Expanding Arts Education to Philadelphia Students Through Online Learning

Posted by:  Kimmel Cultural Campus on July 27, 2021

It has been one challenging year for the arts industry as the pandemic has kept the Kimmel Cultural Campus from doing what we all love: transforming lives daily through the arts. Even as our Cultural Campus has been closed for the past 16-months, our Education Department mounted an impressive slate of virtual programs featuring "field trips" and individual music lessons for over 27,000+ students throughout the Philadelphia School District, local Title 1 schools, and the Archdiocese.

"Educational programming for students in the Greater Philadelphia region, particularly those in underserved communities, remains one of our priority areas as a leading cultural institution," said Ed Cambron, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer on the Kimmel Cultural Campus. "Despite the immense challenges we endured over the last 16 months, we moved entirely online, enlisting a suite of teaching artists to continue our signature programs – Jazz4Freedom, #PhillyBeatz, and One Musical Philadelphia, as well as supplemental activities like private instrumental lessons and virtual field trips – ensuring opportunities for students interested in the performing arts were not impacted."


In March 2020, the Education Department was ready to welcome both new students and faculty for spring programs... when it was all cut short. In an effort to continue providing unrestricted access to the arts for all Philly students, now learning from home, the Kimmel Cultural Campus shifted gears to provide as much online arts learning as possible. And these efforts had an immense impact.

The numbers say it all. With a difficult year of constant changes, our Education Department managed to grow the reach of the Kimmel Cultural Campus and almost doubled the amount of participating schools in arts education programs. There were 27,684 participants partaking in 1,389 various classes & events, ranging in musical theater, jazz, and electronic music-making. Through programs started in-classrooms pre-pandemic, the team was able to sustain 160 unique classrooms through the rest of their scheduled curriculum. Over 514 Philly schools participated in programs, with 85% of schools served being low-income, Title 1 Schools. Counting up every class, lesson, and field trip — there were 33,343 learning hours filled with enthusiasm, passion, and creativity.

Additionally, 957 Philadelphia teachers were given Kimmel Cultural Campus gift certificates as a token of appreciation for their tremendous work during these hard times, which they can use for participating shows throughout the 2021-22 season.

“The kids are loving the program. They have embraced making music with this program. I get emails all day sharing their creations,” —a teacher from #PhillyBeatz

The team also provided individualized Zoom music lessons to students and virtual #PhillyBeatz field trips available to classrooms. Our virtual programming encouraged our students to continue to explore their passions in the performing arts and inspired them to rely on their creativity in the face of the unique challenges posed by the global pandemic.



Centered around three Creative Stages programs — Jazz4Freedom, #PhillyBeatz, and One Musical Philadelphia— students are able to openly express their artistic creativity in FREE programs focusing on jazz, musical theater, and electronic music-making!

4th graders participating in Jazz4Freedom learn about Black history, the growth of Jazz in Pennsylvania, and individual creative expression through in-classroom lessons and a field trip to the Kimmel. Interested 5th graders can learn about musical theater and teamwork in One Musical Philadelphia where students learn a section of a Kimmel-selected musical, before bringing it together with our Philly students in one large production on the Cultural Campus. A brand-new program, #PhillyBeatz allows 6th graders to grow their creative imaginations by creating their own music with electronic music software.

“Thanks for the class! I loved it here and you were so nice! I want to thank you again! See you next Miss Eliza and Ms. Jasmine!” — a 6th grade student participating in Jazz4Freedom

Now almost 16 months of online learning, our Education programs finally (!) had their first in-person activity when students 6th—12th joined together on our Cultural Campus for the ShowStoppers Summer Camp. The camp allows students to focus on everything musical theater — singing, dancing, and acting—before staging a full-scale production on the Perelman Theater stage for friends and family. This year's performance was Seussical, Jr. and welcome a masked, socially-distanced audience.

Our Education programs are committed to serve K—12 students at Title 1 schools throughout the Philadelphia region. To learn more about the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ education programming and opportunities, visit or email [email protected].


The Kimmel Cultural Campus education programming is made possible by generous donors, including The Aramark Charitable Fund; Chubb; The Doran Family Foundation; Patricia and David Holveck; Independence Blue Cross; The Lenfest Foundation; Merck Foundation; and M&T Bank.

The Kimmel Cultural Campus is once again an Educational Improvement Organization (EIO) under Pennsylvania's Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program. Participating businesses may receive tax credits equal to 75% of their charitable contribution up to a maximum of $750,000 per taxable year. The tax credit can be increased to 90% of a contribution, if a business agrees to provide the same amount for two consecutive tax years. Contact [email protected] for details.

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