Parkway Council

The Parkway Council is a coalition of institutions, residences, and businesses along Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Council works to accelerate the transformation of the Parkway into a great urban park filled with exceptional cultural and educational institutions, inviting gardens, active public spaces, and dynamic programming that welcomes and engages everyone.

Learn more about the Reimagine the Benjamin Franklin Parkway planning process that will create a public realm plan for people-centric physical improvements to the Parkway.

Lead support for the Parkway Council has been provided by a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation.







The Parkway Council, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, presents five free performances, Thursdays this fall, as part of its ongoing Parkway Presents series. Parkway Presents seeks to bring to the Parkway high quality, vibrant arts and cultural activities, reflective of and appealing to Philadelphia’s diversity.


All performances are FREE and open to all; no registration required. All programs begin at 6:00 p.m. Seating is not provided; bring a blanket or chair to enjoy these outdoor events. The Parkway Council thanks Harvey Price for his assistance in organizing these events. 

Parkway Council programs are made possible thanks to the generous support of the William Penn Foundation and the Council's members.



Thursday, September 15, 6:00 p.m.

(rain date Tuesday, September 20)

Shakespeare Park, Vine and North 20th Streets

Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble is a 50+ year-old, internationally renowned performing arts company based in Philadelphia. The company preserves, presents, and perpetuates the centuries-old cultural traditions of West Africa and the African Diaspora. This performance and workshop will be led by Ama Schley, Kulu Mele’s dance captain. Schley and her drummer accompanists, Yusuf Young and Brytiece Wallace, will teach the basics of West African movement and its accompanying rhythms, including their countries of origin, symbolism, and the integral relationship between the music and the dance. Kulu Mele programs are family friendly and open to everyone of all cultural backgrounds. No experience necessary. Best for adults and children ages 5+. Watch or join in on the fun!



Thursday, September 22, 6:00 p.m.

(rain date Tuesday, September 27)
Maja Park, Benjamin Franklin Parkway and North 22nd Street


Josanne Francis is an internationally known steelpan performer and music educator. Born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago, Francis blends together and draws influences from traditional Calypso music, Jazz, Indian, Funk, Rock, and Classical — a unique mix which is not typical for the instrument. She has served as an artist in residence at Strathmore Music Center and has performed at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, New York’s Times Square, and Lincoln Center. Francis currently resides in Maryland where she runs her educational company Steel on Wheels and teaches steelband at the University of Delaware.



Thursday, September 29, 6:00 p.m.

(rain date Tuesday, October 4)
Shakespeare Park, Vine and North 20th Streets


For more than 18 years, Quey [“Kway”] Percussion Duo (QPD) has blended traditions of Western and non-Western percussion, contemporary, classical, and popular music to create colorful sound worlds that often place focus on interlocking counterpoint and musical multi-tasking. Comprised of members Gene Koshinski and Tim Broscious, QPD has performed internationally and across the United States. As new music advocates, QPD has generated nearly 200 new works written for the duo (or by the duo). QPD are residents at the University of Delaware where they co-direct the percussion program, deliver various chamber ensembles, and teach.

wpo kitchen round 2.jpeg


Thursday, October 6, 6:00 p.m.

(rain date Tuesday, October 11)
NEW LOCATION: Maja Park (North 22nd and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) 

West Philadelphia Orchestra (WPO) is a brass band inspired by the Romani brass “orkestars” and “fanfares” of Eastern Europe. WPO began as a village band for its neighborhood in 2006, performing at parks, rocking street festivals, and collaborating with community theaters. WPO plays a wide-range of music, including traditional Balkan music (emphasis on Serbian and Macedonian repertoire), klezmer music rooted in Philadelphia’s klezmer tradition, NOLA style ‘jazz,’ and a bit of frevo, ska, and American pop music. On stages and record, however, the band focuses on its original compositions which meld all of these influences together. WPO has collaborated with artists as varied as RJD2, Dr. Dog, Martha Graham Cracker, Johnny Showcase, and the Trisha Brown Dance Company. 

In celebration of Mark di Suvero’s Iroquois, recently restored and reinstalled on the Parkway by the Association for Public Art.



Thursday, October 13, 6:00 p.m.

(rain date Tuesday, October 18)
Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza, Benjamin Franklin Parkway and North 16th Street 

Ken Ulansey, a player of alto and soprano sax and pennywhistle, and singer and guitarist Phyllis Chapell have been combining their instruments and voices together for over 15 years of performance and recording, while drawing from traditions as diverse as the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Brazil, Ireland, India, and the American songbook. With Dave Posmontier on piano, Stan Slotter on trumpet, and Jimmy Parker on tuba, Ken Ulansey Ensemble explores and reinvents the Klezmer experience.

Co-sponsored and supported, in part, by the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation.



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