Penn Serves LA: Finding our Inner Artists at Inner-City Arts

Inner City photo 1 v2

More than 70 local Penn alumni and family members turned out in force on the last Saturday in January to work alongside the children of Commonwealth Avenue Elementary School at Penn Serves LA’s third “sold out” community service event. Volunteers and children were asked to make their own shadow puppets and perform in a show featuring storytelling and world music. Famous children stories from around the world were acted out by the participants. Using black paper cardstock paper, tissue paper, and bamboo rods, volunteers were taught the ancient art form of shadow puppets. The first use of shadow puppets were believed to have been 2,000 years ago in China to entertain the Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty.

The event was held at Inner-City Arts, a nonprofit art center located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Inner-City Arts helps underserved children and teens engage in a process of self-discovery through art. The center serves at-risk youth from all over Los Angeles to give the opportunity for arts education both in their schools and at the center.

The award-winning contemporary building, designed by Michael Maltzan and Nancy Goslee Power, provides an inviting, open, and free environment for safe exploration, creativity, designing, growing and learning.

Inner-City Arts Campus in Downtown Los Angeles

Inner-City Arts Campus in Downtown Los Angeles

“We are so thrilled to expose Penn alumni to Inner-City Arts,” shares Denise Winner, W’83, one of Penn Serves LA directors. “For future events we would love to get more alumni to nominate their favorite nonprofits who could use a group of dedicated volunteers for a day event.”

“We founded this group to give our time to needy communities and to expose them to the talent that Penn alumni can offer their organizations. Serving together as alumni is just an added plus,” shares Leanne Huebner, another Penn Serves LA director. “Our hope is that some participants volunteer more often with the selected nonprofits if they so desire.”

Penn Serves LA’s fourth event, on Saturday, March 9th, is already SOLD OUT. The group is volunteering to renovate a home for a family in need through Habitat for Humanity. The event is being co-sponsored by the Southern California Regional Advisory Board (SCRAB), Wharton Club of Southern California, and PennClubLA.

Children enjoy the excitement of their work displayed.

Children enjoy the excitement of their work displayed.

Families, Children and Alumni show off their puppets.

Families, Children and Alumni show off their puppets.

Are you active in community service? Want to get your favorite nonprofit involved? If you have a nonprofit in mind for a future Penn Serves LA event, let us know. Our initiative provides alumni with the unique opportunity to showcase their favorite charitable organization. Send us an email at with your name and Penn affiliation, the organization you would like us to serve, why you got involved and how Penn Serves might help.

 Penn Serves LA is an initiative to encourage Penn alumni, parents and family across all schools and all years to come together and serve those in need through established nonprofits working in underserved communities. Children and spouses of alumni and parents of current students are also invited to participate (please check age requirements). Penn Serves LA is regularly scheduling service events throughout the year. You can read about our first event at Turning Point Shelter in Santa Monica, and our second event at the Midnight Mission. Penn Serves LA is working in partnership with PennClubLA, Wharton Club of Southern California, and SCRAB.



Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Clubs, Events, GAN, Guest blogger, Los Angeles, Penn Clubs, Penn Serves LA, Photos, Volunteering, West Coast Regional Office

4 responses to “Penn Serves LA: Finding our Inner Artists at Inner-City Arts

  1. Pingback: Penn Serves LA: Habitat for Humanity | Frankly Penn

  2. Pingback: Penn Serves LA Sending Holiday Warmth to Our Troops | Frankly Penn

  3. Pingback: Penn Serves LA: Holidays are a Time for Giving | Frankly Penn

  4. Pingback: Flashback: Penn Serves LA: Habitat for Humanity | Kiera Reilly

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