Spiral Q builds strong and equitable communities characterized by creativity, joy, can-do attitudes, and the courage to act on their convictions.
Founded in 1996
Incorporated in 1998
Became a 501(c)(3) in 2003
We work creatively with around 3,500 individuals each year, and bring our public work to estimated audiences of 30,000.
4247 Stiles Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Spiral Q is recognized locally and nationally for its originality, its capacity to inspire individuals of all ages and backgrounds, and its ability to creatively invigorate communities. Some of our recent awards include:
- The 2014 Philly Do-Gooder Community Impact Award (People’s Choice), presented by Philadelphia Generocity for its leadership and commitment to making positive change in the Philadelphia community.
- The 2013 Restoring Ideals Award (People’s Choice) presented by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts and Temple Contemporary honoring local organizations that best represent Philadelphia’s founding ideals: Tolerance, Equality and Independence.
- The 2010 George Bartol Arts Education Award presented by Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation in recognition for artistic excellence and commitment to community.
- The 2006 Good Governance Award presented by The Philadelphia Foundation in recognition of organizational excellence and exemplary board governance.
- The 2002 Peace Award presented by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
- The 2001 Community Empowerment Award presented by the Bread and Roses Community Fund.
Spiral Q began as “Spiral Q Puppet Theater,” founded in 1996 by Matthew “Mattyboy” Hart in Philadelphia. Originally a street performance puppet troupe, Hart established the group to promote social and political change through giant puppetry, pageantry and direct action that told powerful stories and lifted up community voices.
Early work in the community centered around Philadelphia’s HIV/AIDS activism and queer communities, and especially with the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP).
As a presenting organization, Spiral Q also created the week-long Full-On Puppet Festival in 1997 and 1998 that brought puppeteers from around the country to showcase work and promote the connection between art and activism. From 1995 to 1999, Spiral Q organized an annual Day of the Dead parade on South Street in Philadelphia – a tradition that continues to this day.
Spiral Q expanded its work to include workshops that connect people of all ages to art as an active expression of their local values and experiences, and events that bring them out into the streets for a form of community performance and action. Since 2000, Spiral Q has organized Peoplehood, an annual city-wide parade and pageant that showcases the work of people in community.
Spiral Q has been rooted in its home community in West Philadelphia since 2000.
1998 – It’s official! Spiral Q is incorporated in the Commonwealth
2000 – Move to headquarters at 3114 Spring Garden Street
2000 – First Peoplehood Parade & Pageant
2001 – The Living Loft Museum OPENS
2003 – Spiral Q is granted 501(c)(3) status
2004 – Founder Matty Hart leaves to work on the Olympics opening ceremonies
2004 – Tracy Broyles steps up as Executive Director
2005 – Launch of The North Philadelphia Puppet Parade Collaborative
2008 – First Norris Square Parade
2010 – The Walking Sphere, a collaboration with Michelangelo Pistoletto, traverses the city
2012 – Spiral Q moves to the “Trolley Barn” warehouse at 4100 Haverford Avenue
2014 – Spiral Q refines its strategy, recommitting to its founding purpose, and leaning into its PLACE and PRACTICE
2016 – Spiral Q moves into residence at Art on the Ave (3808 Lancaster Ave.) a place for public engagement and installation of works from the collection as well as exhibits at the intersection of art, justice and identity.
2017- Jennifer Turnbull and Liza Goodell named Spiral Q’s co-directors
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kitty Heite, Chair
Ellissa Collier, Treasurer
Lori Waselchuk, Secretary
FULL TIME STAFF
Jennifer Turnbull, Co-Director – Program and Finance
Liza Goodell, Co-Director – Production and Communications
Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez, Operations Associate
Angela H., Studio & Apprenticeship Program Manager
PART TIME STAFF
Rob Seitz, Arts Education Coordinator
TEACHING ARTISTS & ARTISTS
Brice Armond Patterson
J Bean Shwab
FUNDERS AND SPONSORS
Spiral Q’s work is supported by the following foundation partners: 1926 Foundation, The Barra Foundation, The Independence Foundation, The Independence Public Media Foundation, Patricia Kind Family Foundation, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, The Philadelphia Foundation, Promise Zone Sustainability Fund • Rosenlund Family Foundation, Samuel S Fels Fund, The Seybert Foundation, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, Utility Emergency Services Fund, Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial Fund, The William Penn Foundation and the generosity of our individual donors and sustainers.
FUNDERS AND SPONSORS
Spiral Q’s work is supported by the following foundation partners: The Allen Hilles Fund, The Barra Foundation, Bread and Roses Community Fund, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, The Douty Foundation, The Independence Foundation, Independence Media Foundation, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, City of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Foundation, Rosenlund Family Foundation, The Seybert Foundation, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, Union Benevolent Association, Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial Fund, The William Penn Foundation and the generosity of our individual donors and sustainers.