Overbrook: Environmental Arts Center Helps Educate the Neighborhood

Jerome Shabazz opened the Environmental & Arts Education Center in 2006. This was when he witnessed the positive effect hands-on experiences had on students of the Overbrook community.

Jerome Shabazz on the playground
Jerome Shabazz stood on the playground.

Interacting first with the school district, Shabazz noticed a significant increase in science grades after pinpointing the difference between looking at science from a classroom and actually getting out there and doing it.

Shabazz said he and members of the community put their gloves on and turned an old liquor store into an evolving community art center.

People can come into the art center to learn, children can be children and everyone of any age can express their creativity while influencing the art behind science. The environmental center has provided a sense of nature in West Philadelphia.

“In 2002, there was only one tree on this entire block, now there are 59 trees,” said Shabazz.

In an attempt to give the Overbrook community a different outlook on the beauty of life growing from the ground up, Shabazz explained how the Art Center keeps the kids in a more positive light.

Some of the art in the Overbrook Environmental & Arts Education Center
Art is displayed at the Overbrook Environmental & Arts Education Center.

“The beautiful thing about human beings is that we all have common attributes. Two common attributes that I think we all possess is the use of our intent and the use of our priority,” he said.

With many plans for the future, Shabazz is excited to share event-oriented projects through the Art Center. His objective is bettering the community and watching community members better themselves through sustainability and having fun with their environment.

– Text, words and images by Stacey Dusenbury

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