1241 N. Front Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Weekdays: 9am - 7pm
Weekends: 9am - 3pm
Krista Yutzy-Burkey is a mother and an inspired music teacher living in the Fishtown area of Philadelphia. Her husband Steve Yutzy-Burkey is an accomplished carpenter with a talent for design simplicity, utility and sustainability. PlayArts was born from their shared passion and respect for education, the arts, craft and their neighborhood. Building on 16 years of music teaching experience in the Philadelphia School system, Krista noticed dramatic positive student response to play-based curriculum. Observing the effect of music learning on her own infant son’s language development, she was further inspired to branch out and share these discoveries with the growing number of infants and families in her long-time neighborhood.
In 2014, Krista began developing “PlayMusic,” with dreams of securing a nearby physical space to teach her play-based music curriculum. Finding few options in a discouraging real estate market, Krista resorted to writing personal letters to local building owners. She was rewarded with the incredible potential of a 4,500 square foot building! Its size allowed for expanding her original concept to include other types of play-based classes, parenting services and-- what would become the anchor of the entire business-- an indoor playspace. “PlayArts” finally opened its doors on September 1, 2016.
Open to the public from 1907 until 1960, the PlayArts building is one of only two surviving indoor “public baths” built by the City of Philadelphia. (Yes, the pool is still in the basement. No, there is no water in it.) Following years of abandonment and subsequent use by a shoe repair shop and brush manufacturer, PlayArts began renovations in 2015 with the goal of restoring the building's original purpose as a gathering space in the community.
Bright Common Architecture detailed the sustainably-focused renovation, while Steve led the interior design and buildout. Great care was taken to preserve original details, promote healthy indoor air quality and to repurpose existing materials. The paneling, bar-top, and much of the interior wood was sawn from lumber salvaged from neighborhood row homes. We hope you love the building as much as we do!
2017 Preservation Alliance Grand Jury Award
2017 Delaware Valley Green Building Council Groundbreaker Award
play is important
Through play, children begin to understand the physical and social environment around them. For families, playing together is valuable time for bonding and learning. It also happens to be fun - like learning should be!
WE BELIEVE AUTONOMY PROMOTES LEARNING
Undirected play helps children develop creativity, confidence and essential skills to navigate the world. To facilitate this, we’ve designed areas that give children a feeling of autonomy. If you’re concerned about being able to see your child at all times, you may want to stay close on the ground floor.
RISK IS a PART
Our custom equipment was designed to meet playground guidelines and was crafted with care. That said, our play area is not a padded, risk-free room with one-size- fits-all rules.
We've selected toys and equipment to fit a wide developmental range, which includes both small parts and climbing structures. It is up to you to determine what your child can safely handle.
We strive to teach respect for the environment, our community and one another. We are proud to provide our sustainably-minded space; please help us care for it and teach our children to care for it, too. We provide bike and stroller parking to make it easier for you to walk, bike, or use public transportation to visit us.
We serve drinks and organic prepackaged snacks, but we always encourage bringing your own mugs and recycling to limit waste. While parents are always responsible for their children, we want to allow for a wide range of parenting styles. We aim to always be compassionate and assume good intent.
WE BELIEVE MISTAKES ARE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Children don’t always make the best decisions because, well, they’re children. That kid that threw blocks? Not a bad kid. Learning the parameters of social interaction is an ongoing process.
We believe that children can learn good decision making through experience, when given the chance. If you’re concerned about interactions between your child and another child, please consider helping them use “Talk it Out” strategies.
And we too hope to learn. Please let us know if you see areas for improvement.