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Let All the Children Boogie: Where to Celebrate Philly Loves Bowie Week

Toast the Starman from January 3-12.

While he has always seemed otherworldly, David Bowie actually had deep connections right here Philadelphia—his mid-70s sound was heavily influenced by Philadelphia Soul, and he even recorded his album Young Americans at Sigma Sound Studios (in Chinatown!), as well other works. His life and death touched music fans everywhere, and those in Philly who had been in the Starman’s orbit—the “Sigma Kids,” as they came to be called—began Philly Loves Bowie Week as a way for everyone to celebrate his groundbreaking music, art, and life.


Philly Loves Bowie Week runs from January 3—12, encompassing both Bowie’s birthday (January 8, 1947), as well as the four-year anniversary of his passing (January 10, 2016). The week includes everything from art to concerts to sweet treats, and more. A portion of the proceeds from the week’s events—as well as auction items from a special pop-up art exhibit (more on that below)— help benefit cancer research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Although many of the week’s events are understandably for adults only, here are some ways you can celebrate with your littlest fans.

We Can Be Heroes: A Bowie Inspired Art Exhibition

January 3—February 3

National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut St.


This pop-up art exhibit explores the influence that Bowie has had and continues to have on contemporary art, showcasing mixed-media artworks with figurative and abstract representations of the larger-than-life musician. From fine art to fan art, you’ll find a mixture of neon and glass sculpture, as well as paintings and digital artwork from both local and international artists.


The month-long exhibit also includes a display of artwork by some exceptional students at AIM Academy. AIM teacher Lucy Stackhouse introduced her students to Bowie’s work and cultural contributions, and then inspired them to create based on what they had learned. The students worked at different stations, including “Fashion Design,” “Bowie Ziggy,” and songwriting, and their art is truly impressive. Near the kids’ section, there is also an interactive station where visitors can create their own Bowie-inspired art.


The museum also has a Bowie-themed pop-up shop featuring prints of artwork, the annual Philly Loves Bowie Week pin set, and other fun Bowie merchandise. The exhibit will last longer than Philly Loves Bowie Week, until February 3. Some pieces will be for sale, with benefits going to the Bowie CHOP fund.

The Philly Loves Bowie Bownut at Federal Donuts

January 6

All locations, while supplies last


Federal Donuts will unveil a brand new Bowie Donut to both celebrate his legacy and raise money for the Cancer Center at CHOP. Available in all Federal Donuts locations for one day only, while supplies last.

Tune into Kids Corner on WXPN

January 6, 7 pm


Be sure to listen to Kids Corner on WXPN Monday night as they broadcast the story of Peter And The Wolf performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra and narrated by David Bowie. This 1978 recording is truly unique and showcases just how much David cared about children. Listen on the radio or live worldwide XPN.org

Bowling for Bowie at North Bowl

January 7, 5—9 pm

909 N. Second St.


This family-friendly event combines the music of Bowie with the joy of bowling! Bowl while accompanied by a Bowie soundtrack. Partial proceeds from lane rentals will be donated to the Bowie Fund to benefit the Cancer Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


Blue Blue Electric Blue’ Ice Cream Sandwich at Weckerly’s

January 10

9 W. Girard Ave.


Weckerly’s created this special blue ice cream sandwich for Philly Loves Bowie Week—with a lightning bolt on top, of course!

Fourth Annual Bowie Memorial and Chalking

January 10, 3 pm

Doobies Bar, 2201 Lombard St.


Though you have to be 21 years old to go into the bar, they’ll be creating a huge temporary chalk memorial outside– and all ages are invited to bring their creativity to contribute to the piece!

A Snowy Bowie Skate

January 12, noon—6 pm

Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Columbus Blvd.


Ice skate to the music of David Bowie, watch Labyrinth and concert footage on the screens inside The Lodge at Winterfest, and enjoy Stardust face painting and themed drink specials!



Starman Art Afternoon

January 12, noon—4 pm

Tattooed Mom, 530 South St.


Come listen to Bowie tunes while creating a variety of Bowie art: coloring pages, Bowie fashion doll, Ziggy Stardust mask, Aladdin Sane mask, and more. Complimentary glitter face painting, too! Free, but donations support the Cancer Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


Photographs by Laura Swartz.

Contributing Writer

  • Congratulations for your article about the “Phillylovesbowie” week !
    It is really interesting for people and families who want to discover this amazing event ! And thank you, Laura for choosing my artwork to illustrate your press article !
    Best, Annabel.