The 2021 First Person Arts Anthology is a vital part of Philadelphia’s cultural landscape.

Migrating our programming to the digital stage enables First Person Arts to reach more audiences across the country, deepen your experience with each event, and permits us to create embracing environments more frequently throughout the year. Our annual festival is now segmented into four volumes! Each volume focuses on a theme that exemplifies what makes a story truly compelling.


It is a WITNESS to history, something about the story PUSHes us out of our ordinary world, it empowers us to RELEASE old views and EMBRACE a new way of thinking or being.

This is the powerful movement of the human spirit through life.

We're proud to have presented...

Our performers have included Grammy, Tony, and Pulitzer Prize winners, nationally, internationally and unknown artists - all using the power of their personal experiences to transform the spaces around them.

  •  Ali Siddiq
  •  Ana Castillo
  •  Angela Davis
  •  Aunt Mary Pat
  •  Bernice Johnson Reagon (Founder, Sweet Honey in the Rock)
  •  Bilal
  •  Black Thought (The Roots)
  •  Chef Marcus Samuelsson
  •  Dael Orlandersmith
  •  Dani Shapiro
  •  Dave Hill
  •  DJ Rick Medina
  •  Eric Asimov (NY Times Wine Critic)
  •  Fatin Danzler (Kindred The Family Soul)
  •  Felonious Munk
  •  Geffrey Davis
  •  Hari Kondabolu
  •  Hungry
  •  Ira Glass (in partnership with the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts)
  •  Janeane Garofalo
  •  Jennifer Teege
  •  Jericho Brown
  •  Kathryn Erbe
  •  Keith David
  •  Landan Osman
  •  Margaret Cho
  •  Maria Bamford
  •  Martha Graham Cracker
  •  Mike Daisey
  •  Nadya Tolokonikkova (Pussy Riot)
  •  Ntozake Shange (in partnership with the African American Museum in Philadelphia)
  •  Peedie Crack
  •  Philadelphia Poet Laureates Sonia Sanchez & Yolanda Wisher
  •  Philip Bailey (Earth Wind & Fire)
  •  RISK!
  •  Ruby Wax
  •  Story League
  •  Stripped Stories
  •  Taylor Mali
  •  Theatre of War
  •  Tina Chang
  •  Toni Morrision
  •  Ursula Rucker
  •  Welcome to Night Vale
  •  Yannis Simonides
  •  Zach Grenier

Sponsor the 2020 First Person Arts Festival

Connect with our young, educated, and highly engaged audience!

Listen to Stories

You can find recordings of selected Festival events online throughout the year on our website, podcast and partner sites like WHYY radio hour and podcast series, or NewsWorks.

Find a Story



Tell Your Story

With this full roster of regional, national and international artists, we still make room for people who don’t consider themselves artists on our Slam stages!

Learn More About StorySlams