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New Grass

The Wake

with Spirits Up!

June 20 – September 22, 2021

“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being. When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hang-ups.”
— John Coltrane

This summer, Ars Nova Workshop, The Woodlands, and Spirits Up! will host The Wake, a series of free outdoor yoga and mindfulness sessions paired with live music. We will mold mindfulness, meditation, and movement into each of these sessions while paying homage to many of the foundational forces in Black Liberation Music, such as Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler, and John Coltrane. Most sessions will feature Philadelphia harpist Elizabeth Steiner, who has performed with everyone from Orchestra 2001 to Moses Sumney.

The Woodlands historic cemetery at 4000 Woodland Avenue holds over 30,000 of Philadelphia’s most controversial and beautiful spirits. It’s an opportune setting for Spirits Up! — an organization birthed out of reclamation: reclaiming healing, reclaiming health, and reclaiming space —  to lead The Wake and assist the community in returning to this spiritual space, by practicing yoga, meditating, and tapping into deep cultural ties to Philadelphia with the help of transcendent jazz.

We hope to see you this summer, every other Wednesday at The Woodlands starting July 7!

Program Schedule

July 7
Breath Work with Aubrey Beddia + live music by Alexia Oliviera

July 21
Movement and Poetry with Caitlin Green and Ursula Rucker

August 4
Poetry and Music Meditation with Ursula Rucker and Charlie Raboteau

August 18 (rescheduled to August 23)
Sound Meditation and Movement with A’tiya Sinae

September 1 (canceled)
September 15
September 22
Yoga and Black Liberation Music with jean-jacques gabriel and Elizabeth Steiner

Join us throughout September for a series of Yoga and Black Liberation Music (think: Alice Coltrane) with jean-jacques gabriel and acclaimed harpist Elizabeth Steiner, who has collaborated with everyone from Moses Sumney to Orchestra 2001. Teaching yoga and nonviolent communication in prisons rooted jean-jacques’s yoga practice and teaching in justice and freedom. He is the co-creator of a yoga clothing clothing line with Philadelphia Printworks called “The Embodied Collection,” created to honor and inspire the efforts of people of color in creating wellness.

Spirits Up!

Spirits Up! is a Philadelphia-based organization that offers tools for personal liberation and healing through yoga, meditation, the arts, and innovative activity to support the continued work towards collective Black liberation. Spirits Up! provides safe spaces for people consistently on the frontlines for Black lives and those long suffering from systemic racial traumas.

Collectively working to heal the black community through yoga & meditation.

By any means necessary.

Cover: jean-jacques gabriel leads a group of yoga practitioners in a West Philadelphia park.
June 20 – September 22, 2021


  • Mindfulness
  • Performance

Program Info

Free with RSVP
All Ages

Pre-registration with advance RSVP required.

Program Schedule

June 20 – September 22, 2021, every other Wednesday, from 6:30 – 7:30PM.

  • June 20
  • July 7
  • July 21
  • August 4
  • August 18
  • September 1
  • September 15
  • September 22


The Woodlands, 4000 Woodland Avenue
Philadelphia, PA

  • The Woodlands, Philadelphia

Presented by

The Wake program series is organized by Spirits Up!, a Philadelphia-based organization supporting the continued work towards collective Black liberation.

The New Grass program series is presented by Ars Nova Workshop in collaboration with The Woodlands.

Health & Safety

Ars Nova Workshop cares about the health and safety of our artists, audience, and staff. Please consult our health and safety protocols before attending this program.

The Woodlands

The Woodlands’ 54-acre undulating landscape is at once an 18th-century English pleasure garden, an active 19th-century rural cemetery, and a modern-day green oasis for the communities of West Philadelphia. Please note before planning your visit:

  • Guests can arrive by foot, bike, or public transit.
  • Limited on-site parking is available for some events.
  • Please bring your own lawn chair or blanket for outdoor seating.


Should you require accessible entry or seating for this program, please contact Ars Nova Workshop at or 215-805-3376 for more information.


Special COVID-19 admission guidelines are being followed to ensure a safe environment for all guests at The Woodlands.

  • Masks are required for all indoor spaces.
  • Please wear a mask and maintain social distancing while in line for the Stable Restroom.
  • Please respect other visitors and the Site Rules found on The Woodlands website.
summer 2021

New Grass

  • Series

New Grass

In collaboration with The Woodlands historic site in West Philadelphia, Ars Nova Workshop presents an exploration of fostering spaces where the creativity, thoughtfulness, and joy of everyday life in West Philadelphia can be shared.