Yolanda Wisher at the Joseph E. Coleman Library to shoot Albie’s Elevator | Photo credit: Yolanda Wisher

WHYY has launched Albie’s Elevator, a new locally-produced children’s program that will explore preschool topics while learning about the arts. The show’s main character and elevator operator, Albie, will seek assistance from artists, friends, and neighbors to solve problems. Later this week, Albie will go to the Joseph E. Coleman Library, where 2016-17 Philadelphia Poet Laurette Yolanda Wisher will help her learn how to express their feelings through poetry.

Wisher revealed that she chose the Coleman Library as her preferred filming location, as the library holds sentimental value to her. It’s where her son got his first library card and where she organized early poetry spaces.

“This space has always been important to me,” Wisher says. “It was the first library that opened its doors to the Poetry for the People Philly collective that I was part of in 1999-2000, giving us one of our first opportunities to lead poetry workshops and readings for children and adults.”

According to former writings by Wisher, the June Jordan-inspired collective’s mission was to “embrace all art forms in order to celebrate poetry…to make poetry accessible because we believe it is necessary in everyday life. By creating a space where all are encouraged to participate, we aim to remove art from its commercial purposes and return it to the people.”

Wisher says her favorite part about the filming process was the library staff’s warm welcome. She also enjoyed speaking with the staff and film crew in between takes.

Wisher is one of more than 30 local Philadelphia artists featured in the show. You can catch the poet supporting Albie this Friday, June 16th. The 15-episode first season of Albie’s Elevator airs daily on both WHYY Channel 12 and YouTube.