Faces of City Ave – Heather Exley, Sky Soup Art Center

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Meet Heather Exley, Owner of Sky Soup Art Center at 203 Bala Avenue.

Heather is a Bala Cynwyd artist and teacher with deep roots in Philadelphia and the Main Line.

In her work with children, she promotes Quaker values of respect, integrity, and equality

while providing a child-oriented experience of self-expression and community.

She gets children excited about creative risk-taking so they can develop their own visual voice.

A graduate of Rosemont College with a focus in both psychology & elementary education,

Heather is the mom to two boys, three cats, and four chickens. 



What are 3 words to describe Sky Soup Art Center?

  • Creative, Kid-Oriented, Community


What is your proudest moment at Sky Soup Art Center?

  • Opening it! I envisioned Sky Soup after working as an art teacher for many years, with the intention of providing art experiences to a wider audience. Sky Soup Art Center provides art education for kids and their families in our community that is creative, enriching, nurturing and fun! Children can sign up for on-going art classes, summer camps, workshops and unique birthday parties that are designed around a theme. Adult BYOB workshops are available on Thursday evenings. We work collaboratively with other small business in our community. We had an exhibit at the Trail’s End Cafe to show student artwork and participated in a community event at the cafe last fall.


What is your role at Sky Soup Art Center?

  • I am the owner of Sky Soup Art Center. Opening Sky Soup was my vision.


What has been your favorite project at Sky Soup Art Center?

  • My very favorite projects are open-ended projects that the children can use their imagination and create something that is uniquely their own. Children innately know how to create beautiful artwork. I provide the materials and space and they create fabulous pieces of art.


Before working at Sky Soup Art Center, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

  • I’ve had a lot of different jobs other than my favorite of being a mom and wife. I developed photographs for album covers while I was in high school in Nashville; I was an interior designer and taught design courses at the college level; I was an art teacher at a wonderful private school for many years. Last year I opened Sky Soup. I am happiest when I am coming up with projects and watching the children I teach make them.


Is there anything special about City Ave that you can share?

  • City Avenue is aptly named. It’s an artery to the city and suburban shopping. You can get to a lot of different places in the city using shortcuts from City Avenue. For example, you can easily get to Penn, the Philadelphia Zoo, Fairmont Park and of course, Sky Soup is a short drive down Bala Avenue.


Do you have any interesting events coming up for Sky Soup Art Center?

  • In the future, I am looking forward to having a monthly last Friday event to highlight student work and to have a screening of animations the kids have made. Stay tuned!
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