Opera on the Mall and Bok Party

Lots going on in Philadelphia arts-wise last weekend.  First up was Opera on the Mall a broadcast of La bohème in front of Independence Hall  Opera Philadelphia.  The event  kicked off to their Festival 019.

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Plenty of room to stretch out, two screens and great sound.

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Check in ran smoothly
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Some people brought their dogs.  I am sure there are Canine opera lovers.

 

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Lots of food trucks

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And activities for non-opera lovers

 

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Act I begins.

 

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Bug repelling ankle bracelets just in case.

 

The next day was the family day block party at the Bok Building.

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Glass blowing on South 9th Street

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Pottery for the kids who could have their finished product fired and mailed to them.

 

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No block party is complete without a bouncy house!

 

 

Fleisher 121st Annual Faculty Exhibition

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I’ve started a new semester at the Fleisher Art Memorial but can’t do much in the pottery studio because of my hand (surgery next month).  But I went there today anyway  to check out the 121st (yes, you read that right) Annual Faculty Exhibition which is in full swing  and will be open for another week.  Here are some highlights from the show.

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Henry Bermudez The Girl
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Detail

 

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Aleksandr Budayev Two Figure Drawing
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Carol Stirton-Broad  Dashes and Dots
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Joni Woods Shuttle
Brett Lukens
Emily Brett Lukens Near or Far

 

There are many other fine works in the show which closes on September 21, 2019.    Don’t miss it if you are in South Philadelphia.

Fleisher Student Show 2019

Did you know that Fleisher Art Memorial is the oldest community art school in the US?  And that the  121st annual exhibition of student work opened there on February 15th?  With offerings that include works on paper, painting, sculpture, ceramics and jewelry, the work seems to get better with every year.

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The 121st annual student exhibition closes on March 15, 2019.

 

A Bevy of Beauty at Bok

Bev Beaulieu, proprietor of  Bevy of Objects, is one the artist entrepreneurs I met  during my tour of the Bok Studios in October.

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Bev graduated from  Tyler School of Art and then headed to New York City where she interned with David Yurman, worked as an apprentice goldsmith, and served stints as a jewelry designer for Alexis Bitar, and Ippolita.   After returning to Philadelphia, she designed watches and jewelry for Modern Bands, Inc. and co-founded Beech Hall with Tyler classmates Wade Keller and Danielle Kroll to design and market home goods and fashion accessories.

Then she opened Bevy of Objects where she designs and sells fine jewelry and offers CAD design service working with ethically-sourced and recycled materials.

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A Bevy of Objects is located on the fifth floor of the Bok building.  I noticed the great light as soon as I entered her spacious studio.   Bev wanted a studio  on the fifth floor because of the light and the huge high school windows let in plenty of it.   Like the other artists I spoke to,  she had nothing but raves for the Bok developers who  worked with her to make her studio as comfortable and as functional as possible.  The biggest restriction they imposed on her was that she could not alter the black boards which, to her, was not a problem at all.

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Bev lives in the same neighborhood as Bok and relishes the fact that she can walk or bike to her studio.

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If you are in the market for a special piece of jewelry you really should check out A Bevy of Objects.  You can shop the web site or work with Bev to make a custom design.

To find out more about Bev Beaulieu and A Bevy of Objects, check out her Instagram Feed and her Facebook page.

Philadelphia’s Fabric Row

I feel so lucky to live in a City where I am within walking distance from wonderful shopping districts with a genuine historical significance.  Of course there’s the 9th Street (Italian) MarketJeweler’s Row, and the Reading Terminal Market.   But one of my favorite areas is Fabric Row  is located on Fourth Street below South Street. Even though  I don’t sew much,  I love window shopping on this colorful street.  There’s always something to see.

 

According to the Philadelphia History Museum’s web site, Philadelphia’s bustling fabric row on South Fourth Street ran through the heart of a Jewish immigrant neighborhood. Peddlers hawked dry goods from pushcarts and sidewalk stands. Successful vendors opened family-run shops. Dressmakers, shoppers, and tailors flocked to this area of the Queen Village neighborhood to purchase fabrics and notions for their customers and families.  

There aren’t as many fabric stores on Fourth Street as there used to be. Times change.  People are not sewing as much as they used to. (Although home sewing has moved into a new phase.)  New businesses are popping up among the fabric stores  including independent fashion stores,  shops selling hand made goods and the wonderful  Kawaii Kitty Cafe.  It is still a thriving, vibrant area.

 

 

Visit Fabric Row the next time you visit Philadelphia.  In the meantime,  here are some more pictures  I took on walk down Fabric Row when the weather was much warmer!

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To learn more about Fabric Row at Hidden City Philadelphia, the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia and the Fabric Row web site.

 

 

 

 

 

POST at Bok 1

Last month I visited the Bok Makerspace which was on the South Philly list of participants in the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST).  

Bok Technical High School was a vocational school that opened in South Philadelphia in 1938.  Thousands of students passed through Bok’s doors learning trades like brick laying, plastering, plumbing, machine building, tailoring, and hairdressing until the school closed its doors in 2013.

The Bok building is massive. That’s a cardboard model in the above picture. It takes up an entire city block and the interior is 340,000 square feet.   The surrounding neighborhood is made up of  mostly residential row houses.   The  residents were understandably concerned about what would happen to the building.

They need not have worried.  In 2014, a developer named Lindsey Scannapieco proposed converting the former high school into a  space for creative entrepreneurs.  The neighborhood liked her ideas  and her efforts were lauded by Inge Saffron, the Architectural Critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer.   Read more articles about the transformation of Bok here and here.    

While Bok  is thought of as a space for artists, it is really so much more as I learned on my visit for the POST tours.  All of the artists I talked to came from the surrounding neighborhood and almost all of them were business people in creative fields. 

I hope to profile some of the artists I met during the tour and show you some pictures of their spaces.

Haunting in South Philly

This week, I started watching the new Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. I read the book when I was barely into my teens  and it made quite an impression on me.  Later on, I saw a film adaptation, The Haunting, which is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen.  Black and white and not a bit of gore or violence in it.  I wasn’t as fond of the remake which seemed  formulaic, and more funny than scary.

South Philadelphia has some haunted history too, although you won’t find a lot of information on tourist sites.  Serial killer H.H. Holmes met his demise at Moyamensing Prison which is now the site of the Acme Market at 10th and Reed Streets.   I don’t know whether he wanders the store after it closes for the night, nor do I want to know.

On the brighter side, South Philadelphians take any occasion as an excuse to decorate their front windows and Halloween is no exception.  From pumpkin painting festivals to pots of chrysanthemums sprouting up in curbside planters, South Philly is ablaze with the colors of  Autumn this time of year- just in time for Halloween.  Here are some pictures.

 

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Bob’s Garden Spring 2017

They say that everybody  always complains about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it.    If you are at all into gardening, this Spring’s crazy weather has made things a challenge: Flowers opening early and freezing; buds opening up icing over and and falling off; rain and chilly weather that has made May seem more like  Fall than Spring.  

So Bob has faced challenges in the garden this spring and it’s not as full and lush as it usually is at this time of year.  Even so, there are four turtles in the Koi pond and sometimes they sit in the sun stacked up on one another.  Turtles really do that.  I don’t have any pictures because they are camera shy, but you can see many examples here.  And the turtles come out on the so far rare sunny days to bask in the sun and enjoy the flowers.

 

 

Color Wheels

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I volunteered to help in the ColorWheels mobile community art program  run by the Fleisher Art Memorial and participated in my first program on Saturday outside the Donatucci branch of the Philadelphia Free Library. After helping to set up the ColorWheels tent, I and other volunteers helped  the neighborhood kids make Gelli prints using leaves we found on the sidewalk and supplies from the ColorWheels art van.  It was a lot of fun and the kids jumped right in picking out paint and leaves, and turning out prints that twe hung up to dry for them.

We ended up closing a little early because it started raining.  Still, it was a great way to spend a Saturday.

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Bob’s Garden, Summer 2016

Bob’s Garden has really taken off this year! Three new turtles are swimming in the pond and a new banana tree has taken root in one of the wooden barrels sitting out on the south Philly sidewalk. The cacti have come back to life and are are throwing off scores of yellow blossoms.  The water lilies are doing swimingly (pun intended) and Barbra the Macaw is keeping a watchful eye over it all.  Here are some pictures.

 

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