‘Destination Frankford’ aims to draw artists up the el

As Philadelphia’s demographic and technological landscape continues to shift, many neighborhoods that were traditionally manufacturing hubs have become havens for artists and artisans.

Northern Liberties, Kensington and Fishtown have all enjoyed an influx of young creative types, due in part to the neighborhoods’ industrial building stock and (formerly) low rents.

Now, armed with a $550,000 grant from ArtPlace America, officials with the City Planning Commission hope Frankford can be transformed into the next creative oasis.

City planner Ian Litwin, who wrote the “Destination Frankford” ArtPlace grant, said the project stemmed from the Philadelphia2035 Lower Northeast District Plan.

“Frankford is kind of the original Northeast Philadelphia,” he said.

“It’s got the el. It’s got sort of a really great historic building stock. Then there’s the Globe Dyeworks, which is a reused factory. So our idea with the District Plan was sort of to focus on Frankford’s assets. Rather than come up with some grand vision for Frankford, the idea was almost like targeted intervention. So, take Frankford’s assets and build on those. Take Frankford’s liabilities and turn them into assets.”

The plan calls for creative signage and a pop-up shop in a vacant storefront to showcase the works of local artists.

“The signage is important because, if you get off the el in Frankford and you’re not from Frankford, you pretty much don’t know where to go,” Litwin said.

“The streets are really crooked, mostly one way, so it’s kind of hard to navigate your way around the neighborhood.

“And then the storefront, not only is it going to create an attraction for people to come visit but when we’re done, the building owner is now going to have a space that’s more marketable.”

The Planning Commission has also issued a request for quotation for artists to create an interactive public sculpture in the neighborhood’s central gathering place, Womrath Park.

“We’re trying to shed light on Frankford, and hopefully we can attract more artists and people to move to the neighborhood,” Litwin said.

“Because other than a couple of artists who actually live in Globe Dyeworks, most of them don’t live in Frankford. And we feel like that kind of art scene is moving up the el and it’s sort of the next logical location.”

Litwin said planners are seeking to restore Frankford, once a hub of industrial manufacturing, into a place where products are created.

“Frankford used to make a lot of things,” he said.

“And now it could be a place for industry again, but it’ll be a different scale. That’s sort of what we’re focusing on.

“So it’s not strictly art as much as it’s industrial art, design, creating things. Our web design firm is from Frankford. It’s a place to make all different kinds of things, so that’s what we’re trying to market Frankford as. It’s a little different than your typical artists’ community.”

The project is slated to be finished next fall.

“Destination Frankford” is is supported by a grant from ArtPlace America, a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks and federal agencies accelerating creative placemaking across the US, as well as by funding from the William Penn Foundation.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Breaking: News

Twelve-hour Gaza humanitarian truce takes hold

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan LubellGAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinians in the Gaza Strip poured into the streets on Saturday to recover their dead and stock…

National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.