‘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
Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.