‘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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.