More than a hundred people turned out on Friday evening for the opening of Portraits of Brewerytown, a photography show celebrating life in Next City’s Philadelphia neighborhood and the first exhibit at our new address. (Yes, in addition to shortening our name and going international, our Storefront for Urban Innovation has moved a block down from its old space on Girard Avenue).
Visitors and passersby alike stopped at the sight of familiar people and places looking out from the photographs. There were well-known neighbors like Stan Williams, a local boxing coach, and Sue Kim, proprietor of New Style Ladies Shop. As photographer Tieshka Smith put it in her artist statement:
These photographs document the lives of people with an abiding love for Brewerytown. The love for their neighborhood was channeled into the many stories they shared with me — stories of wisdom, humor and insight; stories that directly relate to places in Brewerytown; stories that must be shared. These stories, like an architectural gem or a business corridor, deserve to be preserved — and indeed, must be preserved. This is our reasoning for this collection: by remembering these stories, collecting their images and weaving them onto our map of Brewerytown, we are helping to restore and transform community.
Visitors were also invited to share their own “portraits” of Brewerytown by marking significant places on a large map of the neighborhood, developed by Philly-based urban designer and planner Leah Murphy, and telling their personal stories of these places. A few people featured in the portraits, as well as dozens of children from the local recreation center’s after-school program, noted their memories on the map. One child wrote, “the rec center Is my home. I lOVE 27th STREET.”
Check out the slideshow below, and in case you missed the opening, be sure to stop by between now and February 16, while Portraits of Brewerytown is on display. The exhibition is free and open to the public during Storefront hours: 11am-5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.