On Thursday, Sept. 21, Germantown joined in the celebration of PARK(ing) day, an international event that transforms normal parking spots into temporary public spaces.
In front of Sun’s Discount Store on 115 West Chelten Ave., the Germantown Artists Roundtable held a pop-up art gallery with performances by poets, comedians, spoken word artists, guitarists and percussionists.
Tieshka Smith, 40, of Germantown, a photographer and member of the Artists Roundtable, was asked by the Germantown United CDC to organize the event on West Chelten Avenue.
Smith and Imperfect Gallery owner Renny Molenaar constructed art installations in the allocated parking spots. Smith’s installation was a series of photographs taken exclusively in Germantown’s business corridor and Molenaar crafted flowers out of discarded barrettes.
Along with the Artists Roundtable and the Germantown United CDC, Historical Germantown and the Streets Department also took over parking spots in the neighborhood. This is the fifth year Philadelphia has taken part in (PARK)ing day.
“I think these events are wonderful for the residents of Germantown,” Smith said. It gives us an opportunity to be involved and get engaged with spontaneous efforts around creativity and artistry.”
Directly behind the art installations, the Birds of Paradise Mobile food truck came decked out with balloons to feed the intrigued passersby throughout the day. The newly opened eatery prides itself on providing healthy food for people of all tastes.
During the day, artists shared original works and collaborated with each other’s performances.
“This is a great way to show our appreciation to the residents of Germantown and it shows that you can pretty much stage an arts event anywhere,” Smith said.
Osiris Wildfire, 46, of North Philadelphia played guitar and sang as other artists jumped in on percussion.
“Germantown is a thriving community of very intelligent and talented artists,” Wildfire said. “The community really came together to support each other.”
As PARK(ing) Day continued, West Oak Lane resident Terri Lyons, 51, took to the impromptu stage. Lyons, an author and poet, read original selections to a captivated crowd.
“My hope is that there will be a continued renaissance and revitalization for people to pursue their dreams in whatever way,” Lyons said. “We can energize one another to continue to bring up Germantown to enrich and enlighten everyone, especially our children.”
Smith hopes more community projects like this can be undertaken in the near future and said the Artists Roundtable has planned to write and produce a play about the history of Germantown.
“We’re looking to support the overall efforts to transform Germantown and make it a more amenable place for creators to come and work and live,” she said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The above unpublished write-up and video footage was made available courtesy of Zach Martin of philadelphianeighborhoods.com)
- RECAP: PARK(ing) Day Acknowledgments. (photographywithoutthepretense.com)
- THIS FRIDAY!!!! Germantown PARK(ing) Day Pop-Up Street Gallery & Artist Showcase!! (photographywithoutthepretense.com)