On May 18th, I returned to Next City in Brewerytown to do a soft launch of a new photo essay entitled “Be Proud of Brewerytown.” This is a working title that may change as the project unfolds…
Nevertheless, the plan is to continue the work I started with Portraits of Brewerytown; more specifically, I am interested in exploring the ways that longtime community members have and continue to support each other through good times and bad. I’m interested in documenting the invisible ties that bind them together, how those ties and networks intersect with points in Brewerytown that can be mapped, and why it is vitally necessary for neighborhood change agents to devise viable community engagement strategies that aim to strengthen and sustain those ties if they are serious about being inclusive and sensitive to the needs and interests of all who are affected by neighborhood revitalization efforts.
By the way, I’m looking for subjects (people who live in Brewerytown currently, or who were raised in Brewerytown, or are engaged with the community on a regular basis) so if you know of anyone, please have them contact me via the blog, or they can leave a voice mail message for me at (267) 362-9535.
I elected to do a soft project launch on May 18th in conjunction with the annual Brewerytown Spring Festival. The aim of the annual Brewerytown Spring Festival is to transform the 2700 to 2800 blocks of West Girard Avenue into a colorful and tasty street festival celebrating art, food and music. The Brewerytown Spring Festival included live music, specials from local businesses, 15 to 20 unique food trucks from the Philadelphia Mobile Food Association (PMFA), kids’ activities, AND talented arts and crafts vendors. Saturday, May 18th also marked the closing of Next City’s Storefront installation, Shale Play, by artist Jennie Shanker. It was very nice to see how much press this event got. If you’re interested, please go here, here and here.
Two reasons why I decided to do a soft launch on May 18th: One, I knew that the festival would draw a good number of community members out of their homes and onto the streets. That’s always a good thing. Two, I knew that festivalgoers would be relaxed and engaged and thus provide me with a captive audience to begin planting the seeds for the next phase of this work.
A number of factors contributed to a late start on my part, and then showers forced me to shut down shop earlier than I had planned, but no worries. I’ll be back. I’ll be sharing more details and updates about the project as things develop in the coming weeks and months. Please stay tuned!
In the meantime, here are some snapshots taken of the day by Liz Maillie of Next City …. Thanks Liz, thanks Next City, and thank you Brewerytown!