Without a doubt, art can be transformative.
In West Philadelphia, a new community-based artist residency program puts that affirmation to the test with an innovative model that aims to spur artist-driven change.
Thanks to a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the People’s Emergency Center and the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Neighborhood Time Exchange has set up shop in a storefront on Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia for the next eight months.
A concept developed by the founders of Broken City Lab, the artist-led research-based non-profit that will be curating the Philly residency, Neighborhood Time Exchange sets up artist residencies in a new, and hopefully very productive manner.
The selected artists — the first group consists of Ian Sampson, Betty Leacraft, Kandis Friesen and Philippe Leonard — are given studio space in the West Philly storefront for free in exchange for investing time and energy into community-based service projects.
To discover the community around them, the artists participate in open houses, Second Friday events, exhibitions and host regular hours in the storefront to invite neighbors to stop in and talk about issues at hand.
The program then supplies the artists with the space and resources they need to work with residents in the community to enhance their neighborhood. Already underway, projects include painting vacant Belmont Avenue homes, and designing and creating a brochure for the New Freedom Tour for the New Africa Center.
The public, too, is invited to check out the space, and every Second Friday brings a great opportunity with an art crawl-style event along Lancaster Avenue.
To learn more about the Neighborhood Time Exchange and on the second Friday of each month, check here.