Tracking down artists right where they work, with NW Philly POST.
Philadelphia Open Studio Tours is the area’s largest Open House for artist studios and creative work spaces – over 300 artists participate in a day welcoming guests behind-the-scenes to view their current projects, their tools, machines, and materials. A really cool opportunity to see artists in their “natural habitat.”
Technically POST is four days, each focusing on a different part of the city: West, Northwest, Northeast, and South. When “our” day came up this October, we felt rather overwhelmed by all the great art to see in this area. According to Paula Paul of Germantown’s Artists Roundable, over 1,000 belong to their association alone. At the group’s monthly meeting at iMPeRFeCT Gallery, she urged everyone, “Get out and see as much as you can!”
So we targeted a building that had a lot of artists under one roof. Our first thought was Sherman/Scotts Mills but then Ed Lampe from Osmond Street told us the artists in his building were better (ha!). Also he would be at the Stenton Guild Arts Building all day and he knew where all the good wine and cheese and stuff was.
Just a ten-minute drive, we pulled up to an early 1900’s factory/warehouse building of red brick, with Deco flair on the roof. Inside, the space is roughly divided up into studios, with various communal areas where tenants can use industrial saws, sanders, sprayers…
Ed had no trouble filling the available rental space with artists and craftsmen. He’s working with the owner of the HG FETTEROLF CO building across the street to replicate the Stenton Guild Arts model there. Ed loves the idea of providing local artists with convenient, affordable space to create and also a hub where they can network with each other, exchange ideas, trade services, etc.
Our day exploring POST at Stenton Guild Arts Building included pottery demos, handmade jewelry and decor, mechanical cards and kinetic sculptures, laser-cut designs, recording and photography studios – remarkably realistic reproductions of famous Civil War & WW I/II battles, weapons, and vehicles.
DAD GIFT ALERT: Model trains and impeccable miniature replicas of planes, tanks, ships… you can even buy neatly-labeled packs of dirt from famous battlefields around the world. Great pics and descriptions at ModelCrafters.com, where you can order pieces via email (I would suspect local pickup could be arranged).
Though Ed will brush off the suggestion he’s an artist himself, he’s certainly… artistic. He created his own proprietary blend of concrete to replace historic windowsills at the Stenton using molds he designed and built himself. Not to save time or money (in fact, it’d have been faster & cheaper to just buy them) but because, “It was fun.” Ed’s not your average landlord.
Look up at the Stenton, and it’s hard not to marvel at the meticulous geometry of ducts, pipes, and wires Ed has configured like Arabesques in the ceiling. He was happy to show us around the raw, sprawling industrial property across the street, and point out all the assets he saw, all the possibilities. He’s looking forward to creating more unique work spaces for local artists to dream big.
Ed’s cool with all the new development coming to nearby Wayne Junction, and he hopes that his buildings can help keep the area’s creative community in place. “Art is such an important part of this neighborhood, “ Ed told us, “I’m glad to support our artists at Stenton Guild, and happy to provide the space they need to do what they do best.”
Follow Philadelphia Open Studio Tours on Facebook for announcements about POST 2019.
Germantown Artists Roundtable supports and promotes local artists – past, present & future. They exhibit, preserve, and promote significant art work of our area. The Roundtable also includes a larger artistic community of educators, curators, art lovers and businesses/organizations connected to artistic endeavors of all kinds. 3rd Wednesdays: Come out to a lively monthly gathering that showcases a local talent (check calendar for each month’s location, or join Facebook group).
iMPeRFeCT Gallery is a not-for-profit alternative art space dedicated to the voice of the artist. This international, community-based exhibition space in Germantown, Philadelphia celebrates work born of passion. Follow on Facebook for their lively calendar of art shows, drum circles, innovative events, classes, and seminars of all kinds.
5539 Germantown Avenue (19144) map
Open Wednesday thru Saturday, 1pm – 6pm or by appointment
Stenton Guild Arts Building: This mighty 27,000 sf brick & steel behemoth was built for the Norton Abrasives Company – you can still buy their sandpaper today! 1st Floor: Open floor plan features woodshop with professional woodworking machinery and a spray booth. 2nd Floor: office/studio space with high ceilings, hardwood maple floors, and enormous windows. Basement is dry, open, and well-lit. 6000lb freight elevator. Indoor & outdoor loading docks. Ed Lampe, owner/proprietor, lives in nearby East Falls. If you’re an artist seeking affordable studio space, hit him up.
4732 Stenton Ave (19144) map