West Philadelphia artists to open their doors this weekend
Philadelphia Open Studio Tours will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year
October 17, 2013, 5:33 pm · Updated October 17, 2013, 10:12 pm·
This weekend, thousands of people in West Philadelphia will flock to doors with red balloons to see local artwork now open to the public.
This Saturday and Sunday mark the 30th annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, sponsored by The Center for Emerging Visual Artists . The Philadelphia open tours rank among the top 10 percent of the country’s largest open tours. About 300 artists participate each year, and around 35,000 people attend the event.
For two weekends in October, CFEVA coordinates with local artists to open their studios at the same time so that Philadelphia residents can build their own tours. All studios west of Broad Street will be open this weekend and will hang red balloons outside. Studios east of Broad Street were open during the first weekend of POST, which ran from Oct. 5 through Oct. 6.
“Open studio tours focused specifically on really reaching deep into the hearts of the neighborhoods around the city in order to raise [the artists’] profile,” POST coordinator Ann Peltz said. “People often have no idea that artists are working where they’re living.”
Textile artist Amy Orr , who has a studio on 47th Street, will showcase her unique art collection. For the past seven years, she has been working almost exclusively with credit cards — weaving them into quilt patterns, making maps and portraits out of them, and even creating a “house of cards.”
The idea comes from “society being built on credit,” Orr said. “I’m trying to see how we might reinvent this consumer castoff that might give it a new life.”
Orr’s previous artistic ventures include making art projects from ingredients such as drug paraphernalia found on the West Philadelphia streets, sewing chicken bones into black velvet for a large cross stitch and making pillows out of bra inserts.
She added that the weekend gives people the opportunity to start their own collections.
Comic artist John Karpinski , who has a studio on 608 South 51st St., will open his studio to the public this weekend. Karpinski has a unique style of work where he draws all over photographs.
“People are really interested [in the tours],” Karpinski said. “They want to learn more about why you do what you do and how you do it.”
Peltz added that artists are migrating to Philadelphia because of its affordability, allowing them to maintain large studios. Many old manufacturing sites, for example, are now being transformed into studio buildings.
“[With art] Philly is a hidden gem and an untold story,” Peltz said. “It’s beginning to change, it’s starting to take a place at the table.”
POST was originally founded by a group of artists looking to further connect with the Philadelphia community. When the program became too big for them to manage, CFEVA integrated it into its programming, which aims to provide support for visual artists within a 100-mile radius of Philadelphia.
CFEVA is currently working on its Made in Philly project, which kicked off in September. The initiative coordinated a takeover of advertising space around the city, replacing it with a full piece of artwork and information about the artist’s studio, which is usually a few blocks away from the piece.
“There’s really something for everyone on the tour because there’s such a broad range of style,” Peltz said. “It’s almost like a scavenger hunt.”