Kensington is home to some of the city’s most well-known art galleries and storefronts, from bizarre sculptures, like that of the man pictured above in the PaperMill Community of Artists, to American-made accessories and exhibitions featuring the countries most seasoned artists.
Catch & Release Merchants
Opened in December 2012 by the husband-and-wife team Melissa Colosi and Ryan Kozar, Catch & Release Merchants houses more than the typical vintage store. Continuing their careers as eco-conscious local crafters, Colosi and Kozar established the storefront to sell American-made housewares and accessories, including screen-printed clothing and totes, vintage cookware and stacks of old-fashioned bottles and mason jars. The store, located at Frankford Avenue and East Berks Street, is one of many others that participate in the monthly artistic culture of Frankford Avenue First Friday.
White Stone Gallery
Since 2002, White Stone Gallery, located along Frankford Avenue and East Berks Street, has been dedicated to representing contemporary fine art inspired by, what the owner and director, Susan Hooks, calls a sub-section of the art business: faith.
“It’s all about beauty and all about the human experience,” Hooks said.
The art, featured in exhibits created by a variety of seasoned artists, typically rotates every five or six weeks. In addition to displaying work from weathered artists, the gallery holds a juried exhibition every year, welcoming artists of all ages and background to submit their work.
Philadelphia Sculpture Gym
The Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, at Frankford Avenue and East Berks Street, was established in 2011 after the animal and human emotions sculptor, Darla Jackson, won a grant as one of the 36 winners of the Knights Arts Challenge. But unlike your typical art gallery, PSG was created to serve as a space for sculptors and craftspeople to come together as members of a community-based workshop that offers shared access to a wood shop, metal shop and a mold-making and casting area. And like a gym, PSG also offers one-on-one personal training sessions, classes and workshops, like bookbinding and needle felting, at all skill levels.
PaperMill Community of Artists
The PaperMill Community of Artists at Ormes and East Somerset streets is home to many local artists in the Philadelphia area, including visual and performing arts. The artists range in skill level and all collaborate with each other to create works of art located on one of the five floors within the warehouse, each of which has a common area for the artists and visitors to relax. Robert Wiley, a tenant at the PaperMill Community of Artists, uses his studio space to create mechanical timepieces and vintage art. The studio is open 24/7 to the tenants and open to the public when shows are held.
Located at Coral and Boston streets, Little Berlin was founded in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the gallery became a collective organization. The gallery is purely artist-run and hosts a variety of shows and exhibitions. Their upcoming exhibition, Plato’s Porno Cave: THE TRIAL, puts the audience on trial and will have guests looking at mankind’s history in a different way. The exhibition begins June 13, 2014 and runs until July 16, 2014.
– Text and images by Shauna Bannan and Anna Ryan.