Most Philadelphians are escaping work and heading to happy hour around 5 p.m. on every second Friday of the month. But in Powelton Village, artists and non-artists alike are probably hitting the streets for their monthly Second Friday festival.
Like First Friday celebrations that take place in neighborhoods such as Old City and Fishtown, Second Friday is a chance for local artists to exhibit their work whether it includes spoken word poetry, paintings, sculptures or live performances. But the small community, which has always been active in the arts, has incubated a unique forum for such a festival.
“This is what Powelton is letting happen now,” said Victoria Cahn, Drexel University freshman engineering program director and long-time resident. “Center City is too commercial, too expensive.”
In September Green Line Café on 36th Street and Lancaster Avenue featured the puppet-like artwork of Shay Aubrey Allen alongside signature coffee and tea drinks. Just outside, Caralea Arnold, the café owner’s wife, was selling clothing from her small business, Teaspoon Vintage.
Farther down Lancaster Avenue, two unique displays of the human body captured other festival-goers attentions.
One of the exhibits, In-Scripted Body by Romanian artist Arina Ailincai, featured a life-like piece which was modeled after the gallery owner.
Next door, another Romanian artist, Viorel Farces, housed a stunning self-renovated display of his large bronze, gravity-defying silhouettes.
“You don’t get this kind of work in Philadelphia very often… This is here because of family,” Farces said, echoing Cahn, a long-time friend and supporter of both artists.
Long after the sun had set, everyone made their way to the Ellen Powell Tiberino Museum, a magical garden of art which is turned into a tank of fire swallowers, burlesque dancers and sideshow performers in a monthly show coined Carnivolution. An experience guaranteed to thrill, amaze and disgust, the show proved the most active and shocking art takes place not always in the Philadelphia Art Museum, but in cafes and backyards, too.