The Germantown Town Hall, located on 5928 Germantown Ave., will be reopening its doors for the first time since 1997. The building will be featured in the Hidden City Festival, which takes place from May 23-June 30.
The Hidden City Festival is an event that promotes and celebrates the vision of contemporary artists from around the country and features exhibits, performances and tours throughout Philadelphia.
The reopening of Germantown Town Hall, along with its name, is the brainchild of an Oakland, Calif., artist named Jacob Wick.
“I met the curator of Hidden City Festival last summer,” Wick said, “and I thought Germantown was a fascinating place.”
Wick said his vision for Germantown City Hall is to open up the building to act as a functioning city hall and to act as if Germantown were its own city.
“The building was used for 150 years and was never truly used as a city hall since Germantown is just part of Philadelphia,” Wick said, “so I am interested in seeing what happens when the space is opened up to the people.”
The Germantown Town Hall building will temporarily reopen as the Germantown City Hall and will have multifaceted functions; it will serve as a space for debate, performance hall, office center and much more. The space will be free to all residents of Germantown.
Wick said he looked at other places around Philadelphia, but was drawn to Germantown’s Town Hall.
“There were other places I checked out but I was really interested in the intersection of [where] architecture and bureaucracy meets,” Wick said.
Wick said that the project will mostly be funded through the Andy Warhol Foundation. He explained that the foundation provides money to artists that pitch creative ideas in places where art is normally not at the forefront. However, Wick and his partners are searching for volunteers to assist in cleaning up the building.
Wick said he is not sure of what to expect from the event but he is eager to see how the community will embrace the reopening of the building.
“It will be exciting and terrifying. I really don’t know what is going to happen,” Wick said,” but I am interested in what happens when the space is opened up to the people.”