There are run-down, seemingly dilapidated buildings on many Philadelphia street yet that does not mean that what’s inside should be ignored. With this in mind, the 2013 Hidden City Festival is attempting to shine a light on some of the lesser known spaces and places scattered around the city.
One of these spaces is Hawthorne Hall, a century-old three-story theater located at the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Hamilton Street. Once home to performances, boxing matches and dances, Hawthorne Hall is now the site of the Society of Pythagoras, an all-encompassing art project designed to celebrate the concealed beauty of the overlooked structure.
The sprawling, experiential Society work was completed by the Rabid Hands Art Collective, a group who previously operated in New Orleans, New York and Detroit. They constructed the project using materials found at the hall itself and elsewhere in the city, transforming a once neglected place into a thing of unique beauty.
“The artists were inspired by Hawthorne Hall’s history as a location for performance, as well as [by] churches, fraternal and secret organizations,” Hidden City Philadelphia Creative Director Less Tusman said.
Hawthorne Hall is just one of nine project sites associated with the Hidden City Festival, which runs through the last day of June 2013. While each project is unique in terms of theme and scope, all of the projects share the common goal of connecting the public to places they may have never noticed before.
The Hidden City projects “help bring in new audiences, identify potential futures uses and kick-start dialogue,” Tusman said.