Easily accessible by public transportation, East Kensington is quickly becoming a destination for young creative types. In comparison to neighboring communities like Fishtown and Olde Richmond, East Kensington is more densely populated by families and—though predominantly white—is more ethnically diverse, with a significant amount of African American and Hispanic residents, according to 2010 Census data. Though the neighborhood has undergone plenty of changes since its factory days, its tight-knit community continues to flourish.
1. Philadelphia Brewing Company (pictured above)
Constructed more than 125 years ago as the home of Weisbrod & Hess Oriental Brewing Company, the facility has been used by Philadelphia Brewing Company since 2001. Today, the brewery produces a number of year-round selections–such as the popular Kenzinger and Walt Wit–as well as limited edition seasonal and select beers. While serving the building’s original purpose of brewing beer, the East Kensington Neighbors Association (EKNA) holds its general meetings on the third Monday of every month at the brewery.
2. Coral Street Arts House
A residential project for low-income artists, Coral Street Arts House is decked out with 27 living spaces—six of which are accessible to those with mobility or sensory impairments and all of which are big enough for studio space. Regardless of how far along their careers are, devoted artists across disciplines including painters, actors, writers and graphic designers thrive in the building’s creative community atmosphere.
3. Devilfish Ink
While East Kensington has seen a migration of artists and art-related businesses over the last few years, Devilfish Ink has been in the neighborhood for 17 years. Founded by Tyler School of Art alum Brian Potash, the company has designed and produced promotional material for a number of high profile clients, including Pabst Blue Ribbon and Glacéau Vitamin Water. The company offers a variety of printing options, such as signage, apparel, brochures and more.
4. Kensington High International School of Business
While located in the rising East Kensington neighborhood, the Kensington High International School of Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship serves as a glaring reminder of the issues that are still present within the neighborhood. According to the school’s website, 92 percent of the student population falls below the national poverty level with a total household income below $23,850 for a family of four. The school offers opportunities for students to earn a High School diploma and prepares students for the workforce or college.
5. Urban Worship Center
A stone’s throw away from Kensington High International School of Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship, the towering brick and mortar Urban Worship Center hosts community events roughly twice per month and mass services. Sensitive to the community’s needs, the church breaks down language barriers with bilingual services and offers outreach programs to benefit the neighborhood, as well as planning mission trips abroad to places like Honduras and Egypt.
Text and images by Mark Whited and Lauren Arute.