Olde Kensington: Five Places for Repurposing and Do-It-Yourself Projects

In an effort to revive the Olde Kensington area, artists have strived to make art more accessible to the general public. Artists use places like the Crane Arts studios (above) to hold workshops that teach people how to make art easily and how to bring that art into their homes. Do-it-yourself projects are becoming extremely popular, and these places located conveniently in the neighborhood help make DIY and repurposing easier.



Colomy Paint and Decorating 

The employees at Colomy Paint and Decorating, located on the corner of West Girard Avenue and North 2nd Street, pride themselves on a comfortable and personal shopping experience. The store offers a large selection of paint and paint supplies for do-it-yourselfers interested in home improvement. Rather than offering workshops for people who don’t know where to start, the employees at Colomy spend a lot of one-on-one time with customers, offering advice on things like how to pick the right color for a specific room and how to go about painting it.



Territory Housewares and Hard Goods 

Located in an entrepreneurial building on the corner of North Hancock Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Territory Housewares and Hard Goods was founded in 2012 and is co-owned by Laura Thieme (above). The goal of the business is to find vintage furniture and resell it, either in the original vintage condition or reupholstered. While most of the business transactions occur online, Thieme also sells some of her furniture at local flea markets.



The Resource Exchange 

The goal of The Resource Exchange is sustainability. Located on the corner of North 2nd Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, The Resource Exchange is a nonprofit organization and is home to an almost endless array of items, all either donated or salvaged by the volunteer staff. Items from film and theater sets that would have ended up in landfills are instead reclaimed and sold to the general public. The Resource Exchange also offers low-cost workshops that provide ideas on how to create things with salvaged materials.



Second State Press

Second State Press is nonprofit organization mostly geared towards professional printmakers. The shop, located in the Crane Arts building on the corner of North American Street and Master Street, provides access to a set of expensive printmaking equipment. However, part of the mission of Second State Press is to create a dialogue about printmaking and contemporary art in the neighborhood. To reach that end, artists who use the facilities hold workshops that are open to the community. For example, every second Saturday of the month, the shop holds the PECO Family Print Exploration Workshop (above) for families who want to learn printmaking techniques.



Philadelphia Photo Arts Center

Also located in the Crane Arts building, the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is nonprofit organization open to the general public. Its goal is teaching photography, at an affordable cost, to the community. Besides holding four curated exhibitions per year, the center provides several classes to help people learn photography and everything associated with it, including how to use Adobe Photoshop and how to take professional pictures using a smartphone. Youth educational programs are also offered. These classes and workshops are coordinated by Josh Brilliant (above). The center also offers the public access to a digital rental lab and to printing and scanning services.

-Text and images by Salma Attia and Christian Morris 

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