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In NoLibs, art is back in the spotlight

Originally published By Molly Given Metro Philly on September 10, 2020

The city of Philadelphia is one full of artistic exposure and culture, but lately, the majority of art is being viewed through screens. However, starting this weekend, Philadelphians will once again be able to see some one-of-a-kind and unique pieces in person on display all around Northern Liberties. After months of closure, this is the first step for retailers and artists to partner up and showcase just how creative the City of Brotherly Love can be.

Six local NoLibs businesses partnered up with seven local artists on Artists at Work Exhibition to debut a brand-new socially distanced art exhibition and interactive kick-off. This new experience will kick off this Saturday, September 12th from 5 pm to 7 pm and will continue with artwork being displayed in storefronts until the end of the month on September 30th.

“Social distancing has changed a lot about how we shop, but not how we feel about the shops we love,” said NLBID Executive Director Kristine Kennedy in a statement. “Artists at Work offers an opportunity to support your favorite Northern Liberties’ small shops and boutiques and the artists whose work they sell in a safe, socially distant way.”

Miriam Singer (Provided)

According to a release, art fans and supporters of the neighborhood are invited to come out with their COVID pods and family circles and socially distance along the route and see art live while it’s made with these seven artists. For those that come this Saturday, the art will remain up in the storefronts and windows until the end of the month.

The art will range in many different mediums from weaving to painting and every artist will be showcasing their skills for the audience full of creativity lovers and art aficionados. Afterward, the pieces will remain on display and will also be for sale through each host store.

“There will be live demonstrations by the artists in the storefronts, so you can watch them work from a safe distance, behind glass. Their work will be displayed in the shop window for the rest of September and you’ll be able to order via the stores’ online shops. Our boutiques have been through a lot since March. The BID worked with them on a program that really, truly supported them and the makers that they buy from,” added Kennedy.

Participating stores and artists include: Art Star, (623 N 2nd St.) featuring fabrics and structures artist Janell Wysock, Casa Pael (804 N 2nd St.) featuring mixed media artist Jackie Quinn, Once Worn Consignment (906 N 2nd St.) featuring working artist and published illustrator Peter Oravetz, R.E.Load Bags (608 N 2nd St.) featuring printmaking and drawing artist Miriam Singer, SWAG (935 N 2nd St.) featuring the versatile media artist Sam Angel, and Trunc (929 N 2nd St.) featuring floral and mixed media artists Alec K Rogers and Dindga McCannon.

Some of the retail spaces are now reopening after being closed most of 2020 due to shut down orders and other factors. The release states, some will now reopen, some will extend hours, and others will show off the new ways they are surviving the pandemic by debuting new ways of doing business – including new website and online sales.

Jackie Quinn working with mixed media (Provided)

Those who head to the eclectic section of the city are also being urged to stay and check out the food and beverage offerings that Northern Liberties has to offer.

Most recently, the area has begun to shut down traffic to be able to offer maximum occupancy for outdoor dining and Philadelphians can expect traffic shut down to allow for more than a dozen eateries to offer al-fresco eating. Bars and restaurants pulling out all of the stops in Northern Liberties with open-dining include El Camino Real (Tex-Mex and Southern smoke house), Rustica Pizza (neighborhood pizza parlor), SET NoLibs (a newly opened gastropub with eclectic cocktails and Asian-inspired fare), Añejo Philly (a brand new eatery open with a vast tequila selection and interesting Mexican-fused fare) and more.

“Northern Liberties shops have such a focus on locally made products that when they suffer, so does the local craft community. We hope Artists and Work will help reconnect Philadelphians with their artist community. And hey, it’s not too early to shop for Christmas! Buy something handmade this year,” added Kennedy in the statement.