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Pearl Street Block Party celebrates transformation in Chinatown North

Pearl Street

It was barely four months ago that Flying Kite spoke with the folks at the Asian Arts Initiative (AAI) about their plans to revitalize four blocks of Pearl Street, an alleyway that runs from Broad to 10th Street, just north of Vine. At the time few details were finalized, but come September 28, AAI is throwing the first ever Pearl Street Block Party, taking the first steps towards making their vision a reality.

Over the coming years, AAI hopes to transform the forgotten alley into a dynamic public space featuring public art, lighting improvements and multi-sensory programmed activities. Green features will also be included, with the hope of eventually connecting Pearl Street to the long-envisioned Reading Viaduct project.

Billed as a free all-day neighborhood arts festival, the party will center around two main events. First, Oakland-based landscape architect and artist Walter Hood will lead attendees in a community furniture build (2 - 5 p.m.). The resulting tables and chairs will then serve as furniture for a community feast (5 p.m.). (Advance registration is required for the community feast; email nancy.chen@asianartsinitiative.org to register). 

The day will also feature live music, performances, food and a huge array of art vendors; many of the participating artists work through the AAI's artists-in-residence program.

"The Pearl Street Block Party is not only a celebration of the diversity and richness of creative activity that is constantly happening in our neighborhood, but also an opportunity for Philadelphians to participate in all kinds of interactive art-making," explains AAI Executive Director Gayle Isa in a press release. "We come to work every day knowing that we're part of one of the most dynamic neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and we're excited to show off why on September 28."

Pearl Street Block Party, Sat., Sept. 28, 2-5 p.m., 1200 block of Pearl Street (enter at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St.). Click here for more information.
Source:  Gayle Isa, Executive Director, Asian Arts Initiative
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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