| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Development News

Community groups LOOK! to spruce up Lancaster Ave. through art

If you’re strolling along Lancaster Avenue between 35th and 40th Sts., you probably notice something looks different. In fact, you’re right, as Drexel University, the University City District, and other community groups have partnered on a two-month art exhibition running through Nov. 30 called LOOK!.

There are three main components to LOOK!, which are art displays in the windows of unused buildings, group art events in galleries or public spaces, and performances open to anyone. The most omnipresent of these components is the art that now adorns the fronts of vacant buildings. According to University City District’s Mark Christman, there are thirteen such displays. These displays speak to the corridor’s history as well as the resiliency of the community, and include audio and visual artwork.

Additionally, the opening night of LOOK! Featured some fascinating performances. This included a dance exhibition that wound its way down Lancaster Ave. called Dances for Imaginary Places Barely There. The troupe made sure to modify its dance routine depending on the unique culture of every block. The opening night also saw some theatrical shows, which examined American culture, mental illness, and burlesque.

The University City District believes the success in organizing LOOK! is a great sign for the Lancaster Avenue corridor.

"The fact that community members, landlords, neighborhood institutions, and artists were able to successfully collaborate on a project of this scale is clearly a strong sign of the broader commitment to continue to transform the Avenue," says Christman. "Lancaster Avenue is clearly a great ‘main street’ in the making."

Christman builds on the "main street" theme by lauding the neighborhood farmers’ market, nascent galleries, cafes and dining establishments, and fencing academy. He says it only made sense to run a community arts show given how much is already going on with the avenue. While Christman is unsure as to whether LOOK! will ever be done again, he did say that community groups will make sure to analyze how art can beautify public space.

When the involved organizations announced they were seeking artists to participate in mid-July, they received an overwhelming response. Despite giving artists just three weeks to submit proposals, they received about 200 requests. Christman acknowledges how creative many of the proposals were, but says "we ultimately put together a panel that included representatives from neighborhood institutions, community members, and even two Pew Fellows."

Source: Mark Christman, University City District
Writer: Andy Sharpe
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts