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Inside and On Top of Spruce Street Commons’ Historic ‘Touraine’ and ‘Annex’ Apartment Buildings

August 10, 2015

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Had the INCREDIBLE opportunity this past week to explore The Touraine, a beautiful, nearly 100-year-old apartment tower. As well as The Annex, two mid-19th century brownstones. All three on west Spruce street, between 15th and 16th.

The proprietors of these historic buildings, called Spruce Street Commons, contacted me because 1) they’ve seen my blog and know I love iconic Philadelphia architecture, and 2) they noticed you could get a really great view of JR’s massive new Mural Arts’ mural from their roofs!

So much to see in these lovely buildings. For one, The Annex has a green roof. (I wish more buildings in Philly had these.) And the views from all the buildings were, as I expected, stunning. Including many great angles to shoot JR’s piece.

After touring the roofs, we took a walk through a space they’ve recently uncovered while renovating a section of The Touraine’s ground floor (photos below). While the space had been an active modeling school until fairly recently, from the looks of the tiling and some other details they’ve uncovered, the owners are guessing it was originally some sort of speak-easy and grand dinning hall when The Touraine was still a Hotel!

While final plans for the space are as-yet unannounced, the owners want to make sure that it is used in a way that showcases the original architecture as they work to restore it.

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Thanks again to Spruce Street Commons for letting me come visit and explore!

Interested in more Philly restorations? Check out:
Eraserhood’s Goldtex Building Pays Homage to Its Abandoned/Graffitied Past, Supports Artists in the Process
How to Restore an Abandoned Milk Depot in Brewerytown
Uncovering A 100 Year-Old ‘Ghost Sign’ in Port Richmond

New Sean 9 Lugo in Kensington

August 10, 2015

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So much good Sean 9 Lugo work lately!

A Devastating Peek Inside The Boyd Theatre

August 9, 2015

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Anyone walking down Sansom street the last several weeks has been privy to this pretty sad scene, a look inside the Boyd Theatre in its final days.

You know, you don’t have to know anything about architecture or historical preservation to look at these photos and realize that this is the kind of space we as a city should be saving and finding new uses for. (And there was a very long, 13-year battle to try and preserve this building, but alas!)

A Facebook friend’s recent re-sharing of this popular photo essay from 2013 looking at New York City’s GORGEOUS old Penn Station only helped to remind me of what we risk when we demolish our history like this.

So what’s in store for the former Boyd Theatre? A luxury residential tower owned by Pearl Properties, naturally… Cool.

HAHAxPara Visiting Artist, Sophie Roach, Installs Around Town

August 9, 2015

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Some photos from Sophie Roach‘s recent trip to Philly, installing around town for HAHAxPara!

Exploring Detroit, Part II: Life and Rebirth in the Motor City

August 8, 2015

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In Part I of this three-part series of photos from my trip to Detroit earlier this summer, I focused on what I think most people today envision when they think of Detroit: a city abandoned.

Today, I’d like to show you some more of the livelier parts of the Motor City that I had the opportunity to explore, including several places like the Shinola factory (above) and the Grand Army of the Republic Building (below), which many Detroiters I spoke with view as prime examples of Detroit’s burgeoning rebirth.

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Read more…

KICKSTARTER ONLY: Signed and Numbered Photo Prints of the Legendary Isaiah Zagar Working on His Next Stop: Democracy Sign!

August 4, 2015

Signed Zagar Portrait Reward

Can a celebratory, citywide public art exhibition on Election Day help increase voter turnout in Philadelphia this November 3rd?

As you’ve likely seen me talk about by now, I am currently working on a project called Next Stop: Democracy which will hire 60 artists to create 60 “Vote Here” signs to be installed at polling locations around Philadelphia on Election Day, November 3rd with the goal of exciting Philly’s electorate to go to the polls! (Believe it or not, there’s next to no study on whether art intervention can increase voter engagement in America. It’s completely untested territory.)

The project is in its final fundraising phase, and in just 3 days we will close out our Kickstarter. After being named a Kickstarter “Staff Pick,” and now with over 200 backers, we are just about 30% away from our goal!

And to help incentivize those waiting till the last minute to donate (so Philly of y’all to try and give us a heart attack cutting it so close to the wire), we’ve added a few new, one-of-a-kind rewards, including a signed and numbered 8×12 portrait of the legendary Isaiah Zagar at work, photographed by me, and signed by both Zagar and myself. Only 60 of these are being made available, and I will NEVER print this image again… And there are PLENTY more rewards where that came from, like a personalized outgoing voicemail recorded by Kid Hazo, or a duel membership to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens offering behind-the-scenes access to the mosaic wonderland. You can check out all the rewards HERE!

So, whether you’re looking for a one-of-kind reward, or are just interested in helping support the good cause, you’ve only got a few mere hours to to do it… Click HERE to show your support now!

And before you go, here’s a look at just a few of our “Vote Here” signs in progress by artists SeperSophie Roach, and Gaia

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P.s. You can own any of these completed signs too!

Streets Dept to Guest Host Creative Mornings with Speaker Peter Heacock of Unpopular Now

July 24, 2015

So excited to announce today that I’ll be Guest Hosting the next Creative Mornings this coming Friday, July 31st, with speaker Peter Heacock!

Aside from being a super-talented and world famous Viner, Pete is the Founder of Unpopular Now, a Philly-based mobile marketing agency and production company that creates dynamic, funny, and sharable social video for international brands. In fact, he’s created content and social media campaigns for brands like Best Buy, Target, Red Bull, McDonald’s, Cover Girl…and the list goes on.

Come learn the secrets behind Peter’s success, and leave with a number of real, actionable takeaways for growing your audience on social media: REGISTER NOW, space is limited!

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