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Inside Bok: The Bright Future Envisioned For One of Philadelphia’s Abandoned Public Schools

October 14, 2014

PLEASE NOTE: Bok is currently being used as the storage center for all 20 of the closed schools. So, many of the objects in the photos below have not been ‘abandoned,’ but are just currently being stored there while they find a new home!  

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A few weeks ago I was afforded the rare opportunity to explore one of Philadelphia’s recently abandoned public schools. Invited by a refreshingly imaginative individual who is passionate about creating more opportunities for Philly neighborhoods, I took a look at the current state of South Philly’s Edward W. Bok School and discussed its potentially very exciting future.

Forget the politics of Philadelphia merging a number of public schools around the city and selling the buildings that are left behind to help make up for some heartbreaking school budget deficits. How do we make the best of it now that it’s happened? Well, one local visionary, Lindsey Scannapieco, along with her team of young, enthusiastic urban designers and strategy makers at Scout has a particularly inspiring plan for the recently abandoned Edward W. Bok School building, a gigantic complex sitting between 8th and 9th streets from Mifflin to Dudley in South Philly.

Here’s a little more about Lindsey and this project from Next City:

“Developer Lindsey Scannapieco, a 2014 Next City Vanguard member, is bringing her background in planning, real estate and design to create a space focused on design, entrepreneurship and fabrication. Her company, Scout LLC, was chosen by Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) and the School Reform Commission (SRC) to redevelop the Edward W. Bok School building after a competitive open auction process. The closed school is one of nearly two dozen that the school district is trying to offload as it copes with a deficit of more than $80 million and Scannapieco’s project supports the hope that Philadelphia’s schools can be reinvented.” 

Long story short, Lindsey and her company are trying to transform this vacant school into a one-of-a-kind maker, creative hub for Philadelphia. It will combine workshops, co-working and residential under one roof (something that is rarely done in the US, according to Lindsey.) They will also pay homage to the namesake Edward Bok as they are preserving the Bok name (Building Bok is the working title — but it will most likely just be referred to as “Bok,”) and will be commissioning a series of interventions / design moments in reference to his history and the memories within the school.

So what does the school look like today? You HAVE got to see the views from the top floors of this incredible building…  Read more…

It’s Exactly What It Looks Like

October 8, 2014

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New works by an artist calling himself Lotits (clever) have started popping up around Philly! These two in Northern Liberties and Chinatown, respectively.

“Life Is So Decent” by Butter And Salmon

October 6, 2014

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Absolutely LOVE this new work by Butter And Salmon in Northern Liberties!

Blek Le Rat Visits Philly!

October 6, 2014

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In case you missed my Instagram about it: Blek Le Rat, aka the “Father of Stencil Graffiti,” put up in Midtown Village late last week with Mural Arts!

5 Ways To Improve The Already Amazing Schuylkill River Boardwalk

October 6, 2014

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Checked out the new Schuylkill River Banks Boardwalk this weekend and was completely amazed! Loved the design, loved the views, and loved the slight feeling of escape it gave. Huge pat on the back to the City and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation for supporting such a fantastic project.

Now with that said, I think there’s always room for improvement, so below I’m suggesting five ways to build on the existing boardwalk over the next few months/years to make it even better…

1. Work with an artist to create a permanent light installation along part of the boardwalk, perhaps even bring back/evolve J. Meejin Yoon & Mural Arts’ ‘Light Drift’ from 2010.

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2. The new boardwalk offers such great views of the South Street Bridge, so to build on that: Create a waterfall across the entire span of the South Street Bridge that would use sensors to allow boats to pass under, a bit like this waterfall swing set, like a much wider version of what artist Olafur Eliasson did with the Brooklyn Bridge in 2008.

3. Install a large sculpture(s) on the sliver of land between the railroad and the river to view from the boardwalk… Perhaps KAWS?

4. In one or more of the seating areas, install a few of those floating hammocks that were so popular at this summer’s Spruce Street Harbor Park.

5. Last but not least: Music and live theater! On busy weekends, work with the Philadelphia Orchestra (The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, the Kimmel Center, high school theater groups, and the list goes on…) to perform small sets on one or more boats/barges floating just next to the boardwalk.

What are your ideas to build on Philly’s new boardwalk?

Win A One-On-One Street Art Walking Tour by Me!

October 1, 2014

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So excited to announce that I will be auctioning off a one-on-one street art walking tour as apart of Philly Give & Get!

What is Philly Give & Get? Philly Give & Get is a charity “date” auction that combines professional networking with community engagement. During this live auction event, attendees bid on specialized “Auction Lot” prize packages that include private experiences with Philadelphia-based Designers, or in my case a Philadelphia-based photographer/lover of street art and graffiti.

All proceeds from Philly Give & Get auction events are donated to nonprofit recipients that help young people in Philadelphia grow, learn, and create great things. Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory was chosen as this October’s charity partner due to its commitment to teaching young Philadelphians about the maritime arts and environmental sciences. The group will use the funds raised to upgrade its equipment as it continues to grow its apprenticeship program and fleet.

So what exactly is a “one-on-one street art walking tour?” The winner of my auction (and whoever they want to bring along) will get a personalized street art walking tour based off where they live, where they want to go, which artists’ works they want to see, and whatever else they want to include… It’s completely up to the winner!

How do you attend? Donate what you can and reserve a ticket HERE.

Philly Give & Get: DESIGN Edition
Thursday, October 9 2014
7:00 PM — 11:00 PM

P.s. There may be (READ: there will be) a surprise little gift to the winner of my auction from the amazing Kid Hazo!

 

Interview with Scrapple TV’s ‘Art Phag’

September 30, 2014


Awesome little interview this week inside my studio (aka the makeshift desk I have in my bedroom) by John Shirk for Scrapple TV‘s ‘Art Phag':

“In this episode of Art Phag we chat with the creator of Philadelphia’s popular street art and graffiti blog, STREETS DEPT. Conrad’s blog has become an ever-growing archive of contemporary street art in and around Philadelphia. The photos within this episode have been contributed by many local photographers and showcased with further accreditation on Conrad’s blog.”

REALLY love what those guys at Scrapple TV are doing, and to be honest I’m just completely honored to be interviewed by them… Definitely go check out their YouTube and subscribe to their stuff, it’s well worth it!

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