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New Freewall Goes Up In The Heart Of South Street Headhouse District

May 21, 2023

Words and photos by Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale.

If you, like us, have been mourning the construction wall that resided at 5th and Bainbridge Streets for what seemed like a decade, we have some good news: there’s a new construction wall in the South Street Headhouse District that artists have explicit permission to display their works on! (In the biz, we call that a “freewall.”)

This new anything-goes wall is located at the intersection of 4th and South Streets, where Jim’s Steaks and Eye’s Gallery suffered a fire in late July 2022. Jim’s has begun to rebuild, and it looks like the renovations will be extensive. For one thing, the fire damage appears to have gutted the interior. For another, Jim’s has actually purchased the adjacent building from the owner of Eye’s Gallery, Julia Zagar, in order to expand their eating area! Eye’s has since moved across the street and reopened at 327 South Street.

So while we wish Jim’s Steaks a speedy recovery, it seems like this new wall may be up for a while. We’re calling it right now: this is going to be the place to see the latest and greatest street art in Philadelphia in 2023.

With some coordination from South Street Headhouse District and the South Street Art Mart, the wall was “seeded” with some initial artwork by Inphltrate, Doomed Future, Amberella, and Praise Dobler. Now, a few weeks later, it’s already been touched by at least 25 artists. The word is out!

Streets Dept wishes Jim’s Steaks all the best as they rebuild, and thanks them for agreeing to this arrangement! Philadelphia can always use another freewall to accommodate some of the creativity bursting from all of our artists. We can’t wait to see what crops up here!


Editor’s note from Conrad Benner: It’s worth it to emphasize that the South Street Headhouse District’s approach to creating this Jim’s freewall space is a direct reaction to, among other factors, the enormous effect that the 5th and Bainbridge “freewall” space had. As we wrote about in 2019, the 5th and Bainbridge “freewall” was a useful tool for local artists and much beloved by the community. If you have yet to read that article about the value of freewalls in Philly, I hope you’ll consider reading it here!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Caroll Drazen permalink
    May 21, 2023 7:42 pm

    Great fun to see the Freewall. One thing, though, Eyes Gallery has already opened the new store at 327 South Street.

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