A busy season ahead for artists in Germantown

The artists of Germantown are enjoying a busy season, evidenced by Thursday’s Germantown Artists Roundtable meeting featuring notices for upcoming exhibitions, performances and arts initiatives. About 20 artists attended the monthly meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown.

Participants began by discussing the success of last month’s PARK(ing) Day festivities in Germantown, which Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) liaison Andy Trackman promised is already slated to return to Germantown in 2013.

“It was a good choice bringing you guys in,” Trackman said about the Chelten Avenue parking space that photographer Tieshka Smith organized into a day-long arts extravaganza including photography, sculpture, poetry, music and song.

“People were fascinated by our little part of Philly,” Smith said of engaging passersby and PARK(ing) Day visitors to the Roundtable’s space. “It was an organic, spontaneous party.”

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Arts listings

Meanwhile, artist Andy Walker is preparing for the third incarnation of his Renewed Urban Studio Tent project (with collaborator Andy Heisey).

The artistry-of-discarded-items display debuted near the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on South Broad Street in late August and is now installed at the Hamilton Platform at the University of the Arts.

In November, the structure will be reassembled at the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG). On Sunday, Nov. 11. Heisey and Walker will present a “How To Create Art Out of Refuse” workshop at 10 a.m. Then, at 2 p.m., they will join Philadelphia Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer, and Shari Hersh and Dre Urhahn of the Mural Arts Project for an “Artists Taking Back Philadelphia – Brick by Brick” panel discussion.

The latter will explore “how artists are helping with urban renewal,” Walker said.

Walker also hopes to become involved with the Delaware Riverfront Corporation on its current wetlands restoration project at Pier 53. He said he’s developing a concept to involve city children in making signage from reclaimed materials for the preserve, and is seeking to partner with interested schools or organizations.

Reports on past events

Gary Reed, Germantown’s intrepid Photo Walk leader, reported on this month’s Worldwide Photo Walk day, which came to Germantown for the first time this year. While turnout for the Oct. 13 walk was small, Germantown will play host to an event next year, too.

Other artists reported a slew of new exhibitions, commissions and educational projects, including Trackman’s one-day class in marketing for the arts, taking place on Thursday, Nov. 8th at MAAG (registration for the $25 class is through the MAAG website).

After Roundtable organizer Paula Paul announced a new initiative to document all Germantown performance spaces, Nzadi Keita, a professor of English and creative writing at Ursinus College and a well-published poet, read selections of her work to the group.

Poetry reading

“This was sitting around on a yellow notepad in pieces for three years” before it was published in an anthology, she said of one poem. “You know how that sometimes works with art-making.”

Another poem was inspired by her experience as a busy wife and mother, trying to find time for her writing.

Keita lauded Philadelphia’s long-standing poetry scene, remarking that it’s gone on a lot longer than the younger generation realizes.

“Some of the young people act like they invented everything,” said Keita, before closing with selections from a sheaf of poems inspired by the little-known life of Anna Murray, who was married to the legendary Frederick Douglass for more than years, and who, Keita was shocked to discover in her research, was illiterate.

By then, so many attending artists had begged to inform the whole group of “one more thing” that there was no time left to discuss the rest of the stated agenda.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church on Chelten Avenue. For more information, or to promote a local arts event, e-mail gtartistrt@gmail.com.

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