Germantown Artists Roundtable discusses an extreme Maplewood Mall makeover

This month’s Germantown Artists Roundtable meeting featured several event announcements, a call for teaching artists and a discussion about the group’s bylaws.

As to the latter, the Germantown Life Enrichment Center (GLEC) sought proposals for art classes, half of the fees for which would go to GLEC, and half to the teaching artist. To learn more, or to submit a proposal, e-mail Ed Feldman at

Event announcements

Roundtable member Kenny Lashlee announced he recently moved his Soul City Music Arts and Poetry Open Mic from Common Grounds to Wired Beans Cafe in Chelten Plaza. The event runs on the second and fourth Friday of each month from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Germantown United Community Development Corp. will host a sustainability conference on May 8 at the Flying Horse Center, 5534-46 Pulaski Ave.

The 6 p.m event, called “It IS Easy Being Green,” will focus on environmentally sustainable economic revitalization, and feature a panel discussion helmed by Robert Fleming, associate professor of sustainable design at Philadelphia University.

Upcoming Maplewood Mall event

Jim Bear of G-Town Radio and GUCDC’s Garlen Capita discussed the June 22 “Re-Imagining Maplewood Mall” event would “re-introduce people” to an underused section of the neighborhood.

With as many as half of the properties and storefronts shuttered or vacant, Bear enthusiastically proposed getting the empty spaces opened up for a special night of art and performances.

“We want to create a space for families and neighbors to enjoy a nice night out in Germantown,” read a statement distributed by G-Town Radio and GUCDC, who are among the event’s partners. “The goal is to do something on a large scale that compels people to reconsider how Maplewood Mall is used.”

Bear hoped that food trucks and nearby restaurants would participate, and sent out a call for artists, designers and performers to get in the mix.

“It’s a stone-soup affair at this point,” Bear said, urging community members to contact him at with their own ideas and contributions.

Capita also touted the chance for neighbors to come out and see plans for a Maplewood Mall makeover from the City Planning Commission, which is currently pursuing the necessary money from the City Capital Funds Budget.

Planning meetings between G-Town Radio, GUCDC, Maplewood residents and business owners are already underway; the next one is scheduled for the G-Town Radio space at 6:30 p.m. May 1.

While the meeting is open to the public, Bear requested that those attending RSVP in advance via e-mail.

Bylaws discussion

The majority of Wednesday’s meeting was devoted to a discussion of a recently completed draft of the new bylaws for the Germantown Artists Roundtable, which Vivian Nix-Early of BuildaBridge called an important step in the group’s “longevity and structure.”

Promising to send a full draft to all Roundtable members, session leader Allison Weiss requested feedback in writing before the group’s May meeting, when the discussion will continue.

The current draft emphasizes that members can be artists of all forms, including literary or performance artists, art educators, curators, businesses and organizations connected to the arts, and art lovers, and that membership will be open to any of these “living in, working in, born in, or identifying with Germantown.”

Attendees discussed the leadership structure and elections, future financial policies and membership tiers as outlined by the proposed bylaws.

The next Roundtable meeting will be held May 15 at BuildaBridge headquarters, Greene and Tulpehocken streets.

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