‘Photo Walks’ event coming to Germantown in June

Community arts advocate Paula Paul and other Germantown Artists Roundtable organizers like Rev. Kevin Porter are facing the rough terrain between idealistic brainstorming and the practical work of getting broad-based initiatives off the ground.

Attendance at Thursday night’s Germantown Artists Roundtable session dwindled from the previous average of 40 attendees to 25. Among that group, however, were artists of all types, ranging from half-century veterans of the neighborhood to those who recent arrivals.

“Slowly but surely, we’ll get it,” Paul said of what’s proven to be the difficult task of getting local artists to fill out surveys that will be used to create a neighborhood database.

There are about 50 names on the list from an estimated 1,000 artists of all stripes living or working in Germantown. Paul said she hopes to obtain at least 300 completed surveys by the end of June, and double that number by September.

Photo Walk event

Among those in attendance was photographer Gary Reed, a self-described “Afromacnerd” who hopes to launch a Photo Walk event this summer in Germantown.

Photo Walks — which have cropped up successfully in Manayunk, Center City and South Philadelphia — involve an open invitation to community members to capture photos of their neighborhood in a given area during an established time-frame.

Images are then uploaded and shared as one neighborhood-wide photostream via the photo-sharing website Flickr.

“You can just go in your backyard and take a photo of something that reminds you of Germantown,” Reed said. “Anybody who has a camera, you’re invited.”

He said he hopes that a successful Germantown Photo Walk, which will last two or three hours on June 30, will do a lot to put positive images of Germantown on the local digital landscape in way that has so far been lacking.

All participants will be given a map of suggested areas to photograph, and Reed is soliciting suggestions from the community of often-neglected corners or streets that have a story to tell.

“It could be exponential,” said attending artist Garth Herrick of the potential for the Germantown-based images to be shared, if participating photographers and artists who already have a large social media following would direct their fans to the Photo Walk’s Flickr account, which would be viewable around the world.

The new Germantown Life Enrichment Center has agreed to host a barbecue fundraiser for the event, tentatively scheduled for June 2, as well as provide a place for participants to celebrate once the Walk is complete.

“Every Photo Walk has to have a place where everybody can get together and get down,” Reed said of the party that will follow.

For more information about the proposed Photo Walk, contact Reed at garyreed@gmail.com.

Other Roundtable business

Paul noted a grant opportunity with the Philadelphia Activities Fund, a nonprofit corporation established by the Mayor and City Council to facilitate sportsmanship, the arts and health among the region’s residents.

Grants of up to $6,500 are available to successful applicants to seed individual initiatives. Paul and Rev. Porter offered copies of the paperwork, which is due by April 27.

There was also a performance of a soulful excerpt from attending playwright Karen Smith’s new original jazz musical, “3 Divas 3,” developed along with composer Alfie Pollitt and lyricist James Solomon. Local jazz performers Roxi “Fab” Helm, Ella Gahnt and Dale Denise McClenton performed several songs.

Germantown artists, supporters, organizations or businesses who are interested in joining the Roundtable’s database can request a survey from Roundtable administrators at gtartistrt@gmail.com. For updates, you can also keep up with the Roundtable’s new Facebook page.

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