The Germantown Town Hall will reopen its doors for the first time since 1997 as part of the Hidden City Festival, which takes place from May 23 to June 30.
The reopening of 5928 Germantown Ave. is the brainchild of Jacob Wick, an artist from Oakland, Cal. who “met the curator of Hidden City Festival last summer and I thought Germantown was a fascinating place.”
Wick said his vision, as part of the event promoting and celebrating the vision of contemporary artists, is to open up the building to serve as a functioning city hall, as if Germantown was its own municipality.
“The building was used for 150 years and was never truly used as a city hall since Germantown is just part of Philadelphia,” Wick said, “so I am interested in seeing what happens when the space is opened up to the people.”
The Germantown Town Hall building will temporarily reopen as the Germantown City Hall, serving as a space for debate, performance hall, office center and more. The space will be free to all residents of Germantown, Wick said.
“There were other places I checked out, but I was really interested in the intersection of [where] architecture and bureaucracy meets,” Wick said.
Wick’s project will mostly be funded through the Andy Warhol Foundation, which he said provides money to artists who pitch creative ideas in places where art is normally not at the forefront.
However, Wick and his partners are searching for volunteers to assist in cleaning up the building.
“It will be exciting and terrifying,” he said. “I really don’t know what is going to happen, but I am interested in what happens when the space is opened up to the people.”
Thomas E. Zamonski and Parissa M. Zecher are students at Temple University. Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a NewsWorks content partner, is an initiative of the Temple Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.