New vision, art show for Globe Dye Works in Frankford

By Christopher Wink

Signs throughout Philadelphia point to the slow development of an industrialization long since gone — even in Frankford.

Tomorrow night, the opening reception of an art show will be held at the old Globe Dye Works on Torresdale Avenue above Kinsey Street. The show, called “Layers” features a host of established and upcoming artists from other Philadelphia neighborhoods and outside the region.

The show is curated by Veronica Scarpellino.

If you have interest in a free art show or not, Globe Dye Works, once the home of a fifth-generation textile dying factory,  is worth the visit. You’d never know it, driving north on Torresdale, passing another old brick relic of Philadelphia’s historic manufacturing past, but the Globe is alive.

It’s history and prominence is illuminating. With as much as 165,000 square feet between 11-buildings, the oldest of which was constructed more than 140 years ago, the building has remarkable promise for unique live-work, light-industrial and, yes, even art space.

Read more of its history at the Workshop of the World Web site.

In touring the complex with Jim Smiley of the Frankford Gazette and Charles Abdo, the bright and engaging man that is leading the construction with five other partners and seems very respectful and in awe of the building’s history, I was so taken by moving from one building to the next, some in disrepair, with elements of the Globe business still there, while others were beautiful and ready to be used.

The complex is still developing. There are seven tenants, including a metal smith, a woodworker, an antiques wholesaler, a photographer and a steel drum manufacturer. Portions of the complex are already finished and awaiting new tenants, some portions can be developed to tenant specifications and others are sitting, remaining haunting reminders of the long staple of industrialization.

The Globe business wasn’t shuttered by its Greenwood owning family until 2005, but it sometimes appears like you’re walking through an ancient tomb.

Abdo and his partners are hoping to keep some of that authentic feel, including discussions on leaving a three-story boiler as a “conversation piece.

Smiley is sharing many photos he took at the Globe, seen here, among others.

The art show is in a particular interesting part of the complex — redone, with beautiful, original floors and 30-foot high open face brick. The free show is a chance to open the building up to the community and potential tenants.

The artists will be in attendance at tomorrow’s opening reception, but the art will remain and be open through June 7 by appointment. Read more here.

The Globe is easily accessible by mass transit. Take the El eastbound from Center City to the Church stop. Walk  four blocks east to Torresdale Avenue and one block north to Kinsey Street. The Globe complex will be on your right and can be accessed from Worth Street, which runs parallel to Torresdale.

Street parking is also available.

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