Phil Fisher: Man of Steel, Museum of the American Revolution, Phrozen Phrenzy

Phil Fisher: Man of Steel
Producer: Karen Smyles

Phil Fisher, a journeyman pipe welder, has been creating steel sculptures for over twenty years. It began when his children saw some bells for sale and told him, “Dad, you can do better than that!” Even today, much of his work shows a sense of whimsy and child-like play, often using whatever steel is at hand as his raw material. Many of his bells and other sculptures, for example, are cut from oxygen bottles. Phil also creates works of elegant beauty, such as garden statues, gates, arbors, and indoor furniture.
Phil is one of many artists living in Arden, Delaware, a utopian community founded over a hundred years ago on the Single-Tax economic philosophy of Henry George. In 1995, Fisher came upon his home/studio which was then for sale, and just knew he had found the place he would set up shop, personally and professionally. On any given day you can find Fisher here firing up his tools to create one of his wonderful creations made from steel.
Friday Arts had the opportunity to spend two gorgeous days with Phil at his wildly entertaining place of business. It was topped off with an excursion around Arden to see the many works of his that grace the homes and gardens of friends and neighbors. The crew and I found it difficult to call this a work day!
In addition to being an artist, he is an avid art collector with an on-site gallery, which exhibits fascinating pieces of art by artists near and far. Fisher gives us a tour of the gallery and tells us about a few of his favorites.

Museum of the American Revolution
Producer: Michael O’Reilly

The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its expansive collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art. Immersive galleries, dynamic theaters, and recreated historical environments bring to life the events, people, and ideals of our nation’s founding and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, Carpenters’ Hall, and Franklin Court, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. FRIDAY ARTS goes behind the scenes and offers the viewer a rare glimpse of what it took to make some of the installations, including the life casting of a member of the museum staff for to serve as the template for one of the museum’s many figurines. In the case of the Oneida Nation exhibit, we hope to show why it was finally necessary to include the story of the Oneida and other Native American nations. Our cameras only cover months, but this is literally, a museum a hundred years in the making.

Phrozen Phrenzy
Producer: Monica Rogozinski

Move over chocolate and vanilla—Philadelphia’s flourishing unique ice cream scene, and the creative artists behind the frozen treat’s genius.

In the summer of 2011, three former musicians Maura, Jeffrey, and Pete Angevine decided to make and sell their very own homemade ice cream via tricycle—despite their lack of a culinary background. After a year of expanding to more tricycles, they opened their first shop—“Little Baby’s”, located in East Kensington of Philadelphia. The absence of experience didn’t serve as an obstacle but rather functioned as a vision without barriers, as the trio focused on creating bizarre, exciting flavors unknown to the frozen dairy world. From stranger savory flavors like Everything Bagel and Earl Grey Sriracha, to sweeter sensations like Bourbon Bourbon Vanilla—their palate creativity has no limit. Their ice cream inventions may sound unconventional, but so does the likelihood of three musicians successfully making and selling their own ice cream.

Jeanne Chang is the founder of “Lil Pop Shop” a Popsicle shop in West Philly and Rittenhouse Square. Originally from Southern California and trained as a pastry chef, Chang wanted to bring to Philadelphia a treat that embodied both of her nostalgic feelings about summertime and her west coast home. Varying from creamy pops to non-dairy, Lil Pop Shop has found great success in mimicking a childhood favorite treat without using dyes and preservatives. Chang only uses local produce, making all her pops and add-ins in house. While not as odd as Little Baby’s, their carefully crafted artisanal flavors are definitely far from your neighborhood ice cream truck, from Chocolate with Salted Caramel Brownies, Vietnamese Iced Coffee, and Coconut Hibiscus—Lil Pop Shop has hit the sweet spot in popsicle imagination.

After watching a video online of a Thai street vendor rolling ice cream on a cold plate, Kyle Billig came up with a brilliant idea. Founder of “Sweet Charlie’s”, Kyle and his brother Jacob took advantage of the absence of Thai rolled ice cream in the Philadelphia area, and began making their own. Still in college, the brother’s ice cream innovation had instant success, and since it’s opening in 2015 on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, 8 more franchises will have opened up by the end of summer 2017. Sweet Charlie’s is unlike any other ice cream shop, in that they’re selling much more than a tasty dairy desert—they’re selling a show. After ordering, customers can watch their treat be made from start to finish. Sweet Charlie’s uses cream, yogurt, and a vegan option as a base, and crushes up and blends in a variety of toppings—a creative delicacy that is as fun to watch being made as it is to eat.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal