A Community of Color

Not many groups of people in the city are more prepared to hear words of doom than this group of artists. It fits their art as much has it fits their psyche’s.

James Heimer

James Heimer

Of all of the art spaces in the city there may not be one as in touch with their own mortality and the possibility of change in the worst way. For this group of artists at Phantom Hand, change came last week essentially in the form of an eviction notice. Sam Heimer explains…

So the run is at an end. A few weeks after getting an extension that merited much celebration, a stroke of bad luck and fate comes through and wipes it all away. Although it seems any news to this group is a reason to celebrate, so the smiles were out and it was a sight to see. Almost all of the artists showing had piled in, in part I’m sure after hearing the

Sam Heimer

Sam Heimer

news. But there was much to celebrate as the past few months for them have been a wild ride. “Phantom Hand was the best thing ever in Philadelphia and no one will ever get to experience a better place. Complete with mental water slides and emotional ball pits, every show they ever had was the best thing I ever saw,” said Jeff Daniels, who was showing some new Jason Voorhees art. “Imagine a brightly lit white walled room with a bunch of the friendliest weirdos in the city all having a drink and chatting about the funny stuff on the walls. The themes of the shows were always great, like the mythology and gods show. I didn’t see any boring still life’s of bowls of fruit at phantom hand. Nope.”

Jeff Daniels

Jeff Daniels.”

Well it would seem the great run is at an end. Although Arts on South is trying to find them a new space so they can finish their extension, head honcho Sam Heimer is skeptical about the amount of work it would take to move the art. But others who are willing to put the work in are not so down. Doom and gloom, aside there was new art on the walls and plenty of people to talk to, ( I recommend Robb Leef if you want to exercise your noodle).

The new show was a spring cleaning show. So everybody brought out a few things and filled the room with their more colorful version of cheer. There was probably a little too much beer to go around but in the end it worked in my favor as I was the lucky guy who got to do the group picture of all these characters, missing a few heavy weights but quite a group nonetheless. And also like just Phantom Hand, its filled with originals. Hopefully everything works out for this cast of characters. Most

Robb Leef

Rob Leef

seem to be finding a way to stay alive through odd commissions and long hours. But one thing is for certain that they certainly would rather be showing their art on South Street. The book is not closed yet but the string of luck may have come up short. Either way its been a crazy few months for the ones who worked there and the contributing artists. It was a true community that hopefully will spawn another chapter. This may be the end but there’s a chance that is just the beginning of something much larger.


The Gang

The Gang

Greg pizzoli

Greg Pizzoli


Street Art Volume III; Industrial Wanderer

Persuaded by the weather that I should probably make the sun my friend, I went in search of art in the city. I wanted to find some large pieces. Particularly large walls with one artists vision on it or jumbled up  graffiti and wheat pastes. I started by passing through Port Richmond and found next to nothing. I found a wheat paste

Columbus Ave

Columbus Ave- by street artist Get Up

and a ridiculous Buddhist temple at 6th and Ritner. I decided to go through the industrial areas and hoped to find some art on some run down buildings or forgotten nooks. I passed the towering SS United States ended around the Naval Yard and swooped through the stadium complex.  I wanted to get some close ups of the murals I have been looking at while standing on the smokers steps on the north-eastern side of Lincoln Financial Field that I have frequented over the years. I also found a Mummers mural and a couple nice wheat pastes. Including the one above by street artist “Get Up” It’s certainly the time to be out and about in the city.

Also I found out the Arts on South project is doing a mural of The Roots. The Philadelphia based band that serves as Jimmy Fallon’s house band.The mural will be at 6th and South.

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Arts on South Project Gives Philly Artists Space to Grow

         The Arts on South project is a program that loans unrented stores to local artists to help show their artwork. They have a myriad of projects , including a writers workshop, a few galleries and a skill share cycling space called The Bikery, with community service projects, bike art and sometimes music. “ Ideally , Arts on South is not about helping a certain type of art, but wanting to help disenfranchised artists. The gallery scene can be hard to get into,” said Amanda Cameron, Arts on South coordinator. The program is a project of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, started by award winning mural artist Isaiah Zagar.

          Art in Philadelphia is exploding on walls and clothes and arms and legs all over the city. Most every place has a group of people who dedicate much of their waking existence to creating works of color and shape. But the difference is if these artists have a place where they go beyond their circles and reach an audience that clamors for it. Like many cities, Philadelphia has a young vibrant collection of artists with full portfolios and time to kill. Depending on their ability to show their work, they will either create in seclusion or be apart of a community that could almost exist alone through sheer will. With Arts on South they don’t have to start from scratch.

           The Arts on South program provides spaces for the best bid on how to use the space. The winning bid gets to put their plan in motion, usually culminating in a new space for local artists to not just show, but sell their art.  Phantom Hand, a gallery on South Street, shows the art, and  because the art there are prints or illustrations, they can be sold at a small price. Not only getting artists exposure, but putting it in people homes. “ The prints are great because they are affordable”, says Phantom Hand artist and gallery hand Anthony Pedro. “Someone can come in and actually leave with something, its surprising who is into it”.

           The program caters to a common sense idea: empty space should be filled with art. “ Non-traditional art spaces are important.” Said Cameron. With many schools cutting art budgets and putting more attention in the classroom elsewhere. Arts on South helps provide opportunities for young students. A non-profit organization staffed by volunteers, educators, writers and film makers, called the Mighty Writers. They help kids in workshops, lessons and writing programs, including one-on-one time with instructors.

        As much as it is difficult time for some, educators and artists are finding time and support for some of their more important projects. “Philly has a very supportive art scene that I didn’t see in Boston or LA,” said Cameron. “Its a young, working class art scene. Cost of living has a lot to do with it. Here people really get to push their art.” Sadly in many major cities there are empty spaces, and there is no lack of people willing to fill it with their ideas of powerful or informative art. Hopefully in the future people can utilize unrented spaces like Arts on South has and will. Because wherever there are people and paint, wall space is always coveted.

Phantom Hand Opening: Artificial Dissemination 2

Last Friday I had the pleasure of going to the Phantom Hand: Artificial Dissemination 2 Opening; Propaganda to Popaganda. And I can truly say that it was a pleasure. Phantom Hand is a Gallery at 604 South Street, Philadelphia, a space provided by the Arts on South program, something I hope to bring you more on in the future. The walls were lined with all different kinds of prints, skateboards, paintings and shirts. A certain type of no-holds-barred art. Artists with a certain type of toe on the precipice flair. A new kind of art made by new kind of people, people that don’t travel to the edge of their art as much as live there. The kind of stuff you don’t find in a museum, but that will be there as we grow old. It not so much predicated on the past as it is a product of the here and now. The frustrations of today, the technologies, the tastes of failure as much as the taste of success. So is the plight of the artist. But one must mark the differences between these artists and the ones 20 years before. The images that flash before these artists eyes are more varied than any before them. Such is the times.


Here’s some art from the over-stimulated minds at Phantom Hand, or Ghost Foot as it’s affectionately called by some of it’s inhabitants.

More after the jump… Pictures courtesy of Phantomhand.blogspot.com <—–Click for more


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