Wilmington’s Creative District (that’s the space between Fourth, Ninth, Market and Washington streets) has had some promising new developments: Celebrated Philly makerspace NextFab is coming this year, and a new coworking space for creatives called Artist Ave Station just opened.
In an effort to further unify and transform the district, the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation announced this week initial details about the first phase of the Seventh Street Arts Bridge (7SAB).
The bridge won’t actually resemble anything like the Golden Gate but is instead a collection of public art projects on Seventh Street between Shipley and Madison streets.
“It’s a metaphor for connecting downtown to the West Center City and Quaker Hill neighborhoods,” said Laura Semmelroth, Creative District Wilmington’s strategist and program director.
She said the timeline is still being worked out — and is all dependent on weather — but she expects the four projects in phase one to begin sometime this spring and to be completed by fall.
The art will all be done by local artists. Here are their preliminary plans:
New Wilmington Art Association’s Jen Hintz, Jessi Taylor and Anne Yoncha will create an interactive musical installation along a fence. If funding goes through, it will include a “musical bench” that encourages community interaction on an individual level: Music will only play, Taylor said, when an electronic circuit is completed through contact with another person (like holding hands, a hug or a high-five).
She also said local spoken-word artists, musicians and dancers will be invited to perform at the site, and the look of the installation will depend on how the community comes to paint and decorate with them.
“In effect, this mural is all about potential,” Taylor said in an email. “It is dormant — an event waiting to happen — until residents and passersby bring it to life by playing.”
Andre Reyneard will create a garden area. He’s a self-taught airbrush artist and started his own company, Ablaze Customz, which creates custom-painted clothing. Hinton studied fashion design at the Philadelphia Arts Institute.
“I will expressing my ‘In’tree’guing’ series, which are tree beings, symbolic of life, community, and growth … whereas I can send vibrations to uplift throughout the neighborhood,” he said in an email. He hasn’t figured out specific plans for the garden yet, he said. “I would love to plant trees, or I may just adopt that idea to help detail my portion to the garden as an artist; I feel as though that will really root what I am doing into this opportunity.”
Smashed Label artists and brothers Corei and Crae Washington will be painting a mural. They’ve expressed excitement about the project and for Wilmington Renaissance Corporation’s advocacy of the arts in the city.
“The things they are doing to change the art scene for the better in Wilmington are amazing!” they wrote in an email. “We’re grateful for this opportunity and aim to inspire as much as we’ve been.”
The two founded Smashed Label in 2011 and have used graphic design, paint and screen-printing in various projects. They’re all about promoting individuality, questioning stereotypes and, true to their company name, smashing social labels. Their work will be featured in Friday’s monthly art loop at Artist Ave Station.
Terrance Vann, a Wilmington fine artist and illustrator, will also be creating a mural. He studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York and at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Like Smashed Label, Vann’s work will be on display for the art loop, at LaFate Gallery.
He, too, voiced enthusiasm for uplifting downtown. “It will be a humbling experience to go put together such a huge project, and I think that the timing is perfect for this to happen in Wilmington,” he said in an email. “It will be interesting to see the Creative District continue to develop and there are also some other amazing artists on board so the artist energy is definitely flowing!”