Business / Makerspaces

Philadelphia Sculpture Gym is closing

“We did damn well for a scrappy bunch of artists,” wrote founder Darla Jackson.

Darla Jackson, Sculpture Gym founder, and her daughter. (Courtesy photo)

The Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, a makerspace in Fishtown that opened in March 2012, will shut down this May, founder Darla Jackson announced Wednesday.
The Gym’s building, which Jackson transformed from a “shithole” into a studio for sculptors and other types of artists, has been sold.
“I fought for it and looked into relocating, but in the end, the reality of moving into a newer, more expensive space or starting from scratch in another old warehouse was not feasible,” Jackson wrote.
Dozens of supporters posted their condolences on Facebook. “This just broke my heart,” Adesola Ogunleye wrote. “You are such an inspiration.”

Commenters offered their sympathies on Facebook.

Commenters offered their sympathies on Facebook. (Screenshot)

One commenter described the Sculpture Gym’s closing as “ironic,” and we would have to agree.
After Jackson put in the time and money, raised through grants and Kickstarter, to renovate the dilapidated space on Frankford Avenue, the building got sold. The Department of Making + Doing, the former University City makerspace, didn’t close for the same reason — it was more complicated than that — but these closings do strike a similar tone. Where will the artists and makers go? How does a community sustain a place like the Sculpture Gym? What happens if it can’t?
Jackson said that most of all, she’ll remember the community that helped her get the Sculpture Gym off the ground: “I love you all for supporting this space and being a part of it in whichever way you have been able.”

Companies: Philadelphia Sculpture Gym
People: Darla Jackson

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