Last night, I was lucky enough to attend FEASTIVAL, a benefit for the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe. The party was at the Pier 9 warehouse, next to the Race Street Pier and just across from the Live Arts Festival's new permanent HQ. One of the coolest aspects of FEASTIVAL, aside from the amazing food of course, was a performance outside the venue by the Australian company Strange Fruit. Strange Fruit was a sight to see. Note these floating ladies below.
Beyond the obvious coolness, as a Philadelphian interested in arts and culture and neighborhoods, it was a great feeling to be at an arts-focused event on the Delaware Waterfront. The scene on Columbus Blvd last night as FEASTIVAL overflowed onto the sidewalk and guests conversed by the waterfront as performers hit the streets is a good sign for the future of Philadelphia's waterfront revitalization efforts. A new hub of activity is being established in this little pocket just by the Ben Franklin Bridge with the Race Street Connector now aglow, the Race Street Pier, and now the Live Arts building and the Pier 9 space.
The potential for a waterfront arts district as part of the city's redevelopment project is being recognized by more than just locals. It was just announced that the Live Arts Festival's arts center is one of two Philadelphia projects to receive funding by ArtPlace, a powerhouse creative placemaking project. This is an iniative I can stand behind:
ArtPlace believes that art, culture and creativity expressed powerfully through place can create vibrant communities, thus increasing the desire and the economic opportunity for people to thrive in place. It is all about the local.
There are just a few days left and plenty of shows to see in the 15th annual Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, which closes on September 17. I'm planning to catch Play, Traces, Dancing Dead and a few others! Scope out the schedule: www.livearts-fringe.org