Mar. 1, 2016 10:38 am

How a hyperlocal arts festival in South Philly hopes to mend a neighborhood

The Hello Arts Festival is a year in the making.

A Point Breeze block circa 2008.

(Photo by Flickr user pwbaker, used under a Creative Commons license)

Last year, theater artist and educator Lee Ann Etzold began a neighborhood arts project she called PointBold.

Its mission is right there in the name: As gentrification tears into community relations within the South Philly neighborhood(s) of Point Breeze/Newbold, Etzold believed folks needed a productive space to voice their opinions outside of civic association and zoning meetings.

In April of 2015, Etzold said she was hoping to partner with Diversified Community Services to provide a physical space where neighbors could gather around local art and food to have productive conversations in a comfortable environment.

Now, it’s all coming together. The Hello Arts Festival will be doing exactly that — bringing local neighborhood artists and their community together to “promote a positive artistic celebration of the neighborhood” on May 21 at the Dixon House.

But first, they need artists.

“We’re looking for artists who express themselves in different ways: music, spoken-word, dance, visual art, culinary art, gardening, the list goes on,” Etzold said. Those artists will be given free rehearsal space, a small stipend and production support to create art with and inspired by their neighbors. “I’m hoping the Hello Arts Festival will be a new place for conversations and for meeting neighbors.”

There will be a series of workshops this month. Learn more on PointBold’s Facebook page.


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