Gravy Studio & Gallery
Last summer, Sean Bolton set up a photo booth at a block party on Cedar Street in Kensington, just a few blocks from Fishtown. Though the area’s working-class old heads and newer yuppies don’t always get along, the sun and brews apparently eased the tension that day. Tough guys, families and young fashionistas all lined up for the booth.
The exhibit, “Cedar Street Block Party,” manages to be both a subtle examination of gentrification and an ode to the easygoing summertime. The most striking photos capture characters who seem emblematic of the neighborhood: Chubby blond kids, a hipster with a Mad Men-era hat, a woman chilling in a Pathmark shopping cart.
“I got this nice mix of people who are representative of what’s happening in the neighborhood,” says Bolton. “But that was not my focus. I kind of just wanted to have some fun, try to get pictures of Kensington people.”
Bolton wants to have a good time at Gravy Studio & Gallery, too. He’ll be setting up a photo booth in the space. He expects it’ll be quite different than the block party.
“It’ll be less of the old-timers, more of the gentrifiers,” he says. “But it’s got more of a motorcycle vibe. Lots of leather jackets. That’ll be fun.”
Through Aug. 31, opening Fri., Aug. 3, 6:30 p.m., 2212 Sepviva St., gravystudio.blogspot.com.
Last year, Little Berlin was in trouble. The beloved, quirky gallery was down to just a few members — and its main source of income is membership dues.
“Some of the old members just wanted to pass the torch,” explains co-curator Kelani Nichole.
After months of holding music shows, recruiting new members and fundraising, Nichole says the gallery is finally back on its feet. So it’s time to celebrate.
“HUNG” is a group show featuring 12 past and present members from Little Berlin, including Alana Bograd, Angela McQuillan and Lee Tusman. The exhibit’s title refers to the fact that all featured pieces, including double-sided paintings and digital projections, will be hanging from the 20-foot ceiling. The title also reflects the gallery’s newfound stability.
“We’ve sort of been in suspension,” says Nichole. “But now we’re really hung. We’re ready to go.”
Through Aug. 18, opening Fri., Aug. 3, 6 p.m., 2430 Coral St., littleberlin.org.
And Then There’s …
At Tiger Strikes Asteroid, seven artists break the mold by installing their china, porcelain and paper pieces with a unique priority in mind. “The disparate works in a contemporary group show are most commonly tied together conceptually while visually arranged to encourage individual viewing,” says curator Nora Salzman in a statement. By contrast, Salzman writes, Asteroid’s new show, “On Loan,” “is designed to bind the conceptually distinct works together visually through the use of display, forcing the works to be viewed collectively.”
Through Aug. 26, opening Fri., Aug. 3, 6 p.m., 319A N. 11th St., 484-469-0319, tigerstrikesasteroid.com.
Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, one of the best galleries in town, is crowding the walls with work from 70 member artists. There’s no theme that ties the pieces together, but perhaps that’s a good thing. “There’s a huge range in terms of people’s engagement, experience and backgrounds all in one show,” says founder Sarah Stolfa. “Seeing that range is what I find exciting.” Don’t miss Jonathan Scott Goldman’s haunting, architecture-based piece and Kelsey Halliday Johnson’s strikingly colorful examination of nature.
Through Aug. 30, opening Thu., Aug. 2, 6 p.m., 1400 N. American St., 215-232-5678, philaphotoarts.org.
If August’s openings inspire you to make your own artwork, head to the Clay Studio. As part of the gallery’s Fire Up First Friday series, you can sip cocktails and learn how to create tiles. A small number of seats will be available first-come, first-served.
Fri., Aug. 3, 8 p.m., 137-139 N. Second St., 215-925-3453, theclaystudio.org.