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Art Meets Environment at the Globe

It is no accident that the TTF (Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Creek watershed)  settled in Frankford among a collection of artists, they show their artistic passion for the environment which enriches us all.  This weekend as part of the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours they will open their doors along with some of the others at the Globe Dye Works to the public.

We are one of the co-sponsors of the event and will be on hand to photograph, video and talk with anyone who happens by.  See the details below.



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Art Workshops at the Globe

The Dumpster Divers, whose work is currently on display at the Destination Frankford Gallery, are hosting three Art Workshops for the Frankford Community.

All workshops will take place at the office of the Tookany/Tacony – Frankford Watershed Partnership at the Globe Dye Works, 4500 Worth Street , 3rd floor.

TO REGISTER FOR ANY OF THE WORKSHOPS, contact Leslie Kaufman at Registrations will be accepted until two days before the designated workshop. There are a limited number of slots, so register early to make sure you get a seat!


Saturday, May 17, 10:00 am – noon

Learn to create your own collages from photos, magazine images, different kinds of paper and all sorts of printed materials. Adults will benefit by learning a brief history of collage and copyright considerations of digital compositing. Everyone will learn how to cut, tear, and arrange images to make strong compositions using different kinds of glues and adhesives. Come with photos and magazines and leave with your own artwork!

Workshop Leader: Dan Enright

Tools and materials provided by instructor: glue, some exacto knives & cutting boards (for adults), magazines, found paper, printouts

Open to: All ages, maximum of 12 participants

Participants should bring:  scissors, papers, magazines, photos, other printed materials


Saturday, May 24, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Experience the fun of turning ordinary trash into treasure. In this workshop participants will learn new ways of seeing and creating art using discarded materials from everyday use. Things normally thrown away or ignored take on new meanings as they become elements of artistic compositions. You don’t have to have any art background to create this fun and rewarding project. Parents are encouraged to come with their children and work together. There will be a refreshments break midway through the workshop.

Workshop Leader: Joel Spivak

Tools and materials provided by instructor: 2′ square sheets of cardboard and glue

Open to: Children and parents (one parent per child) maximum of 10 participants

Participants should bring:  scissors, “junk drawer stuff”, ie: string, bottle caps, buttons, clean items from your trash. All items should be easy to glue onto cardboard.


Saturday, June 14, 12:30 – 2:30 pm

Participants will be provided with tools and salvaged materials, primarily obsolete laptop computers and will be instructed as to how to use the tools to take apart the laptops in order to repurpose them.  Each participant will be given an old wooden cigar box that will be decorated with the computer parts.  After  the boxes are “trash-blinged” they can hold materials from recycling for uses the new artist sees fit in the future.  A primary goal in these events is to give people a lifetime of permission to play with trash and recycling.  Ideas for creative reuse of the boxes will be suggested during the workshop.

Workshop Leader: Neil Benson

Tools and materials provided by instructor: screwdrivers, hot glue guns, other miscellaneous tools, cigar boxes, computer parts

Open to: Ages 6 – 80; families preferred so adults can assist children, maximum of 12 children or 20 adults, or combination

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Focus on Frankford: Developer Charlie Abdo

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Charlie Abdo’s first experience with Frankford started when he bought the Seale Tite building on Tackawana Street in 2004. Since then, the developer has moved on to re-purpose the Globe Dye Works at Torresdale and Kinsey Streets and may have found himself on the edge of a new revolution that is sweeping Philadelphia’s former industrial neighborhoods. One that is re-purposing them and helping to shape Philadelphia’s future.

“Live-work as a way of building is just getting started” Abdo says. And he should know. He has 30 years experience in building around Philadelphia. He built in Northern Liberties and Fairmount in the mid-70s. His restaurant fit outs include North Star Bar in Brewerytown. Rarely touching new construction, he has instead spent his time renovating structures. When asked how he’s been able to stick around for so long he said, “It’s really not that hard, you just have to stay ahead of the trends. You can tell where the pressure is going, up to Fairmount back then, now up through Northern Liberties into Kensington.” He’s followed his instincts to Frankford. His advice has been sought by journalists weighing the change occurring in neighborhoods like Frankford, ones which have a character of industry that keeps them chained to the past but once again have an opportunity to be useful.charlie-abdo

The Globe Dye Works was just shutting down it’s operation as a family run yarn dyer in 2005 when Abdo brought his tenant from Fishtown, set designers Erector Sets, up to the Seale Tite factory (Brendan Kilroy, owner of Erector Sets and future partner in the Globe Dye Works has already been profiled on Destination Frankford). “The first few times we went and saw it, it was more of a curiosity” says Abdo. It wasn’t until a few visits in that he and the partners started seriously considering making a go at it. But more, that curiosity required he own it. “I’m not an antique collector, more like a collector of stuff. When we first bought it, it still had all of the machinery, I had this urge to just leave everything as it is.” Abdo was looking for a project, his options, it seemed were another contracting opportunity, or to do something “significant”.  He considers the Globe Dye Works a creative endeavor.

But Abdo is not just a landlord. I’ve been covering the Globe Dye Works from its new beginning and the running theme of collaboration with the tenants is something I’ve heard over and over. As the Globe has seen new life, its very tenants have had a hand in making the window frames, rails, stairs, and fixtures for the complex. But Abdo says the collaborations aren’t his doing, “the tenants feed off each other actually”.

Abdo is excited about the catering space coming soon to the huge three story high boiler room, “I’m getting half a dozen emails a week with people asking if we do weddings. People aren’t getting married in places their mothers would like them to”. Charlie makes a point of talking about future interactions the catering space could have with his tenants.

The Globe is about 60% done, not including the coming catering venue. Abdo is also interested in put up 15 to 20 live/work spaces in the Globe building on the corner of Kinsey Street and Torresdale Avenues. According to Abdo, the notion of live/work as an opportunity for artisans to practice their craft has been gaining traction in the city during the last couple of years. And this is a noted difference compared to artists setting up a work room in their apartment. It’s cheaper to rent than to own your own building but makers want the benefits that come from having a factory, like strengthened floor, electrical, and service elevators. They also need a community.

Abdo says that’s what is being looked at in Philadelphia’s former industrial neighborhoods. And he should know, he sits on the zoning committees for both the Northern Liberties and South Kensington neighborhood organizations. “The city has written ‘live/work’ into the new zoning code, they’re still trying to define it, but it’s there,” Abdo says. On Front Street under the El, Abdo says “that’s where live/work works the best. If you can make noise anywhere, you should be able to make it next to the El.”

In Northern Liberties, and Kensington, they’re always talking live/work. It calls for a special kind of building, a special kind of place. These craftsmen in his buildings make noise. This is a model he’s pioneering with the Globe Dye Works. The Department of Commerce is bringing 15 people to the Globe. Abdo says “they like our model, they think it has potential, they’re coming to see what we have”.

It’s easy to look at the Globe and see a diverse mix of tenants doing their own thing, but behind it is the guiding vision of Abdo. “You can’t ignore the art and artist aspect of the complex. The art has it’s place but I see this as a place for commerce.  Money is made here. Jobs are created here”.  That the Globe has tenants making guacamole, coffee, cupcakes and chocolate is no accident. These small batch makers, wholesalers, people doing retail, there seems to be an attraction to Abdo as a landlord. He’s been fitting out restaurants for the last 30 years. It seems that fascination with the industry informs the search for tenants.

He says he likes to nurture these businesses. “When I go home, I don’t want to talk to anyone, but here, I like to hang out, help the tenants with fit outs, give any business advice”  he has acquired.

Charlie Abdo is one of a few handful of developers tackling the remaking of Philadelphia’s industrial past and we are lucky to have him doing it in Frankford.

by Jim Smiley<@jimRsmiley>, web editor The Frankford Gazette

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Artist Finalists Visit Womrath Park

The five finalists competing for the opportunity to create a sculpture in Womrath Park visited the site for the first time on November 25th.  The weather was ideal but cold as the group, along with city representatives and members of the public, heard some of the history of the park and its present condition.  The sculpture is intended to become the central feature of the park.destination frankford

The group then met at the Globe Dye Works for further discussions.  Final proposals from the five will be presented to the selection committee on January 27th, 2014.  On the same evening, they will give shorter presentations to which the public will be invited. The winning proposal will be unveiled to the public in February.  The contract for the successful artist will be finalized in April and installation is scheduled to be completed by November of next year.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Conveys high artistic quality;
  • Communicates with a wide public audience;
  • Possesses a fresh and innovative approach;
  • Highlights and preserves the uniqueness of the community;
  • Includes an interactive component;
  • Expresses a welcoming spirit;
  • Adheres to specific dimensional and other physical requirements;
  • Pays attention to public safety;
  • Presents resistance to vandalism;
  • Demonstrates durability of materials; and
  • Is environmentally thoughtful.

The finalists are:  Jake Beckman, Pete Beeman, Jim Galucci, Robert Roesch and Christine Rojek.  Click on the names to see samples of their past work.

Funding for this project, the central component of the Destination Frankford initiative, is supported by a grant from ArtPlace America, a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks and federal agencies accelerating creative placemaking across the US

Thanks to Ian Litwin, Project Manager, and the City Planning Commission for making this a reality.


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Globe Dye Works awarded 17K grant to capture and reuse rain water

Globe Dye Works

It was announced yesterday on the Philadelphia Water Department’s Watersheds Blog that the Globe Dye Works has been awarded a grant to capture rain water for reuse in the building.

The Stormwater Management Incentives Program(SMIP) was created by the city to help reduce the volume of stormwater runoff entering into the city’s sewer systems while also

The text of the grant proposal:

Globe Dye Works proposes to capture rainwater in an existing tank and reuse for processes
within the building. The installation will initially address 10,200 square feet of roof and capture
6387 gallons. The tank has the capacity to hold 40% more than the amount, and future plans
include capturing the water from adjacent roofs. Project benefits include a reduction in runoff
volume to the PWD combined sewer and a reduction in potable water demand for Globe Dye

Since reopening as a mix of light industry and artisan space, the Globe Dye Works, located on Torresdale Ave at Worth St, has been repeatedly cited for it’s leading use of new environmental building techniques.  Additionally, one of it’s newest tenants is the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership.