What is your Big Idea for Philadelphia?
Everything but the Space: Filling in the Blank for Philly’s Makers
About a decade ago, a friend and I established a custom woodworking studio called Glueline. We had the skills, the talent, the materials, and the motivation. What we lacked was the space. We searched high and low and came across a good number of vacant spots. Many were owned by the city and all were financially out of our reach. We made some projects we were proud of in a parent’s basement, then we closed after a year and moved on to other things.
The experience opened my eyes to Philly’s vacant space and to its makers in need of a space — two things that should go together but are restricted by the barriers keeping them apart. In the years since, I’ve taken note as other cities such as New York, Detroit, and Reading fill vacant spaces with artists, craftspeople, and small business people. There are a few examples in Philly – but, in my opinion, not enough! What’s next for Philly is to figure out a way to play matchmaker for our growing population of makers and these plentiful spaces, leading to great benefits for the city and maybe even to our renewed reputation as workshop to the world.