After months (years, really) of planning, we’re finally only one day away from the opening of the Hidden City Festival—and we couldn’t be more proud of the artists and production teams who have made it happen so quickly and urgently. Starting tomorrow, May 23 (noon sharp!), and running through June 30, we’ll have nine sites open to the public every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
As hopefully you know by now, the Hidden City Festival is both a celebration of buildings and of art: the intersection of the two is what makes this a one-of-a-kind place-making event in America.
At the heart of the Festival are the ten art projects that will animate the nine sites. The best way to experience all this is to purchase an All Festival Pass ($70/$50 for Hidden City members), available HERE. The pass gets you into each site during open hours until June 30, but it also entitles you to attend, for free, additional tours and events. Those events begin this weekend. Here are my picks. Don’t miss out!
Opening Weekend selections
THURSDAY MAY 23
—Visit Globe Dye Works between 1 and 4PM, take a tour, and meet the Dufala Brothers, creators of the Oil & Water installation in the Boiler Room of the Globe Dye Works.
—Meet the members of the Society of Pythagoras any time Thursday noon to 7PM as they lead you on a guided tour of their secret clubhouse and explore their secret rooms and rituals.
FRIDAY MAY 24
—Attend a special reception at Shivtei Yeshuron Ezras Israel in honor of the festival opening. In recognition of his support of the synagogue, Shivtei Yeshuron will recognize and honor Councilman James F. Kenney and feature musical performances by Lana Forrester and Gary Baker. Enjoy schnapps and slivovitz!
SATURDAY MAY 25
—Meet the team of Data Garden and learn about their installation and publicly-playable project A/V Archaeology at the Historical Society of Frankford, 2PM.
—Party with us at our Kickoff Block Party under the Reading Viaduct from 7-11PM. We’ll have street bands, DJs, food trucks, Philadelphia Brewing Company craft beers, and roving musicians, all underneath the railroad trestle and surrounding street. Don’t miss this one! Purchase an entry pass HERE.
SUNDAY MAY 26
—Come to the first of the weekly Sunday Morning Speaker Series at Shivtei Yeshuron at 10AM. Homemade Blackbird Bagels and Counter Culture coffee will be served, and speakers will give a talk on the “Oral History Project: Shivtei Yeshuron in the 1960s and 1970s.”
—Join botanical arts team We The Weeds (Zya Levy and Kaitlin Pomerantz) for a Fort Mifflin exploratory trek starting at 2PM. Learn the basics of botanical taxonomy and plant identification by discovering the names, uses, and histories of the spontaneous urban vegetation (weeds!) growing throughout this abandoned military landscape. The walk will conclude with a Revolutionary War-era botanical cordial. Suitable walking shoes and a sense of adventure required; specimen observation tools (baggies, magnifying glass, etc.) may be useful.
AND THERE ARE MANY MORE EVENTS! Check the calendar for docent tours at John Grass Wood Turning, the City Hall Meeting on an Independent Germantown at Germantown Town Hall, and the chance to knit at the ADMK Knit Lab at Shivtei Yeshuron. All these and more are on the Festival Web Site.
To visit festival sites, participants must purchase a festival pass for a day, a weekend, or for the entire six weeks. Festival passes can be purchased online HERE or on site; Thursdays are free admission days.