A safe space

Open Space offering classes, place of inclusivity on Richmond Street.

Open Space hosted its first workshop, a succulent pop-up shop, in June. PHOTO COURTESY OF MELISSA MICHALCZYK

If you’re looking to get a breath of fresh air and a place of inclusivity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and recent protests, look no further than Open Space.

Melissa Michalczyk, owner of State Street Events, the events coordination agency behind Pierogi Fest at Campbell Square, moved into 3010 Richmond St. in March.

Michalczyk was ready to roll out pop-up classes and programming for the community, but restrictions by local and state government put a halt on her opening the two-story, approximately 1000-square-foot space to the public.

“It’s a space for everyone. It’s a space for diversity. It’s a space to come to and feel like you belong,” she said. “We have all ethnicities there and we wanted to make sure that is pronounced. It’s for kids, for adults, for seniors. We really are open to supporting whatever need the community needs there.”

The name not only points to the welcoming aspect to all individuals, but it denotes the possibilities of what people can expect.

“It’s just a blank canvas to create anything you want in there,” said Michalczyk, referring to the physical location and entity.

Currently, yoga and Tae Kwon Do classes and Reiki and reflexology sessions are being offered.

With Philly in the midst of transitioning from the yellow to green phase, Michalczyk is following safety guidelines and precautions for health and wellness businesses.

“You can’t just walk in. We spread everybody out, we take temperatures at the door, we do question screenings before someone books [a class], and it’s mandatory that people wear masks,” she said.

While the pandemic has changed how Open Space currently operates, it was the motivation behind its creation.

“It gave me a lot of time to think about wanting to continue my events and I don’t want my business to die, so what can I do to plan for the future that might be the new normal for this year, anyway?” Michalczyk said. “I saw this space go up for rent, and I went [here] and it had this great vibe and I immediately wanted to stay.”

Open Space hosted its first pop-up shop, a succulent workshop on Friday, June 12, and plans to host a vision board workshop.

“The Vintage Hand” vintage thrift pop-up will be held on Sunday, Aug. 2, from 9 a.m. to noon, with tentative plans to hold the pop-up every Sunday until September.

“We’re going to treat it as if it’s a storefront and limit people coming in. People will need to wear masks. We’re going to be very cautious,” Michalczyk said.

Michalczyk also hopes to bring back Second Saturdays along Richmond Street, an initiative featuring small, monthly festivals along the Richmond Street corridor a few years ago sponsored by local businesses including the now-shuttered Sweets and Treats.

“With everything that’s going on with the movement and the coronavirus, I just think it’s important to create a space at this moment that is open to everyone and that everyone has a safe place they can go to and not feel judged,” Michalczyk said. “I want to create a safe haven for people in the community. We want to create a space for everyone. It’s all about community.”

 

For more details about Open Space, visit the State Street Events LLC or Open Space Facebook pages.