Fresh off taking third place in the Interiorscape Class Competition at the 2020 Philadelphia Flower Show, Portside Arts Center in Port Richmond was ready to show off its new hardware.
And, the nonprofit organization had recently been chosen to participate in Cherry Street Pier’s artist-in-residence program, The Studios, featuring spaces created from repurposed shipping containers.
But, then novel coronavirus swept through the city, and with it, brought a halt to most nonessential business and activities.
Including in-person art exhibits and classes.
“Actually, we moved our entire room display from the Philadelphia Flower Show right into Gallery #12 on March 8 to display, but we were called the following week and asked to take out any living things from the space due to the closure of the pier for COVID-19,” said Kim Creighton, director at Portside. “It was actually bittersweet. We were so excited and honored to have been chosen to have a gallery at Cherry Street Pier, we had our rent paid for one whole year by the very generous donation from Riverwards Group. We moved our exhibit from the Philadelphia Flower Show to the Pier to show off our third-place ribbon, and then the COVID hit the fan and we had to move out all of the flowers so they didn’t die.”
Portside will be in what it’s calling a satellite of its original location, 2531 E. Lehigh Ave., for six months to a year, with the hopes of returning for a second year.
With a 15-foot by 19-foot space with a large mezzanine space directly next to it for classes and shows and access to space on the first floor for workshops and classes, Creighton is eager for the public to experience Portside’s Gallery at Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Columbus Blvd.
Luckily, the wait is almost over.
“Our first official class will be Upholstery Workshop and classes starting Saturday, Sept. 26,” she said. “We are also hosting our Saturday Children and Teen art classes at CSP in September, and Family Art Night, my favorite, will start in September.”
Portside’s Gallery at Cherry Street Pier will also feature a free micro-residency, with a new artist and his or her work featured in the space each month.
The artwork will be featured during the First Friday exhibitions, and the artist will give a talk to the public during their residency.
Portside teacher Chris Windle was the artist in residence for July and August.
Multimedia artist Veronica Ponce de Leon of Mexico will be September’s artist in residence.
Portside is currently seeking another sponsor for programming at Cherry Street Pier, but is overall weathering the pandemic storm smoothly, in the form of a Payroll Protection Program grant from Port Richmond Savings and a Penn Treaty Special Services District scholarship grant.
And, the always-appreciated backing of the neighborhoods.
“The CSP staff were wonderful with updates and even wrote a grant for $5,000 and split it up and gave it to the artists for their first month’s rent,” Creighton said. “We feel so fortunate to have the support from our families and community.”
For more details about Portside’s Gallery at Cherry Street Pier and programming at Portside’s main location in Port Richmond, visit www.portsideartscenter.org.