PEC News / Events

New Creative Placemaking Initiative, LoLa 38,
Brings Community Programming to Lower Lancaster Avenue
PHILADELPHIA, PA (March 21, 2017) People’s Emergency Center [PEC], Wexford Science + Technology, the University City Science Center and Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation officially announced today their collaborative project LoLa 38. LoLa 38 will bring short-term community programming to the former University City High School [UCHS] and United Bank sites along Lancaster Avenue, a historiccommercial corridor serving a richly diverse series of neighborhoods in West Philadelphia. This project is
supported by funding from the William Penn Foundation.
With these sites as a canvas for creative placemaking, LoLa 38 works in a collaborative process to enliven public spaces and encourage a civic conversation around positioning Lower Lancaster Avenue as a gateway to West Philadelphia’s diverse arts, culture and communities. The project will facilitate conversations around neighborhood change through community-based arts programming, paying particular attention to the cultural and social identities that define these West Philadelphia neighborhoods, and support the corridor’s ongoing growth and preservation.
LoLa 38 had its soft opening this past fall, organizing programs to strengthen the connection between people and the places they share. On Park[ing] Day in September, the group took over a parking spot outside the former United Bank site to grill out and talk with neighbors passing by about what they would like to see at the UB space in the future. This event was followed by the popular Paint ‘n Sip and Mid-Night BBQ, both of which will return later this summer, as well as a children’s Tree Lighting party around Christmas.
LoLa 38 highlights the existing community fabric and geographic assets along Lancaster Avenue, and is part of a sustained effort to bring new people and increased energy to the neighborhoods on and around the project’s central sites. Look out for pop-up programming such as movie nights, weekend games, art installations and classes, and gatherings creatively reflecting rich community narratives. A working group comprised of local
community and stakeholder representatives helps guide the planning process and ensure that programming is inclusive and accessible.
Moving forward, LoLa 38 will engage local artists to perform, guest curate and provide artistic leadership and design elements throughout the project. Drawing from community input, as well as recent neighborhood plans, programming is focused on fun, reflection and community-building at a critical time of growth and change.
This seasonal public life project will run from April - October 2017, and will be primarily located on the former United Bank site and the surface parking lots on the former UCHS site along 38th Street. Drexel, Wexford, and the Science Center are jointly developing the 14-acre former UCHS site, while the former United Bank site, owned by PEC, is undergoing a community planning process for the site’s long-term future use.
Through LoLa 38, PEC, Wexford, the Science Center and the Lindy Institute will help to activate space for the many voices of Mantua, West Powelton, Powelton Village, Saunders Park, Mill Creek, Belmont and University City’s communities to help shape the future of historic Lancaster Avenue.
Contact: Latiaynna Tabb, 215-650-7726


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