Local Arts Organization Proposes “Floating Gallery” Complete With Café

In addition to galleries and a cafe, the group behind the project, Philadelphia Contemporary, envisions a two-story structure that can also house performance spaces, a working studio, classroom, and on-site offices.
Local Arts Organization Proposes “Floating Gallery” Complete With Café 2
Rendering: Official

Philadelphia Contemporary, a “nomadic” arts organization that seeks to “connect the people and places of Philadelphia through art and partnership,” recently announced its proposal to construct a two-story “floating gallery” at the docks near Cherry and Race streets, complete with a café, performance space, working studio, classroom, and on-site offices.

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Given the sheer breadth of the project and the level of funding that needs to be reached, it’s expected the project won’t open for another two and a half years, at least. 

Nevertheless, during a phone call with What Now Philadelphia, founding director of Philadelphia Contemporary Harry Philbrick explained, “We’re envisioning a very simple café space on the deck level, out towards the river. And as a partnership-based organization, we would conceptually like to partner with local chefs in Philadelphia, perhaps local organizations. We don’t know exactly what that would look like at this point, but that’s conceptually what we would envision.”

Philbrick adds, “In terms of what we would actually have for food, I think it’s probably coffee, pastries, and then maybe a few sandwiches during the day, and hopefully wine and beer in the evening. But a very, very simple operation.” 

Although plans and designs for the gallery have already been drawn up by local architecture firm Atkin Olshin Schade Architects – and has even received an award from the American Institute of Architects, Pennsylvania COTE Citation for environmental design excellence – fully realizing the project is still some years away.

According to Philly Voice, the architecture firm said “there are about eight months left of design work before plans can be approved for permits,” followed by roughly 18 months of construction – all of which is contingent upon Philbrick raising the necessary funds to make it happen. 

Rendering: Official

Drew Pittock

Drew Pittock is the Managing Editor of What Now Media Group, as well as a staff reporter covering various markets across What Now's portfolio. He’s an avid record collector, amateur chef, compulsive estate sale shopper, and “Antiques Roadshow” binger. Originally from Los Angeles, Drew now lives in El Paso, TX with his wife and their cat.
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