In-Progress

Tacony LAB Community Arts Center

A hub for learning, creativity, and community engagement.

Our Tacony: Yesterday and Tomorrow by Mariel Capanna. Photo by Steve Weinik.

About the Project 

Created by Mural Arts Philadelphia with the support of Councilman Bobby Henon, the Tacony LAB Community Arts Center brings the neighborhood and the arts together to create a unique hub for learning, creativity, and community engagement in Lower Northeast Philadelphia. The LAB offers art classes for adults and youth, and presents arts-focused events free of charge.

The LAB is a vital part of the burgeoning arts community in the Lower Northeast, partnering with other organizations such as SENE, the Tacony CDC, the Tacony Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, CFEVA’s Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, and the Mayfair BID. The gallery space features rotating exhibits and events, offering opportunities to experience visual and performing arts to everyone.

From 2016–2018, an artist-in-residence program anchored professional artists in the Tacony community by providing them with studio space at the LAB. During their residencies, the artists worked with the community to develop public art in Tacony, and used the studio to create their own artwork.

Tacony Lab. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Adult Programs 

Our multi-part adult classes are a unique opportunity to try many different media and techniques, ranging from sculptural mold making and 3D modeling to traditional arts like drawing and painting. Pre-registration is required for these multi-part classes. No experience is required, and all materials are included.

There are walk-in sessions each week that are open to anyone who would like to pursue personal projects in a supportive environment under the guidance of experienced artists and teachers. A number of adults and senior citizens meet to create personal work at our weekly daytime Community Open Studio. Our weekly evening textile-based open studio session offers the opportunity for anyone to try sewing, weaving, or needlework.

Youth Programs 

Our Kids Club program on Saturdays offers families of toddlers and school age children a chance to experience art and art history while creating projects that express their individuality. New in Summer 2019, we created a four-week half-day summer camp program.  Each week features a different theme and new projects.

Afternoon Artists is a weekly program for afterschool and homeschooled children that happens during the school year. Registration is recommended for Afternoon Artists as the schedule sometimes fluctuates.

2016–2018 Artists-in-Residence 

2018 Fall Resident Artist

Alice Thompson: Thompson converted the studio space into a workshop outfitted with materials and tools necessary for making kites and cut paper artworks. Through classes and public events, Alice asked community members to share their own personal stories and feelings of “home,’ and then collaborated with them to create kites and cut paper installations that reflect upon these narratives.

2018 Summer Resident Artists

Kathryn Pannepacker: During her residency, Pannepacker held textile workshops and created Tacony Shag-Tapestry, on display inside the LAB.

Jackie Neale: Common Ground Tacony is a series of interviews with Philadelphians who have ties to Tacony. Each interview is coupled with full-body portraits made as large fabric cyanotypes. Interviews and images are available on StoryCorps.org, and archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

2017 Fall Resident Artists

Barb Baur: A longtime resident of Mayfair, Baur spent her fall residency developing the LAB’s community-driven art education program, both leading and organizing a diverse array of free classes and workshops. She now serves as the LAB Coordinator.

Rebekah Flake: During her residency, Flake created Legendary Tacony, an exhibition at the LAB that merged historic images, community-sourced photos, and Rebekah’s own work.

Michael Kiley: In the fall of 2017, Kiley led voice workshops at the LAB, exploring themes including neighborhood change, borders, home, vocal representation, and memory. He collected recordings and stories from residents of Tacony as inspiration for Grindstone Devotional, a GPS controlled “soundwalk” of Tacony.

2017 Spring–Summer Resident Artist

Mat Tomezsko: During his residency at the LAB, Tomezsko collaborated with community members of all ages to create distinctive new “light pole” banners for Torresdale Avenue.

2016 Resident Artists

Mariel Capanna: Capanna drew on her training in the ancient art of fresco painting to create Our Tacony, a mural that illustrates the past and present histories of Tacony.

Nick Cassway: During his residency, Cassway created a parklet on Torresdale Avenue. The Frank Shuman Solar Art Parklet is equipped with solar panels and charging stations to pay homage to Frank Shuman, who pioneered solar power in Tacony in the early 20th century.

Project Sponsors 

The Tacony LAB is a partnership between the Office of Councilman Bobby Henon and Mural Arts Philadelphia, with additional support from the Tacony CDC.