Two vacant storefronts in Downtown Reading have been converted into public art display windows for local artists.
The pop-up window art displays are intended to complement the city’s Keystone Community/Main Street designation and are a collaboration of Reading’s Louis Long Gallery at the Gallery Above Penn Square, ReDesign Reading and Destination Realty LLC.
“This type of initiative is exactly what we want in our downtown,” said Charles Broad, director of Reading’s Downtown Improvement District. “What started out as a brainstorm in our Main Street Promotions Committee has taken off and injects some new energy in the downtown.”
The first two pop-up window art displays are at 108 S. Fifth St. and 50 N. Fourth St. Featured local artists include Angel Perez, a professional freelance artist and art instructor; Juan Carlos Ruiz Jr., a freelance fantasy artist and horror artist; and Rohan Cambridge, who specializes in portraits, 3D animation, graphics and murals. The artists have won various awards and recognition for their work.
“Place-making is a critical component of any downtown economic development strategy,” said Brian Kelley, executive director of ReDesign Reading. “We are excited to support this initiative to turn vacant storefronts into active art spaces that can bring increased attention to the downtown and to local artists.”
The city hopes that showcasing local talent in downtown properties will engage the business and creative communities.
“As a board member of the Main Street Promotions Committee and a long-time supporter of business and the arts in our community, I am thrilled to be involved with this project,” said Sean Moretti, Realtor and broker-owner of Destination Realty. “This initiative allows us to promote exceptionally talented local artists as well as renew interest in downtown Reading as a place to work and play.”
ReDesign Reading, a community development corporation, facilitates economic and community development initiatives that promote community wealth-building in Reading.
The Keystone Communities program, sponsored through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, assists communities in the state with achieving revitalization. Reading was awarded the Keystone Community/Main Street designation in August 2013 to support its downtown revitalization plan and is managed by the city’s Downtown Improvement District.