T-Shirt fundraiser for 319 2nd Flr Galleries

fundraising campaign 7 December – 21 December 2020


Automat, Grizzly Grizzly, Marginal Utility, Pink Noise Projects, and Practice, galleries have been meeting weekly during the pandemic to ensure that programming continues on the 2nd floor of 319 in the short and long term future. Please help support these ongoing initiatives and get a cool t-shirt too.

For well over a decade the 319 N. 11th space, also known as 319, the Vox Building, and the Rollins Building, has been a hub for Philadelphia artists. Today members of that community are coming together to raise money for ongoing group projects happening on the 2nd floor and to memorialize this particular moment in the space’s history.


For anyone not familiar with the historic warehouse, picture exposed brick, contemporary art, illegibly scrawled threatening notes from the landlord, and crowds of people littering the halls on Friday night. This space is a lighthouse, folks come here from across the city. What draws people in is not just the cheap beer, whatever new performance is happening at Vox Populi, or installations hidden in the nooks and crannies in Grizzly Grizzly, Automat, Marginal Utility,  Practice, and the newly re-named Pink Noise Projects. That’s a lot of the reason to show up, but it’s the people and the freedom to inhabit the space that sets it apart.


The legacy of 319 could be construed as a miniature history lesson about Philadelphia. The building is not nearly as old as she looks. She was built in 1937 by the Schectman Bros. for a local cigar manufacturing company. To this day there’s still a humidor in the basement. From there the building changed hands, from garment manufacturing to novelty and carnival supplies. The shift from industry to warehousing can be seen across the neighborhood. Large spaces that once housed industrial strongholds became storage and are now luxury condos. To no one’s surprise, before the chic housing and after the industry left,  artists came and carved out space for swapping ideas and showcasing some of the newest work in the city.


Makers discovered the building around 2003 through ads on the street and Philly Weekly. The first documented space, Black Floor Gallery, found cheap rent and what one one member called a  “Strange no man’s land… This was post industrial weirdness.” In 2007 Vox Populi moved in, prompted by the Gilbert Building’s closure and the construction of the Convention Center. By 2009 boundary pushing spaces like Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Marginal Utility opened their doors with more spaces to follow shortly after. Since then the warehouse has been home to countless exhibitions, artist studios, and plenty of things we won’t put in print.


Jump to 2020: who knows what the next few months promise for any of us. As one of the longest residents of the space once told me, “the neighborhood has been changing very rapidly for a long time.” So layer that sentiment with the uncertainty of 2020, and there isn’t any hindsight to tell us where a space like this might go next. To plan for the imminent and distant future, members from each 2nd floor gallery have been meeting weekly to discuss safe and necessary initiatives. This t-shirt is the result of some of those conversations. One thing is certain about this year – we’re stronger when we come together to support one another. If you’d like to take part in the efforts purchase a t-shirt to support local art projects and help cement this Philly moment.