On February 25th, the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe marked the beginning of a new era: The 17-year-old contemporary arts organization officially changed its name to FringeArts and broke ground on a versatile permanent home along Philadelphia’s burgeoning waterfront at 140 N. Columbus Boulevard. The new name and permanent headquarters reflects the organization’s mission to bring the world’s newest and most cutting-edge cultural experiences to the City of Brotherly Love.
FringeArts will be permanently located across the street from the Race Street Pier at the corner of Race Street and Columbus Boulevard. FringeArts is moving into a 1903 City-owned historic former water pumping station, the High Pressure Fire Service (HPFS) building. The HPFS building served as a water pump station for Center City’s fire hydrants since 1903, but was decommissioned in 2005 after falling into disrepair. PIDC, on behalf of the City, sold the public asset to FringeArts to help further the development of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware and to aid in the process of bringing exciting cultural programming that pushes the boundaries of art and creates vibrancy and year round activities in the area. The building will be transformed into a year-round center for contemporary performing and visual arts; the 10,000-square-foot building will feature a 240-seat theater, rehearsal and creation studio, permanent festival hub, outdoor events plaza, restaurant/bar and administrative offices.
Programming under the new FringeArts banner will expand to include not only the annual 16-day Festival, but also a year-round series of high-quality contemporary dance, theater and music performances both local and international; commissioned public art installations; and a residency program that continues to expand and grow as a state-of-the-art incubator for artists. With four seasons of cutting-edge entertainment to complement the annual 16-day festival, the organization is primed to support more artists, reach more audiences, and make the city an even greater destination for contemporary arts.
The organization plans to open the building to the public in time for the 2013 Festival set for September 6-21st. Total cost of the renovation, headed by Philadelphia architecture firm Wallace Roberts & Todd, is $7 million. PIDC is also assisting FringeArts with the administration of the $1 Million grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program towards the construction of the facility.
For more information on FringeArts, please visit www.livearts-fringe.org.
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