In 2009, Hidden City Philadelphia launched a 5-week site-specific arts festival that activated 9 buildings in neighborhoods around Philadelphia. Now with the help of a Knight Arts Grant, Hidden City Philadelphia is currently planning for its 2013 Hidden City Philadelphia Festival to begin May 2013. Twenty prospective sites have been selected from communities around Philadelphia, and Hidden City has put out a Call For Proposals for artists and other creatives to propose innovative socially-engaged projects that delve into each space, its history and possibilities for creative activation.
Some of the sites are places that have long been closed to the public, while others have existing communities but would like to expand their audience or envision new possibilities for use. The roster of possible sites are incredibly broad, from the currently-empty 200-year old Lazaretto Quarantine Station just South of South Philadelphia to the Uptown Theater, a historic African-American concert hall currently in the process of renovation on North Broad Street. Other sites include the Holmesburg Prison and City Branch of the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroad, a ¼ mile stretch of land that runs from the Art Museum neighborhood to Chinatown North.
Some prospective sites include museums and collections, like the Wagner Institute near Temple University, a natural history museum and foundation; the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, which houses early American historic artifacts and publications; as well as the Ryerss Museum and Library in Burlhome, an 1859 building that houses a collection of Victoriana and an active neighborhood library.
For each location, the festival will feature creative projects that explore the history of the site, its past and imagined future, where artists will collaborate with the site as well as its community stakeholders. Proposals can come from any discipline, including visual arts, performance and design, and may have multiple disciplines that come together into one large project. Projects may take the form of pop-up shops, archival investigations, temporary interventions, large-scale installations, powerful performances and many other forms.
The Call For Proposals is currently active and proposals are due by July 1, 2012. Hidden City Philadelphia is interested in receiving ideas from a mix of local, national and international participants, from artists, collectives, designers, performers, businesses, architects, organizations and any other interested groups. A full Call with dossiers of all prospective sites and an online application can be found at http://hiddencityphila.org/2013festival/.