Pop-Up Coffee Shop Brings Together Community

An empty lot in Philadelphia offers free coffee as part of a new art project

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Starting on August 7, Philadelphia residents will be able to find free coffee on the corner of 12th and Mount Vernon Streets, every Wednesday night, until the end of September.

Starting on August 7, Philadelphia residents will be able to find free coffee on the corner of 12th and Mount Vernon Streets, every Wednesday night, until the end of September.

This is part of Kathryn Sclavi’s latest art project. Titled FreeShop CoffeeShop, her venture aims to bring the community together through free coffee. The concept is more about the result than the caffeinated product itself. She wants to create an area where people are free to interact and communicate.  As someone who has focused on community art projects since 2005, Sclavi hopes to turn this empty lot into a “circusy-like canopy with twinkly lights,” open to people from different neighborhoods. 

After receiving a $5,000 grant from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Fund for Art and Civic Engagement, Sclavi was able to begin to push her idea into reality.

Along with coffee, generously provided by Greenstreet Coffee Roasters, there will be a small stage, microphone, and amp, which can be put into use by anyone wishing to share their creativity. Every Wednesday night, there will be a different presentation from varying community groups, with the Asian Arts Initiative kicking off the event.

A temporary project, FreeShop CoffeeShop will end after 7 weeks, sticking with Slavi’s original plan. The space will go back to being an empty lot within the city, perhaps with the pop-up shop allowing the public to see the area in another light.

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