First Phoenixville Art Street Festival celebrates local art scene

Community members peruse handmade wares at the Phoenixville Art Street Festival June 4.
Community members peruse handmade wares at the Phoenixville Art Street Festival June 4. Virginia Lindak — For Digital First Media
Community members peruse handmade wares at the Phoenixville Art Street Festival June 4.
Community members peruse handmade wares at the Phoenixville Art Street Festival June 4. Virginia Lindak — For Digital First Media

PHOENIXVILLE >> The first Phoenixville Art Street Festival was held on Sunday, June 4, to celebrate the flourishing arts and culture scene in downtown Phoenixville.

Dozens of local artists and vendors set up tents on the 200 block of Bridge Street while live music played and street performers entertained the crowd.

Created by the organizers of Phoenixville’s popular Firebird Festival, this event was a way to recognize local artists within the community. Henrik Stubbe Teglbjaerg, the organizer, noted the idea was to hold a block party encompassing the arts with Phoenixville’s retail stores and restaurants.

“I thought it would be a way to empower our town, to get more energy going. We have a lot of creative stores. By having this, we all put our efforts together,” said Teglbjaerg.

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Jed Wright, another festival organizer, added the Art Street Festival was a good bookend event for the weekend that began with monthly favorite First Friday and then Pride Fest in Reeves Park on Saturday.

“With all the growth in Phoenixville, it’s a great addition. We should try to tie into the Chester County Art Tour. We aren’t officially connected to that but maybe next year,” Wright said.

As members of the public perused interesting artwork and handmade crafts, several bands took to the stage set up on Bridge Street and played live music. There were also many street performers including jugglers, belly dancers and hula-hoopers. Additionally, interactive art booths were set up for children to paint and do hands-on art-related activities.

Local art designer Adrienne Imburgia, who owns the Design Grove on Church Street, was among the many art vendors of the day. Imburgia displayed several pieces of re-purposed wood furniture and wooden boxes that she had carefully hand painted and given a new life. She noted the recent re-opening of the Phoenixville Art Center was thanks to local nonprofit organization Camphill Soltane.

“All this creativity brings people together and creates excitement in the community. We are happy to see the Phoenixville Art Center is coming back. That was a big loss. It’s now taken over by Soltane, so they are going to keep it going,” Imburgia said.

Another Phoenixville-based artist, Lynn Miller, had a booth set up with unique hand-painted drums. Miller, who was among the original creators of the Firebird Festival, created the mosaic mural of a phoenix on Phoenixville’s north side. Miller said the Art Street Festival will help to keep the town vital.

“I didn’t know any artists when I moved to Phoenixville in 1993. For 10 years, I never met an artist in this town. I had this vision to do the mural of the phoenix, so I put signs up all around town, and 11 ceramists answered the call. I met artists and we used to envision for the town, ‘How can we turn this town around?’ One of the visions ended up being the Firebird Festival. The original idea of our vision was this would become an arts an entertainment place. We want to keep that vision of the arts because it works well,” Miller remarked.