ABOVE PHOTO: Chef Roberta Pipito and Chef Kenneth McDuffie
By Kharisma McIlwaine
The Roxborough community has been very busy revamping and revitalizing the neighborhood through various forms of art. Toward that end, Roxborough held its annual “Art Is Life” festival on April 21 on Ridge Avenue between Green Lane and Leverington Avenue.
Roxborough transformed its streets into a celebration of art for the event. The day began with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of Roxborough’s “Pocket Park” and continued with a fun-filled series of events. The festival offered something for everyone — vendors selling unique goods, a variety of food options, an appreciation for creativity as a whole and an opportunity for the community to connect. The weather was kind and smiles decorated the faces of the people in attendance.
Philadelphia has always been a place where art is celebrated. The festival further showcased local talent by putting a spotlight on a variety of artists. Jewelry artists displayed their work , visual artists painted live and musical artists performed live. here was also a celebration of the culinary arts. The festival featured a cooking competition called “So You Think You Can Cook?” During the competition, contestants were given local ingredients, a few odd mystery items, and 20 minutes to spontaneously create a meal. Celebrity Chefs Kenneth McDuffie and Roberta Pipito served as judges for both rounds of the competition. James Calamia, executive director of the Roxborough Development Corporation shared his thoughts and goals for this year’s festival.
“Art is a part of everyday life,” Calamia said. “It transcends people’s lives every single day. The art festival really appreciates the myriad of ways that art enters your life. We focused on connecting artists with the community, allowing them to do live demonstrations, performances, and interact with folks coming out to the event. We wanted to really have them experience what art means to them and to share that and their own interpretation of the arts.” The Art Is Life festival was able to do a few things with ease … support artists and connect the community.
“I love the diversity that has become the Roxborough festival,” said Antoine Johnson, the event’s publicist. “It’s great to see all the community come together… it makes me smile. The sun is shining on this beautiful neighborhood.”
Art Is Life was successful in showing how much of an integral part art plays in our daily existence. Whether it’s the designs we are drawn to wear, the kinds of jewelry we adorn ourselves with, the art that decorates the walls of our homes, or the meals we prepare… art is life!
To find out more about the Art Is Life festival, the artists that participated, and how you can participate next year, visit https://roxboroughpa.com/events/art-is-life. Follow @roxboroughpa for more recap photos and be sure to use the hashtag #artisliferox.