Behind a rowhome on Catharine Street, in South Philadelphia’s Bella Vista neighborhood, is a haven for young artists. What was formerly a backyard used for trash storage and HVAC equipment is now a pocket garden for children.
The garden opened in 2007 as part of the Fleisher Art Memorial, the country’s oldest free art school for children and adults. The space, designed with help from the Collaborative, serves as a gathering place for children’s workshops and end-of-term celebrations.
The wall separating the backyard from the neighboring Palumbo Park was replaced with a custom-crafted, wrought iron gate. “It was really important to us to match the finished project with our organization’s mission and values, so to be able to provide access to that space for everyone,” says Matt Braun, Fleisher’s executive director, “whether inside of Fleisher or coming from the park side, was really important.”