Open Shop: Co-working "gyms" provide tools and space for beginners and experts alike

story by Liz Pacheco | photo byChristopher LeamanTo describe the warehouse for the future Philadelphia Sculpture Gym as rough would be an understatement. As of March, the 7,500-square-foot, brick-walled space was dark and dingy. There was a long, beat-up wooden table left from the previous owners, and piles of cleared wood and metal were gathered on the concrete floor.

But Darla Jackson and Justin Grant, founders of the Sculpture Gym, weren’t discouraged by the space; they were inspired. They gleefully give a tour of the warehouse, pointing out the areas designated for woodworking, metalworking, moldmaking and casting, as well as the future locations for the gallery space and members lounge.

“Some of the spaces we looked at, oh my god, needed everything,” says Jackson. “And this space, it needs a lot, but…” she trails off, “…well this has a roof already,” finishes Grant. The married couple signed a lease for the warehouse in October and scheduled their first event, a Charter Member Exhibition Opening, for May 19. In the meantime, they’re hard at work, transforming the space into a haven for sculpture professionals, amateurs and everyone in between.

Read More