Chester artists are revitalizing a stretch of the Avenue of the States, a once-mostly-vacant corridor, on their own terms by carefully choosing investors, writes Oscar Perry Abello for Next City.
The main goal of those involved in the process is to create a locally-owned arts corridor in the city. This follows the vision of civil rights activist and artist William Dandridge, who was known to locals as “the Father of Arts and Culture in the City of Chester” and who passed away four years ago.
Devon Walls, a local artist and Dandridge’s nephew, is at the forefront of these efforts. He has spent the last decade trying to bring his uncle’s vision to life by systematically acquiring ownership interests in a number of properties along the corridor.
He has also been recruiting local entrepreneurs to fill storefronts in the surrounding buildings. The tenants need to reflect the vision of both his uncle and a group of contemporary Chester artists who work together as an informal collective.
Investors accepted for the corridor are very carefully selected.
“When you start putting too much out there and you get too many people in it, the ownership leaves from being local, from the artists,” said Walls.
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