Portside is honored to welcome comic artist Jeffro Kilpatrick to Cherry Street Pier as our November Artist in Residence! Jeffro is a Fishtown dude through and through, born and raised, and his illustrative work is reflective of his Philadelphia upbringing, and of his life experiences. Jeff creates artwork about the things that are important to him, and has touched on themes such as love, loss, music, and the city that he calls home. The autobiographical nature of his work is what makes it special, and viewers of his work are able to obtain an accurate sense of Jeffro’s vibrant personality.
One thing he is passionate about is of course his lovely wife, Joannie, of whom he has an adorable and expansive collection of artwork dedicated to. “Instead of sending her flowers and stuff, I would send her mail art when we first started dating.” Another passion evident in his work is music. A favorite musician of Jeffro’s, Tom Waits, even became his pen pal at one point after Jeffro sent him some fan art. Waits showed his appreciation with a jar of tomato sauce that he sent to Jeffro for Christmas!
Jeffro is a staple in not just the Portside community where he’s been volunteering and teaching art off and on since 2008, but also in the Fishtown/Kensington neighborhood. Anyone who is familiar with Fishtown has seen his remarkable mural at Frankford & Dauphin Streets. The mural depicts images of local artists, craftsmen, and community members from Fishtown and Kensington’s past and present. Who better to create such a mural than Fishtown’s very own Jeffro?!
In addition to volunteering and teaching at Portside Arts Center, Jeffro has also taught for many years at UArts and Memphis Street Academy in Philadelphia. He co-founded the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society in 1997 and is a longtime member of the Meathaus Comics Collective. In 2015, Jeffro won a SEED grant (Supporting Entrepreneurship in Education), an annual event presented by PhillyCORE Leaders for his Philly Artrepreneurs program.
Join us this Saturday, November 14th for Jeffro’s Second Saturday Show in Studio #12 at Cherry Street Pier. The exhibition will feature original drawings, prints, and comic books of Jeffro's, and will be up throughout the month of November. A percentage of all art sales will benefit the scholarship fund at the Portside Arts Center. Check out his work for sale in Portside’s Online Art Gallery.
The much anticipated Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, Friday, October 30th at Cherry Street Pier, is more than just an exhibition for featured artist and Mexican immigrant Cesar Viveros; it is an homage to Mexican immigrants who have made a home in the United States of America.
“I do it for my people,” Viveros brims with excitement. This month-long multi-media project is dedicated to the most important holiday of the year for Mexican people. “I want to bring immigrants [to the celebration] to have them see that we are a part of this country.”
Viveros, the Philadelphia based mural artist from Veracruz, Mexico, is the October Artist in Residence for the Portside Arts Center’s studio space & gallery at Cherry Street Pier. Rather than devoting this month to promoting his own work and “selling [him]self,” he has opted to share his experience with the community and encourage all to collaborate in painting a mural dedicated to the Día de los Muertos. The mural will be part of an installation including a monumental sculpture and traditional Day of the Dead altar made by Viveros. The unveiling is scheduled for the October 30th celebration at Cherry Street Pier, located on the Delaware River Waterfront.
Authenticity is important to Viveros, and he is preparing a traditional Mexican celebration that will amaze and appeal to a variety of audiences including those interested in learning about Mexican culture, as well as Mexican immigrants wishing to reconnect with their cultural origins. The event at Cherry Street Pier will awaken the senses and will be evocative of an authentic Mexican Dia de los Muertos celebration. Viewers partaking in the event can expect a lively performance by Aztec dance group, Kalpulli Kamaxtle Xiuhcoatl, experience the unveiling of Cesar’s larger than life sculpture & art installation, a visit from local artist Rita Ruiz dressed as “La Catrina” (a character representative of Día de los Muertos), indulge in some traditional Mexican treats, and take in a speech from the Mexican Consulate of Philadelphia.
Be at Cherry Street Pier, October 30th at 7:30pm, for a Día de los Muertos celebration you won’t soon forget. For the entire month of October, visit artist Cesar Viveros in Studio #12 at Cherry Street Pier to see him at work! You won’t want to miss this incredible cultural experience. Bring your family and friends.
Our big plans for programming at Cherry Street Pier on Columbus Blvd. may have been delayed nearly half a year, but finally they are coming to fruition, and it feels pretty sweet! This weekend kicks off the beginning of a series of kids, teen, and adult classes as well as other programs to take place at the public art space on the beautiful Delaware River Waterfront.
Portside is one of thirteen artists and non-profits who occupy a studio space in the expansive building full of converted cargo containers. We have been granted access to the beautiful and spacious mezzanine next to Portside’s Studio #12 on the second floor to hold selected classes.
Due to the Covid-19 precautions, with the exception of our Creative Classroom, many of the classes we’ve held at Portside Arts Center on Lehigh Avenue in the past will now be operating from the Pier including Family Art Night, Saturday Youth Art Class, Teen Artist Workshop, and our Upholstery classes. Cherry Street Pier requires all who enter to wear masks unless eating or drinking.
Creatives young and old have found a home in Portside where they were able to experiment with different art forms and expand their creativity. Amidst the pandemic, many Portside students of all ages have missed the privilege of having access to art materials and tools, and equally important, the exposure to friends and other artists. It’s come as a relief and a blessing to many that we will continue to provide these classes, but at a different location.
In addition to our classes to be held at Cherry Street Pier, we will also be celebrating the work of our September Resident Artist Veronica Ponce de Leon, a multi-media artist from Culiacán in Sinaloa, Mexico. The closing reception of her exhibition will be taking place on Friday, October 2nd from 2-9pm. Come view her vibrant and unique paper mache pieces, paintings, and other works of Mexican folk art.
On Sunday, come visit Portside at Cherry Street Pier’s Artist Market! Every Sunday, Cherry Street Pier will be showcasing their Resident Artists and the artwork of various local Philadelphia artists and artisans. This includes jewelry, fine art, clothing and more. Portside Arts Center will be present on the first Sunday of every month, displaying the artwork of Portside's community artists and Artists in Residence. Visit us this Sunday and check out some of the beautiful work of Portside's teachers and friends!