Hawk-eyed visitors to the Race Street Pier might have noticed action this week at the High Pressure Fire Service building across Columbus Boulevard. The truly curious have been able to snoop inside the 110-year old former pump house for the past two weeks while taking in Zon Mai, a visual art installation that’s part of this year’s Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. The installation is a preview of the former pump house’s next act as Live Arts/Philly Fringe’s future home.
As PlanPhilly previously reported this summer, Live Arts/Philly Fringe signed an agreement with the City to purchase the former High Pressure Fire Service building for $750,000, with the intention of turning it into a multi-purpose arts center. This is a bold move for Live Arts/Philly Fringe, but its also really exciting for those of us who dream about the Central Delaware's successful redevelopment.
If the new arts center becomes the lively place Stuccio dreams it will be, that energy will help draw more people to the waterfront, in particular the Race Street Pier. Likewise, if more people start using the Race Street Pier, the arts center– in particular the gastro-pub – is bound to benefit.
Stuccio is excited for Live Arts/Philly Fringe to stake its claim on the Delaware River. He feels like they’re “frontiering” on the waterfront, in a good way. “I feel like we’re in on the ground floor,” he said. And as Live Arts/Philly Fringe creates its future in the shadow of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, they'll help anchor a piece of the waterfront as envisioned in the Master Plan for the Central Delaware.
If you want to get inside the pump house, you have until tomorrow to check out the free Live Arts show, Zon Mai, a visual art installation of videos of performing artists projected on a house-shaped white structure within the pump house.