Enhancing the Effectiveness of a Community Arts Center
The Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial is a prominent and thriving community arts center. Founded in 1898, Fleisher serves over 16,000 people annually through a variety of studio classes, workshops, exhibition programs, and public school outreach. Fleisher’s campus is an eclectic mix of historic buildings within a single urban block, including rowhouses, a former Romanesque Revival church structure, and a former school building. The sanctuary within the former church is the heart of Fleisher; it serves as an exhibition space, concert hall, community space, art and dance studio, and meeting space.
A primary goal for the master plan was to create a distinct campus identity for this assortment of existing buildings. We identified opportunities that recognize Fleisher’s Strategic Plan goals through a series of town hall-style meetings held with local community groups and other stakeholders. We explored ways to accommodate an expanded arts curriculum within the existing facilities and evaluated opportunities for a new building. The master plan envisions a partnership with a local developer whereby Fleisher can address deferred maintenance for the existing buildings and construct a new facility on their nearby surface parking lot. The new facility will accommodate purpose-built flexible studio spaces, exhibition areas, a café, and a rooftop terrace. Streetscape improvements will include new paving, lighting, outdoor furniture, and plantings to highlight the reimagined Fleisher campus.
MEP Engineer: Bruce E. Brooks & Associates; Structural Engineer: Keast & Hood; Landscape Architect: Studio|Bryan Hanes; Civil Engineer: Doubleday Design; Development Consultant: Artspace; Community Facilitator: Penn Project for Civic Engagement
The mission of the Fleisher Art Memorial is to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience.