Nov 12, 2021 - News
Love + Grit beautifies empty storefronts and boosts business owners of color
Artist Nazeer Sabree's work inspired by Yowie. See the art at 1500 Market Street. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.
Artist Nazeer Sabree's work inspired by Yowie. See the art at 1500 Market Street. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia's empty storefronts serve as a reminder of our slow recovery from the pandemic's economic toll.

  • The city is now working to beautify those spaces.

What's happening: Visit Philadelphia's Love + Grit Storefronts Project unveiled 24 artworks, inspired by businesses owned by people of color, across the city this week.

Details: Twelve LGBTQ+ artists of color were each assigned to two businesses affected by the pandemic.

  • They workshopped the art together until they reached the final products, which are being showcased in empty storefronts.

Zoom in: Black and Mobile, an online food delivery service for Black restaurants, was among the Philly businesses to be featured in the art project.

  • Owner David Cabello told Axios his favorite part about the artwork is the representation of diverse backgrounds.
  • "Because when people see Black and Mobile, they think we're just trying to target Black people," he said. "Regardless of where you come from, you can support a Black-owned restaurant."

Illkya Acosta, the artist behind the work, said she chose to feature people of different ethnicities "because we're a diverse city."

  • She added that she made the piece "a little bit fun and cool instead of being serious because everybody eats."

Visit: You can see Acosta's art at 8123 Germantown Avenue.

Illkya Acosta's artwork inspired by Black and Mobile. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.
Illkya Acosta's artwork inspired by Black and Mobile. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

Of note: The project is part of the Shop Black Business Friday initiative that began last year under City Councilmember Cherelle Parker.

  • For the entire month of December, Philadelphians are encouraged to shop at Black businesses every Friday.

What's ahead: All of the artwork will be displayed through the holidays, although individual storefront owners can choose to keep it up permanently if they'd like.

  • Also, there's a sweepstakes to win one a $2,000 prize package of more than 20 gifts curated by business owners of color, some of which are featured in the campaign. You can enter online.
Artist Derick Jones' artwork inspired by Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books. See the art at 636 South Street. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.
Artist Derick Jones' artwork inspired by Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books. See the art at 636 South Street. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia
Artist Kathy Chung's artwork inspired by Vault + Vine. See the art at 6117 Ridge Avenue. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.
Artist Kathy Chung's artwork inspired by Vault + Vine. See the art at 6117 Ridge Avenue. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia
Artist Cindy Lozito's artwork inspired by Queen and Rook Game Cafe. See the art at 7900 Germantown Avenue. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.
Artist Cindy Lozito's artwork inspired by Queen and Rook Game Cafe. See the art at 7900 Germantown Avenue. Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia
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