Located at 1026 Arch Street in Chinatown, this ironically titled institution has been essential to the young artists' movement in Philadelphia. Serving as both a workshop and gallery for residents, the attractive, modern building is home to phenomenal creative energy. The in-house posse works in media, ranging from painting and 3-D construction to animation, graphics and digital media.

First organized in 1997, the group has since grown in numbers and prestige. This success is due in part to the members' renegade spirit. Rather than courting grants and other forms of funding, the collective shares the rent and operating expenses. As a financially independent entity, the artists are able to schedule shows without worrying about whether or not they will be profitable.

Often unrefined and unusual, the well-attended monthly exhibits are challenging, provocative and always cutting-edge. More often than not, installations include the work of guest artists, like Shepard Fairey (wrestling's Andre the Giant), Ed Templeton (a professional skateboarder) and Andrew Jeffrey Wright (a favorite hometown DJ).

In fact, it seems that the group often plays the host, as it is known for holding stylishly boisterous dance parties -- with a creative twist, of course. A recent festivity entitled 'The Food Show" invited participants to sculpt food into edible works of art.

It is obvious that the folks at Space 1026 are cool dudes. If you're trendy and bored, look no further. This is your promised land. Go forth, young pilgrims, but don't forget to bring your Homer Simpson sketches.


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