MAAGs “Day In Court”…City Zoning Board Thumbs Up!

We’ve been celebrating all afternoon. With the help of our amazing MAAG team, community organizations, and neighbors working together, we cleared yet another hurdle with our eyes on the prize…a resource center for the arts in the northwest with studio space, gallery, workshops, and a place for artists to dream. Today we received unanimous approval from the City Zoning Board to construct 7 artist studios at our new home at 11 W. Mt. Airy Ave.  And yes, I was delighted to hear one board member say “Good project!”

Celebrating our win!

If you heard rumors about us applauding and yelling “Thank you!” to the Board, smiling till our faces felt like they’d burst,  and the entire room celebrating with us, they’re all true. Laughter, smiles, and celebration, it’s contagious and uplifting.

So, please bear with me for some special thanks.

To our MAAG extended family (everyone who crosses our doors becomes MAAG family):

  • To Bill Ewing who stepped up and offered us his expertise and time. Gotta love that Phillies cap!
  • To Morrie Zimmerman, our architect, who is just as big a dreamer as we are.
  • To the elected city officials, MALT, MACSC, and others who wrote letters of support.
  • To Liz Macoretta and the WMAN board.
  • To our neighbors who assisted and refined and partnered with us.
  • To our Board who pushes forward with an energy that truly astounds.
  • To every dreamer, every doer, every artist, every art lover who works with us in their own unique way, does what’s possible, and shares in our dreams.

So, next steps? You guessed right. We are launching our $100,000 Building Fund.

Consider donating generously to help us start by roughing in the plumbing and electrical fixtures, filling in the existing trenches in the concrete floor,  and making the building safe for occupants by installing a second exit through the rear masonry wall. Look to the Paypal button on this site. And remember, your donations are tax-deductible.

Share in the dreams. Remember, without YOU there is no US.


Funky February Re-cap!

I was privileged to photograph the Mt. Airy Art Garage’s (MAAG) Funky February event this past weekend which was filled with art, music, and inspiration. Held at a pop-up location across from Weavers Way (while MAAG builds out their permanent space at 11 W. Mt Airy Ave.), this event was all about people making connections. There was a can-do attitude embraced with love and acceptance

that could only be Northwest Philadelphia. Friday night’s Artist’s Cafe was jam packed with a diverse group of local artists, business owners, MAAG members, neighbors and people just coming in off the street. This night was all about introductions and meeting contacts from Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill; it was a way for artists to find supply shops to help perfect their craft, galleries in which to hang the finished pieces and, in turn, a way for local business to thrive. I met web designers, photographers, illustrators, painters and gallery owners; I walked away with over a dozen new possible employers, collaborators, teachers and friends.

Workshops and free demonstrations on Saturday gave examples of some new crafts and creative techniques one might find at the Mt. Airy Art Garage. Cofounder Arleen Olshan gave a hands on workshop on how to make a leather belt, board member Donna Globus demonstrated how to bind a handmade book. Dumpster Diva artist Ellen Benson showed kids and adults alike how you can make useful items like luggage tags out of sequin waste and nail polish; Nettie Scott taught us how to make colorful jewelry with polymer clay. Maryanne Helferty gave an inspiring workshop on writing poetry. Once the work was over it was time to party!! With food donated from all over the Northwest, everyone mingled, ate, drank and enjoyed each other’s company while listening to the sounds of Richard Drueding and Rob Sanders and the always entertaining Saint Mad!

I think this was a hugely successful weekend for MAAG and it gave people a preview of what MAAG envisions itself to be.

What was so inspiring to me was how many people were simply there because they truly BELIEVE in the Mt. Airy Art Garage. Mike Zaikowski from Profiles Studio called MAAG “a breath of fresh air” for the Northwest and particularly Mt. Airy, a place that is finally embracing its potential with an explosion of art and creative ideas that have rejuvenated Germantown Avenue.

The Mt. Airy Art Garage will be the hub of the Avenue, a place where artists can meet to collaborate, share ideas, teach their craft and exhibit their work. It will be the place where you can say “Hey, let’s meet down at MAAG to talk about that project we are collaborating on,” or “Let’s go see what the artists are working on in their studios at the Mt .Airy Art Garage.” They want to create a friendly, safe and optimistic place for your creativity to flow uninhibited. Their authenticity is heartening, the energy is infectious, their spirit never falters and this neighborhood is starting to take notice.

Design Charette Dreaming

The Masters Program in Sustainable Design at Philadelphia University recently hosted a design charette for MAAG as we continue our building process.  During this charette , or collaborative workshop, we worked together both in small and large groups to design a sustainable building plan to not only turn MAAG into the thriving arts center we envision, but how to also create a carbon-neutral space.  During the creative and collaborative process we were free to dream up different ways of achieving these goals and our minds sure went wild! From a natural façade to solar panels on the roof to re-using rainwater—the possibilities were endless in the first no budget, no cares at all brainstorming session. After purging our heads of these infinite ideas, it was time to refine our ideas into things that we can actually achieve and afford.  All in all it was an eye-opening, mind-expanding session that started MAAG off on the right foot; connecting with the community to create our space!

Success @ Ned Wolf Park!

On a picture-perfect fall Saturday, MAAG hosted an art sale in Ned Wolf park to benefit the build out of our new space. With donated art of all mediums, from pottery to painting to leather to photographs, our event was a huge success. In the air of geniality and giving, we welcomed new members, emerging artists sold their first pieces and people even danced to our music! Thanks to all of our artists and art lovers, friends and volunteers. Because of you we were able to raise money that will help with repairs at 11 West Mt. Airy Ave! Thanks again to our wonderful community. Remember, without You there is no Us!



Lending Your Hand Would Be Grand!

As we take steps toward our opening and start crossing things off our long to-do list we need YOU now more than ever! Our need for volunteers is growing as are the ways you can help.  Whenever, wherever and however you are interested in helping out there is a place for you!

Volunteer: make some phone calls, hand out leaflets, or just float around helping out where it’s needed

Fundraising: got skills for writing grants? Calling for donations? This is the place for you

Construction: are you a carpenter? Handy-man, cleanup crew or know someone who is? We would love to have you join our team!

Event Coordinator: help us as we get the word out; in person, online, you name it!

We would love to have you on-board and help us achieve our vision.  Please contact and come and be a part of something great in your neighborhood!

Moving In and Moving On!

Here at MAAG we are so excited to have our new space, and we even have things to move in! After all, what good is a home without furniture?  Our wonderful team of members and volunteers helped move in display cases, shelving units and wall displays, all while creating a neighborhood buzz about MAAG. Want to get in on the buzz? Become a member! Volunteer! Visit for more info.



We Have Found A Home!

Mt. Airy Art Garage Finds a Permanent Home

at 9-11 W. Mt Airy Ave.

We couldn’t be more excited! From the moment we saw our new location our imaginations ran wild with its possibilities. Permanent gallery space! Fine Art and Handcraft Markets! Studio rental space! Performances! Workshops! Oh my!



The best part is we can do everything we envisioned under one roof. We have a 5,000 square foot garage in the heart of the Mt. Airy business district with heat, A.C and a beautiful high ceiling, but it’s up to us to build it out. First things first, we need to fix the floor. Once that is done we would like to have community and artist meetings where people can come see the space and share in our vision.  Remember, we are a non-profit so we need your help. Become a member and join us on our journey! We are looking for volunteers, donations, referrals and to just spread the word.  Our main goal is to bridge community and art – what better way than to contribute to the renaissance of your Mt. Airy Art Garage!   If you are interested in being involved please visit our website or contact


The Mt. Airy Art Garage, on Mt. Airy Avenue in the heart of the Mt. Airy business district. Fate brought it all together, now we need you to make it a reality!


Mt Airy Art Garage Is Moving Forward in 2010

Create, Learn, Imagine, Grow

Community Connections and Art

Our Vision

Our vision is to create a cooperative in Northwest Philadelphia where emerging and professional artists can create and sell their work in a community of like-minded colleagues, friends, and neighbors. We expect to achieve this through the creation of a weekend arts and crafts market as well as an indoor space where one can take a workshop, watch art being created, learn about crafts, and purchase art and craft objects. We are currently incorporating as a 501(c3), based in Northwest Philadelphia embracing artists in Germantown, Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill, and surrounding communities.

Our Mission

Mt. Airy Art Garage Cooperative will provide opportunities for artists in Northwest Philadelphia to create, exhibit, and distribute their fine arts and handcrafts; to educate and teach workshops to both adults and youth; to create an ongoing Art Market that highlights unique fine arts and handcrafts; all while recognizing and appreciating the diversity of this unique section of Philadelphia.

Upcoming Plans for 2010

  • Launching a membership drive—we welcome you to join! Whether you are an artist or a supporter of the visual arts, the Mt. Airy Art Garage can be the place for you. Find out more at our website and friend us on Facebook.
  • Creating our next Art Market, hopefully for April. Stay tuned for more information.
  • Silent Auction, Sat., May. 15. This will be a unique evening of music and art held at the former PA Governor’s Mansion in Germantown, listed on the National Register as a historic site. You will have an opportunity to bid on unique fine art and handcrafts donated by our members while enjoying music and food donated by area businesses and musicians. This should be an amazing night. You’ll never even feel like it’s a fundraiser.


Look for us at Mt. Airy Day, May 1, 2010!

The Mt. Airy Art Garage will be reaching out to our neighbors in a big kind of way! We’ll have at least 4 tables “representing!” You’ll find unique fine art and handcrafts, get a calendar of events, and have the opportunity to become a member. Stop by, meet our artists, learn more about our vision and upcoming events!

For more information, visit us at, or friend us on Facebook.

Building Community in the Northwest

Celebrating Together To Make The Mt. Airy Art Garage A Reality After completing our second weekend of the Mt. Airy Art Garage, we are all being struck by an unexpected experience. It’s not about how many visitors crossed the portals of our doors. It’s not about artists’ sales, and it’s not about more Holiday marketing ads to bring you in. It’s about community. We have been deeply moved by the warm embraces of visitors thanking us for what we are doing. We become teary-eyed at unexpected (and ongoing) dropoffs of home-made food for everyone at our festivities. We are touched by the musicians who have stepped forward to volunteer their time, for the love of art, to add warmth to everyone’s spirits in a cold Garage. We laugh with our artists as they run through the aisles in glee having sold a painting of the highest caliber. Everything is offered with a smile, or an embrace, and open heart. The crossroads of cooperation. Weavers Way has embraced our vision with their support. Our brainstorm, our vision became theirs, employees and managers alike. They have provided us with space, with opportunity, with moral support. Businesses in Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill have stepped forward with food donations to feed the soul, provide Holiday cheer, and add some chocolate to the mouths of babes—old and young alike. Some of the businesses who have opened their hearts to us include High Point Café, Little Night Kitchen, Bredenbecks, Baker Street Bread, Point of Destination Café, Mi Puebla, Platinum Grill, Urban Café, Metropolitan Bakery, and more. Our first weekend, Meg, owner of High Point Café, welcomed us into the neighborhood with wonderful signs, coffee, and scones for all. Neighbors come by with baked goods, home-made treats, and cider! Our Mt. Airy Art Garage musicians have come from all walks of life, all volunteering their time—professionals such as Richard Drueding, Terri Rambo, Barry Goldstein, Zak Stock, Jerry Allender and his trio, Slippery Slope, to name a few. And then we are thrilled to have new, emerging artists like Mark Robinson, Ian Zolitar, Sondra Rodriguez—and that’s for starters. Some have already played, others will come soon. Perhaps Barry put it the  best this past weekend when he said “This place is really cool, and I am here to play and be a part of it.” That’s what it’s all about—cooperation, making art happen, all for the love of doing it. So, wish us well for our final weekend. We will have the largest, most diverse offering of fine art and handcraft yet—with live music all day long! In 2010, we move on to the next phase of our vision and dreams—to create an Artist Cooperative at 542 W. Carpenter Lane. The Mt. Airy Art Garage is not a competition—we are an Art Collaboration in its purest form. We are artists, creating art for you, our neighbors, our community. We are a magnet for energy, support, laughter, song, and for sharing. So join us, celebrate our last weekend, this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19-20 from 10 am-6 pm at 542 West Carpenter Lane. We welcome you with open arms.

Neither Rain Nor Snow…

Stopped the Mt. Airy Art Garage From It’s Grand Opening Over 225 people stopped into the Mt. Airy Art Garage, a community-based artist cooperative, on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 542 W. Carpenter Lane. Although snowy and damp, families and friends met to enjoy and purchase unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays— custom leatherwork, jewelers, mixed media and fiber artists, sculptors, photographers, painters, winter “art garb” and a host of other fine art and handcrafts. High Point Café, the Night Kitchen, Baker Street, and Weavers Way donated mouthwatering cakes, coffee, and treats to nourish the palate and warm everyone up. Live music fed the soul—Slippery Slope led a full-scale, foot-stomping, swaying “hootenanny,” Richard Dreuding warmed spirits with beautiful acoustic guitar, while the violin playing of Elizabeth Shaak and Hollis Payor put smiles on everyone.

What’s next? Come check us out this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13 from 10 am – 6 pm at 542 West Carpenter Lane—more delicious food from our sponsors in the Northwest (Bredenbecks and Mi Puebla, for starters), music from Terri Rambo and others. And, best of all, each weekend will feature all new artists from the Northwest! Visit us, shop, and share in the Holiday spirit. Admission is free and open to the public. And mark your calendars for Dec. 19 and 20, same time, same place! Join in our Holiday vision—meet the artists, buy wonderful things, watch us blossom and grow. Come to the Art Market! Friend us on Facebook, or visit us at