Artists collective opens its Germantown home for weekend concert
Germantown's Baynton Street is not the first place that comes to mind as a venue for artists collectives hosting out-of-town performers for a night of music, craft beers and company.
But on Friday night, that's what drew more than two dozen people to the place Ross Hennessy and others call home.
Hennessy moved there four years ago from Kensington, where he lived with Zack Stock.
They, and others, sought a larger home with room for a community garden, which they found not far from SEPTA's Wister Station after looking across the city.
The neighborhood's large pockets of green space are both blessings and curses, Hennessy said.
He noted that city owned lots in the neighborhood — he referred to it as the "Brickyard" — often suffer from illegal dumping of trash and, in two recent tragic cases, bodies.
"We have lot of same issues as other low-income neighborhoods," he said. "We can make art that feels good to us."
Today, a hole in the backyard wall leads to a large community garden which provides for meals shared by residents.
And last weekend, the doors opened for performances by folk duo Foxhound, writer Daniel Torday, ukulele player Rebecca Miller and musicians Carl Anderson and Ellen Picker.
That last duo played before a crowd sitting on a living-room floor after performing larger gigs in New York and Charlottesville, Va.
"It's nice to play in an intimate setting, to try new things, to meet people and drink craft beer," Anderson said.
That craft beer was brewed by next-door neighbor Michael Manny, who brewed two varieties for the occasion, including "Cinqo del Ryo" with bottles decorated with a stem of rye from his garden.
Plans are in the works to host similar gatherings every other month while jumpstarting discussions about neighborhood issues.