Passyunk Square artists to auction works


The tagline on the Passyunk Square Civic Association (PSCA) flier for its annual Art Auction is “Eat, drink, and be artsy.” And you’ll do just that if you attend Friday night’s festivities at Theatre Exile, 1340 S. 13th St., where civic president Pam Zenzola and the event committee chair Lindsey Scannapieco have culled nearly 30 artists and nearly a dozen sponsoring businesses to make it memorable.

The auction takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. and with a $10 advanced ticket ($15 at the door), attendees will get to peruse the work of exclusively South Philly artists’ work, graze piles of donated food and sip beer and wine. Last year the auction took place at the civic’s regular meeting destination, Annunciation BVM Church, 1511 S. 10th St. This year, they’re thrilled to be in the big black box inside Theatre Exile on the corner of Columbus Square Park.

“We’re back! A church hall versus a theater? There’s a different ambiance. It’s perfect for what we want to do,” Zenzola, a resident of the 1300 block of Federal Street, said.

The Passyunk Square leader was thrilled to disclose that, with this auction, they’ve made a new connection in a neighborhood sponsor – Pat’s King of Steaks, 1237 E. Passyunk Ave.

“I’m excited about building that relationship,” she said.

For one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, the team behind the event hopes to raise as much as $5,000 for neighborhood improvement efforts. Zenzola says they try to go bigger and get better every year with this event but also with community partnerships.

“Each year we make some improvements or build upon [our events] and one of the biggest things that we’re trying to do in the last few years, on the board and in the community, is outreach. [We’re] building as many community partners as we can,” she said. “We want [Passyunk Square to be] the best neighborhood in the city.”

Food partners for the event include El Zarape, 1304 S. Ninth St.; ACME Market, 1400 E. Passyunk Ave.; Bitar, 947 Federal St.; the Vegan Commissary, 1703 S. 11th St.; Paradiso, 1627 E. Passyunk Ave.; Termini Brothers, 1523 S. Eighth St.; and Iannellis Bakery, 1155 E. Passyunk Ave. Beer is being provided by Yards Brewery, and wine’s being provided by Stogie Joe’s, 1801 E. Passyunk Ave. Live music will come courtesy of Ron Bauman from Connie’s Ric Rac, 1132 S. Ninth St.

“Our hopes are having a packed house with great food, drinks, live music and most importantly, lots of art sales,” Scannapieco, a new resident in the area and the leader of Scout Ltd., LLC, the development company that’s bring the Bok School building, 1901 S. Ninth St., back to life, reported. “This is a critical event to supporting all the incredible work of the local civic so every dollar raised counts.”

 ldquo;I’ve always taken photographs since I was 12,” Bob Moysan, half of the team behind Noord, 1046 Tasker St., said.

He and his husband, Joncarl Lachman, opened the restaurant in May 2013.

“About 10 years ago I started to sell some of my work, and it’s built and built over the last decade,” Moysan, showing two works on Friday night, “Family of Four” and “It Begins,” said.

The couple moved to South Philly form Chicago, where they had two restaurants, but Passyunk Square’s proven exceptionally welcome.

Before the restaurant opened, before they’d even renovated the space and it was still an apartment, Moysan and Lachman held an informational meeting for the neighborhood so they could start to earn local trust.

“We wanted to do this presentation for the neighborhood and introduce ourselves and say ‘This is what’s happening’ – we were welcomed with open arms,” Moysan said. “Pam Zenzola was at that meeting and was able to charm some of the neighbors who were not necessarily thrilled with another restaurant coming into the neighborhood.”

The duo are opening a new spot, too, on the 900 block of South Ninth Street, “it’ll be a Parisian-style bistro with a North African influence,” Moysan reported.

They’re targeting a summer opening.

Moysan shows his work at the restaurant, especially in the bathroom, something he’ll do in the new place, too.

“I use our restaurant bathrooms, even in Chicago, that’s my little gallery – it’s a captive audience,” he explained. “I sell maybe two or three pieces a month out of the bathroom. It works out.”

The photographer, whose beautiful black and white portrait of snowy trees along the Lake Michigan shore will be available for purchase on Friday night, was even contributing work to the PSCA Art Auction before they had moved to Philly, shipping prints from Chicago to Passyunk Square.

“I was super-excited to get involved in the association and with this event in particular,” Moysan gushed. “We can’t imagine living anywhere else. We love it, we absolutely love it.”

Mural artist David Guinn, a resident of the 1100 block of Cross Street, is donating work, too. The part-time Moore College of Art and Design professor and Mural Arts Program artist grew up in Center City and has painted murals for La Colombe and private clients. He’s currently at work on MAP murals for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and at 20th and Sansom streets. The McCall Elementary, Masterman Middle School, Central High and Columbia University alum works with geometric shapes.

“A number of the murals I’ve painted have a geometric style, so for the Art Auction it’s a figure rendered geographically,” Guinn said.

As for Passyunk Square, where he’s lived for three years, “I love it, I really do. It’s awesome. I’m glad to [donate art] – I love the neighborhood and I like Pam and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

The money raised will go primarily towards neighborhood improvements. “We explain to everyone participating that funds from the auction go to support improving the neighborhood,” says Scannapieco.

Zenzola said, six years ago, on her walk from her house to her niece’s, she used to see “every single sewer grate was filled. Now it’s the exception, not the rule. Trash begets trash and clean begets clean,” the clean-minded civic leader said. “One of our biggest initiatives has been trash. The neighborhood’s been promoting [cleanups] – let’s clean it up, gang.”

Last year, Zenzola wasn’t sure about restricting the artists showing work at the auction to South Philadelphians. But her team had to set her straight.

“‘You really don’t know, do you, Pam?’”peers asked.

“Throw a stick outside of your house, and you’ll hit an artist,” she joked. “We definitely have enough artists in the neighborhood.”

Staff Writer Bill Chenevert at or ext. 117.