words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Reconnecting with members of Highwire Gallery

Found art exhibit from the "Island" on the Delaware River

It has been an interesting past few days. Via Facebook, I have been able to start reconnecting with members of Highwire Gallery.  In the late 1980’s a group of artists joined together to create the Philadelphia Artists Cooperative which later became Highwire Gallery Inc. An innovative and cutting edge group of artists began finding unique places to exhibit their work in downtown Philadelphia. Some shows were in abandoned lumber yards and cathedrals, market places like the Reading Terminal, and various galleries, historical locales and even a found art exhibit on an island on the Delaware River. During this period, a bond among the artists, and a direction for the cooperative was formed. A permanent locale was founded in 1990 at the 2nd Street Art Building. The 2nd Street Art Building was a distinct hub of creativity with its housing of four galleries in Old City Philadelphia. Throughout the years and to this day Highwire, with its ever-changing host of artists, remains a vibrant and fresh creative force in Philadelphia.

I hope through this blog to connect with my fellow Highwire artists and invite them to talk about our experience together and their own creative pursuits since leaving the group. I am also interested in the thoughts and ideas of the artists that have sustained and promoted the co-op to this present day.  As time evolves, it remains vitally important that our connection to our past is remembered, and that the ideas of those who hold the future of Highwire past through us all. In doing so we bring together as one, the words, vision, and thoughts that sustain us and the legacy of the Philadelphia Artist Cooperative.

3 responses

  1. Walter, This is a great page!
    And great concept!
    Wonderful to see that image of the gallery full of materials.
    Your background looks like a microcosm of visonary driftwood from Pettys Island up close.
    I look forward to seeing this connection to our past flourish,
    and lead to new creative directions.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:06 am

    • Thanks Peter, I appreciate it. I hope that perhaps you and others from Highwire will post comments. And I do believe you can probably post a photo on the blog. So if you have any photos of Highwire history that you would like to share, feel free. And you know I do have film footage of the Lumber Yard exhibit, so I think I will remix it and post on my Youtube Channel in the future.

      December 30, 2010 at 8:31 am

      • Walter, It seems we had a great community back then. Many collaborative exhibitions, and cross-fertililzation of diciplines,
        (music, poetry, dance, performance)fueled our creative juices. And outstanding art was produced as well.
        The good sympathies we shared back then still charge my thoughts today.
        I am continuing to make art and write poems, and have self-published one book (“Earth, Moon, and Sun,” 65 pages), and I am working on the second (“Sand and Sky,” about 80 pages). Both have a dialogue between my visual art and my poetry.
        It’s good we stay connected and informed of eachothers endeavors, and possibly we might throw someday
        a Highwire Retrospective, or new work by past and current members.
        We do have an important history in town, and many people have a lot respect for us.
        We want to seek out and preserve photos, video, press, and other documentation for the future. Maybe there is a book in that there stuff.

        January 2, 2011 at 10:57 pm

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