Sunday, April 15, 2018

In My Neighborhood: Women Owned Places to Be In Philadelphia

Art Dept Philly, self-described as a "collective-run community space specializing in reclaiming history through vintage objects, art, and public events," is one of the three unique spots up in my new neighborhood thanks to Emily, artist and founding member. I also met kind Amelie, an award winning writer and educator. Learn more about them and other collective members here.

With the horrible news about the black real estate brokers arrested for waiting at a local Starbucks without purchasing still being unloaded in news and management not properly being held accountable for a disgusting display of racism, it's important now more than ever to protect ourselves, to commune in spaces operating for us. We need to support communal havens by us for us, that provide safe environments to create, have conversations, and eat/drink.
On the few warm days, I explored the Kensington neighborhood, in this area that I recently moved into, enjoying pleasant shops in the area, most especially three owned by women of color: Art Dept Philly, Franny Lou's Porch, and Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse. They each offer unique forms of entertainment and carefree liberation, forms of activism while also serving specific needs. Art Dept Philly is a secondhand boutique that also sells art supplies, handmade cards, and accessories and at the same time hosts Writer Wednesdays, an afterschool arts program led by artist Carmel Brown (owner of Colored Vintage, the shop), and craft workshops on knitting, sewing, and more.

Pins galore!

Quaint vintage dishware that any tea lover would adore.

Dessert plates and matching mini mugs great for intimate party hosting.

My dream dress.

Old time radio.

A stylish mannequin surrounded by vintage dresses, ties, vests, blouses, and all sorts of other outfit of the day inspirations.

Flawless detail complete with colorful glass beaded elements.

They can't call it Art Dept Philly without the art supplies!

Just blocks away on Coral Street, indie bohemian spirited Franny Lou's Porch serves uniquely named coffees and teas.
"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired." - Fannie Lou Hamer

I just fell in love with Franny Lou's Porch. Named after two important Libra figures: abolitionist/suffragist poet, Francis E. W. Harper (who published the first African American short story) and activist/community organizer Fannie Lou Hamer (cofounder of the National Women's Political Caucus), I visited on this rainy Sunday morning before work, desiring a cup of something sweet and wonderful. The interior is vibrant and inviting, homages to Africa, African American, and other people of color in a victorious celebratory spirit. The aesthetic is all natural, rustic, and friendly, classic R&B music swirling in the background, feeling like a charming second home.

And the owner is Blew Kind.

The lattes are named after activists, writers, and other important civil rights figures. They offer almond and soy milk options for vegans.

Woodcut (or linoleum cut) of Martin Luther King Jr.

I enjoyed an Alice Walker (matcha tea with soy milk, vanilla, and maple) with Queens from the in-house reading library.

A gorgeous painting to gaze upon.
At the awesome Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse (the first and only black woman owned comic book/coffeeshop in the U.S.), is the land of comic book nerd joy. Books, t-shirts, pins, and more are swarmed in the enticing bright lights alongside my favorites Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Black Panther, Jem and the Holograms, The Walking Dead, and others. Like Art Dept Philly, Amalgam participates in First Fridays and hosts all sort of incredible events for geeks like game and movie nights, book launches, after hour entertainment, quizznos, and more. Just a few weeks ago, the great Erika Alexander (from Living Single to co-writing a one-shot Giles Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic) hosted a book signing (of course I didn't know about it until Instagram but alas can't make it all). 

Amalgam offers great vegan options like apple and banana bread and dairy free milk alternatives for teas and coffees.

And speaking of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which was Amalgam's reader's choice display from late January) did y'all know it was the original Slayer herself Sarah Michelle Geller's birthday yesterday? I penned a celebratory post on my other site, FemFilmRogue
Support the women here in Kensington. They're amazing. They're expanding horizons in the most inspiring ways and deserve our allegiance.


  1. What a great idea for a post, and you seem to have found 3 absolute gems! I think I could quite comfortably spend all my money on that vintage loot!

    1. Thank you!! I am so happy to be surrounded by these beautiful spaces. Definitely encouraging. Plus, the boutique will soon have all my monies. Hahahaha. :)

  2. I've drove past Art Dept and loved the logo. Maybe next time I will stop in.

    Um... Sailor.... Vegan?! I need to grab that, even if it has nothing REALLY to do with Sailor Moon lol

    1. You should stop in Art Dept! They have many events! Plus they have fabulous clothes among other things.

      The apple bread at Amalgam is fantastic! :D