New — Philadelphia Art Hotel residencies


We were intrigued by the name: Philadelphia Art Hotel. And when they sent us an email about their new residency program we called them up. This seat-of-the-pants artists’ residency in West Philadelphia is the third we know of in town. There are also Pifas’ and James Dupree’s programs.

Krista Peel and Zak Starer, co-directors of the Philadelphia Art Hotel, at their wedding last month.
Krista Peel and Zak Starer, co-directors of the Philadelphia Art Hotel, at their wedding last month.

Co-Director Zak Starer wrote us telling us a little background information:

Although I am from the Philadelphia area originally, I’ve lived all over the country since leaving the area to go to college some time back. It has been the same for Krista. We’ve had a chance to meet many artists and really wanted to establish a residency that had artists from many places including Philly. As we’re here more, the number of local residents will hopefully increase.

Right now the residencies are 1-2 weeks long since we’re running the program out of our modest size apartment. We hope to buy a building within the year so that residencies can be longer.

Co-directors Starer and Krista Peel are wildly ambitious, searching for a building to house them and the program, which may include a lecture space, a gallery space and maybe even a miniature golf course. Right now Krista and Zak are vacating their own apartment to make available a residency space for artists to come in for two week periods.

Here’s a glimpse of our conversation with Krista:

Where are you guys from?
Zak is from Wallingford. I’m from Michigan and Cheyenne, Wy. I went to the Art Institute of Chicago and was working as the art director for a theatre company, building sets. I met Zak through the theatre. I was making the miniature sets and projecting them. The art works are the miniatures. Zak was doing his own performance art in his kitchen.

Eric Reyes Lamothe's ceramic squashed car on concrete.
Eric Reyes-Lamothe’s ceramic squashed car on concrete.

When did you start the Philadelphia Art Hotel?
We put out a call 6 months ago and got 12 to 13 responses and this year we selected 5 artists. Gigi Gatewood(RI, USA)
Kelly A. Mueller (LA, USA), Eric Reyes-Lamothe (Hidalgo, MEXICO), Renetta Sitoy (CA, USA), Carla Sonheim (CO, USA)

Why did you start PAH?
In Philadelphia, we are filling a gap. We picked artists whose work we liked, who we wanted to support, who need 2 to 3 weeks free rent. Our acommodations are free.

So if they’re staying in your space where are you going?
Zak is Jewish and from a very large family. We will be family hopping. We are looking for a real house, 3 stories, with one or two spaces aviabe for resident artists. We’re trying to take advantage of that  first time home buyer money. We want to create a space where you can live with art. I can’t wait to have art. We’re looking at the Kensington area. We can afford that.

Renetta Sitoy, multi-media projection.
Renetta Sitoy, multi-media projection.

We see that you have talks scheduled for your artists at the Free Library…how did you get that?
In art school, my favorite thing was the artists’ lectures. We just asked. The lady [at the library] said “You just need to get on our calendar.” If the talk is free they don’t charge. We have to provide the video tech stuff for the lecture.

Do you have day jobs? How are you supporting this?
Zak is a video tech guy at Moore College. And I teach at the LIFE Center at 45th and Chestnut and I make jewelry

We are impressed with your ambition and enthusiam.
If you continue to have an idea for your life, you can keep making it happen. (She cites Walt Disney as an example).

Upcoming PAH resident artist lectures at the Free Library Skyline Room (Main Branch)
8/19/09: Renetta Sitoy
8/31/09: Eric Reyes-Lamothe


eric reyes-lamothe, krista peel, philadelphia art hotel, renetta sitoy, zak starer



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