Togun based Roy City in Nigeria, his dwelling nation, again in 2008. He moved to Philadelphia together with his spouse again in December 2019 with hopes of building his Yoruba-inspired clothes model within the U.S. He showcased his work in February at Philly Trend Week. For the reason that coronavirus pandemic shut a lot of the area down again in March, he has not been capable of exhibit his work. The Tioga Park artist residency is a part of his bounce-back.
“In case you don’t go on the market and put your self on the market, individuals gained’t see you,” Togun mentioned. “It’s going to assist me to realize my dream of gaining extra publicity.”
Togun might be displaying work in a gallery area that serves because the artistic anchor of a mixed-use constructing that features residential models, in addition to one other business area and Tioga Park’s workplace. The property is one in every of 5 within the neighborhood owned by the group. The remaining are nonetheless in improvement.
Sanyal, a Jersey Metropolis resident, together with companions Justin John and Rahat Kamal, each Philly residents, admit they aren’t constructing inexpensive housing within the neighborhood, a largely working-class part of North Philadelphia the place many households battle to get by on the minimal wage. The worth vary for two-bedroom rental models is round $1,400.
However the builders say they’re designing the undertaking with neighborhood needs in thoughts. They plan to construct up the neighborhood with an ear for residents’ wants, and hope the artist-in-residence program turns into an area for native artistic expertise.
In the mean time, this system will operate as a pilot with “to see how this goes and mess around with it and tweak it into one thing much more everlasting,” mentioned John, who beforehand labored at Argo Property Group, the true property design and improvement firm behind numerous high-end residential tasks in fast-changing Brewerytown, not removed from Tioga.
New to a neighborhood bearing a deep historical past and the scars of redlining and systemic disinvestment, Sanyal mentioned he and his companions are making the rounds within the neighborhood, assembly with native RCOs and different individuals with neighborhood ties. Verna Tyner, a longtime neighborhood resident and activist who co-founded Tioga United, the native RCO, says whereas the builders have but to achieve out to the RCO, she thinks the undertaking holds potential.
“We predict that’s a terrific concept, however you have to nonetheless talk with the neighbors,” Tyner mentioned. “We’re prepared to speak to you anytime you’d like.”