iMPeRFeCT Gallery is cheeky, joyful, raw, political and provocative, eye-opening and experiential, with deep community ties and current neighborhood voices.
Every city has its special local spots that reflect a neighborhood’s spirit so organically, it’s impossible to imagine them anywhere else. In Germantown, an art hub called iMPeRFeCT Gallery is one of these unique and treasured gathering spaces, fostering positive community energy for more than a decade.
Founders/owners Rocio Cabello and Renny Molenar are Hispanic immigrants from the Bronx with a great understanding and appreciation for art as a political device. “We treat the gallery as a socio-cultural-political space,” Renny said in a recent interview with TheArtBlog.com, which we featured in February’s newspaper thanks to our partnership through WHYY’s News & Information Community Exchange (N.I.C.E.). If you missed it, we’ll sum up some of the wonderfulness here. 🙌💖🎨🌈🦄
iMPeRFeCT Gallery showcases incredibly personal and relevant art, while also hosting Rumba nights, writers’ circles, string quartets, discussion dinners – and admission is almost always “pay what you can.” As a non-profit, they seek to spotlight Philly artists of all different persuasions, in a wide variety of styles and mediums that will resonate with neighbors (who constitute the majority of their audience). This goal includes taking art out of the gallery and into public life via installation projects, social media, and limited-edition works for fans and collectors.
Before moving to NW Philadelphia twenty years ago, Rocio and Renny seemed to be heading into the high-stress business of representing major NYC artists — quite a ways from the work they now do at iMPeRFeCT, promoting art awareness and education at the community level, where art “meets politics on the street.” They vibe on this passion and immediacy in their own work, exhibiting a variety of compelling projects over the years.
For example, a recent installation on censorship featured a pile of books with their covers stitched shut so they couldn’t be opened or read. Another grouped together sculptures of a single barrette on wire, relating the abuse of young girls to a flower being cut down and taken.
This fall, an exhibit called “Hands Off” filled the gallery with work by 84 different artists in solidarity with Abortion Rights (where Renny revisited the barrette theme but this time in the shape of a wire hanger).
One of the most inspiring things about iMPeRFeCT Gallery is you don’t need an art degree or a big following to show your art here. Renny and Rocio welcome anyone who wants to share their work, no matter who they are. “If the work is good, I’m going to want to show them,” said Renny – even if he doesn’t like it personally. In curating various art projects, iMPeRFeCT seeks to explore how humans navigate “non-relationships” created by race and class, and how this effort shapes and inspires us.
As the streets around the gallery boom with new construction these days, Renny and Rocio remain upbeat that development can bring business and services without crowding neighbors out. Rents and property values may be on the rise, but so is opportunity in the community. Some investors are even designing the ground floors of their apartment buildings as rent-free options for private enterprise. “Germantown Espresso Bar got a new space this way,” Renny explained.
Moving forward through this spring, iMPeRFeCT Gallery’s calendar is bursting with art, music, poetry, journalism, workshops, open mics, and artist talks. Plan your visit now! And read more in Elizabeth Johnson’s original ArtBlog article, which references a previous feature as well as a rare podcast from 2013.
5539 Germantown Ave
Open Thurs 1PM – 5PM; Fri 4PM – 8PM; Sat 12PM – 5PM
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TRUE STORY: One of our Local contributors, Kaang Tha Groove, has been a featured artist at iMPeRFeCT Gallery (his last show was Jan 27 – Feb 25, 2023). ✨🎉🍾
ArtBlog’s mission is to create and foster dialog about art, power, value and truth, in order to promote a better future for all. Their independent online arts publication focuses on marginalized artists — BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women — whose art traditionally has been shunned by the mainstream media. theartblog.org
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