South Street From the 90s’ exhibition pays homage to South Street’s pre-gentrification glory

2 minute read
'South Street From the 90s' looks back at South Street's creative community. (Image by Phoebe Murer)
'South Street From the 90s' looks back at South Street's creative community. (Image by Phoebe Murer)

In their 1963 novelty tune “South Street,” Philly Pop-R&B quartet The Orlons paint a picture of the famed South Philly strip as the most happening place in the city. Over a driving beat, the group sings "Where do all the hippies meet? South Street, South Street...Meet me on South Street. The hippest street in town..."

Opening Sunday, November 3 at Da Vinci Art Alliance, Philadelphia based artist and writer Phoebe Murer presents the mixed media exhibition, South Street From the 90s. Utilizing layered paper and boxes to create collages and sculptures, the exhibit speaks to the ways in which gentrification has destroyed much of the small businesses and spaces that gave South Street its rich history and personality. Running through November 24, the show’s opening reception is open to the public and will be followed by an after-party at South Street staple Tattooed Mom.

Right up the block

For decades, South Street has been known as a gathering point for the city’s creative community. From its time in the 1920s and 30s as a major center for African American theater to its days as a hub for the city’s hippie/psychedelic set in the 60s and 70s, to being a haven for Punks and Hip Hop kids in the 80s, South Street existed as a flashpoint for Philadelphia’s counterculture.

Although South Street continued to change, by the 1990s, this countercultural spirit still held on. Punks would still trek to Zipperhead for leather jackets, spikes and studs, slacker kids bought their Built To Spill records at Spaceboy and Hip Hop heads still formed rap cyphers and battled out on the street on the weekends. In the wake of rapid gentrification, the 90s were arguably the last era in which South Street stood as a central locale of Philadelphia’s creative community.

What, When, Where:

South Street From the 90s opens Sunday, November 3 at Da Vinci Art Alliance, 704 Catharine Street, with an opening reception from 1-3pm, and the after-party at Tattooed Mom, 530 South Street, at 3pm. The exhibit runs through Sunday, November 24. Da Vinci Art Alliance exhibitions are free and open to the public. Follow @southstreetinthe90s on Instagram.


The gallery at 704 Catharine Street is a two-story rowhome with four steps at the entrance of the building, and a flight of stairs to the 2nd floor. This building is not wheelchair accessible, however, they will attempt to accommodate to the fullest extent possible. For information, or to notify members of any needs prior to your visit, contact [email protected]

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