Brendan Lowry, the creator of the popular Instagram account Peopledelphia, endeavors to capture places, faces, and movements that others might overlook. “Forcing myself to not always look at what everyone else is looking at, to look the other way and point my camera in that direction, is exciting to me,” he says.
Lowry was a presenter at Assembly: Underground Films and Philly Legends, a joint endeavor between Atlas Obscura and Chase Sapphire® that celebrated the city’s rich film culture. In many ways, Philadelphia is the perfect setting for his mission—it’s a city that hasn’t always gotten its due, but is nonetheless brimming with history and culture. “I don’t think people realize how much is happening in Philadelphia and how many hidden gems there are,” Lowry says.
For residents, Philadelphia’s trove of wonders aren’t exactly hidden. They’re part of the city’s foundation and the reason why one of America’s oldest ports remains a vibrant place to live and create.
Bok Auditorium is a shining example of Philly’s adaptive ingenuity. Located in a massive former school built in the Art Deco style, the building sat vacant for years before it was gradually repurposed as a civic space for artists, activists, and community members. The building’s vast potential was on full display at Assembly. Creators and community organizers rallied to screen films that capture Philadelphia’s past, present, and cinematic future, addressing a rapt crowd between titles.
Watch the video above to learn more about the state of art in Philadelphia for yourself. Spoiler alert: it’s never been better.
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