Some people “stage” houses. On Broad Avenue, they’re staging the whole street.
For “A New Face for an Old Broad,” the street will be striped with protected bike lanes and pedestrian crosswalks, the vacant storefronts filled with businesses and eateries, and an empty parking lot turned into a skatepark. “We’re trying to give the street a facelift,” says Pat Brown, co-owner of Broad’s T Clifton Art Gallery.
Beginning in the 1900s, Broad Avenue was a main street for the area, with a barbershop, a bank, and a dry-goods store. In more recent times, however, the street has been home to empty storefronts and biker gangs before transitioning to today’s burgeoning arts district.
In an effort to entice entrepreneurs to Broad and show just how, ahem, broad the possibilities are, they’re filling up those empty spaces with all sorts of enterprises.
The Peddler, Outdoors, Inc., and the Brooks and Pink Palace museums, among others, will be doing pop-up shops. There also will be exercise classes, a kids’ bike parade, a climbing wall, and 20 musical performances. Food vendors will include Fratelli’s, Three Angels Diner, Broadway Pizza, Caritas Village, the Crepe Maker, Republic Coffee, and DejaVu.
“It all started as a way to showcase what the Broad Avenue Arts District can look like a few years down the road,” Brown says. “It’s a snapshot of the future.” — Mary Cashiola