Local initiative pairs queer artists with Black and Brown owned businesses

A selection of art from the Love + Grit Storefronts Project.

In order to support Black- and Brown-owned businesses that were adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Visit Philadelphia has launched the Love + Grit Storefronts Project, which pairs 12 QBIPOC artists with 24 local businesses across Philadelphia to help beautify empty storefronts. Each artist created two original works based on the pair of businesses they were assigned, with the artworks installed in various neighborhoods around the city. In addition to encouraging Philadelphians to frequent Black- and Brown-owned businesses, the project also serves to supplement the City of Philadelphia’s commitment to cultivating and growing small, diverse businesses. This year is the second year of Philadelphia’s Shop Black Business Friday initiative, which takes place each Friday in December.

“We’re ecstatic that the Love + Grit Storefronts Project is beautifying the city, building civic pride, shining a light on local QBIPOC artists and supporting the Black- and Brown-owned businesses that are so vital to our neighborhoods,” Rachel Ferguson, chief innovation & global diversity officer of Visit Philadelphia, said in a press release. “The love and grit, creativity and resilience of Philadelphia’s artists and entrepreneurs are the soul of this city, and the campaign demonstrates what Philly does best: Turn loss into inspiration and empty spaces into opportunity.”

Curated by Conrad Benner (who runs the Streets Dept. photo blog) and curator Ginger Rudolph, the installation features works by 12 QBIPOC artists: Illkya Acosta, Fabiola Lara, Manny Hernandez, Tiff Urquhart, Kathy Chung, Jonai Gibson-Selix, Mz Icar, Tash Billington, Cindy Lozito, Derick Jones, Lauren Lopez, and Nazeer Sabree.

“I’m really excited about this project,” Sabree said at the launch event. “I worked on this project with Shannon [Maldonado, owner of Yowie], and we were trying to collaborate and find a middle, something we were inspired by, and the thing that came up was our mothers.” Sabree continued, saying “It was a personal project and also one for the community. The businesses here in Philadelphia contribute to the culture of Philadelphia in a big big way. So I wanted to depict that in the work, and also the influence of Black and Brown women.”

The artworks will be displayed in empty storefronts in Center City, Chinatown, Graduate Hospital, Northern Liberties, Northwest Philly, Old City, Roxborough, and South Street. A map of locations is available on the Visit Philly website.

The 24 highlighted businesses include restaurants and cafes, clothing and home goods stores, hair and beauty salons, museums, auto repair, and plant stores. The full list is below:

Nazeer Sabree’s artwork done in collaboration with local business owner Shannon Maldonado.

Food & Drink

Franny Lou’s Porch (cafe and community space)

806 N. 2nd St.

South Philly Barbacoa (restaurant)

1140 S. 9th St.

Puyero Venzuelan Food (restaurant)

524 S. 4th St.

Lil’ Pop Shop (pies and fruit bars)

265 S. 44th St.

El Merkury (restaurant)

Reading Terminal Market & 2104 Chestnut St.

Cuba Libre (restaurant)

10 S. 2nd St.

Black and Mobile (food delivery)

Online at blackandmobile.com/.

Games & Books

Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books (cafe and bookstore)

5445 Germantown Ave.

Queen & Rook (board game cafe and restaurant)

607 S. 2nd St.

Clothing & Home Goods

The Modern Republic (Home decor)

Online at etsy.com/shop/TheModernRepublic/.

The Sable Collective (boutique)

Online at thesablecollective.com/.

Inked Vintage (streetwear)

Online at inkedvintage.com/.

Grant Blvd. (clothing and accessories)

3605 Lancaster Ave.

P’s & Q’s (clothing and home goods)

820 South St.

Yowie (home and life shop)

716 S. 4th St.

Philadelphia Diamond Company (jewelry)

421 Chestnut St.

Hair & Beauty Care

Faheem’s Hands of Precision (barber shop)

2100 S. 20th St.

Freedom Apothecary (beauty & wellness)

736 N. 2nd St.

Sabbatical Beauty (beauty and wellness)

1901 S. 9th St.

Duafe Hair Salon (hair care)

3129 N. 22nd St.


Ill Exotics (exotic pets and house plants)

1704 E. Passyunk Ave.

Vault + Vine (floral, home goods, cafe)

3507 Midvale Ave.


The African American Museum in Philadelphia (museum)

701 Arch St.


Girl’s Auto Clinic (auto repair and education)

7425 W Chester Pike (Upper Darby, PA)

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