An art gallery inside of a mall? If you don’t get it, you just don’t get the mission of Wonderspaces — yet. The newest addition to the ever-evolving Fashion District, Wonderspaces seeks to make the enjoyment of visual art more mainstream when it debuts Jan. 24, with its 24,000-square-foot, interactive gallery space, featuring artists from around the world.
“We want to be as accessible as the movies,” says Wonderspaces’ co-founder and president, Jason Chin. “From day one, we’ve been on a mission to bring down the barriers of affordability and convenience to present art in a place where people can gather and share in world class creativity.”
Whether you pop in after work or bring the family for a visit on the weekend, Wonderspaces is an art experience that’s always within reach. And unlike the many Instagram pop-ups that have proliferated in many cities over the years, Wonderspaces is a permanent home for art. It also delivers a richer experience. While the exhibitions at Wonderspaces are super Instagrammable, they also engage visitors in deeper conversations about themselves and the world.
“We welcome folks to take pictures but there is much more to it than that,” Chin says. “Our intention is to create a place for folks to connect with each other on a whole new level through art.”
Sweet Spot by Shawn Causey and Mark Daniellx PHOTO: Victor Ren
Take “The Last Word” by Illegal Art, one of the fourteen exhibits in the first Philadelphia line-up. Thousands of tightly rolled scrolls, dyed red on one end and white on the other, contain words left unsaid. Visitors are encouraged to write their own unexpressed sentiments on a scroll and add them to the exhibit.
“It’s important to come here with an open mind,” Chin says. “Being vulnerable isn’t the default for most people, but those that let themselves be open to these new experiences will get the most out of it.”
At Wonderspaces, connecting through art is also about play. In “Body Paint” by Memo Akten, visitors use their natural movement and dance abilities as a paintbrush to create new compositions digitally.
Body Paint by Memo Akten PHOTO: Tyler Holbrook
And could you imagine what the world would be like if you could control the sun? In “Sun” by Phillip Schutte, that scenario is literally placed into your hands in the form of a big, bouncy ball.
Founded in 2016 in California, Wonderspaces has welcomed 300,000 visitors to their shows in San Diego and Scottsdale, AZ. This latest location in Philadelphia is their largest to date and the first on the East Coast.
“Talking to local artists here, their excitement is palpable,” says general manager Jenn McCreary. “They’re super excited to see work that they don’t need to travel to NYC, LA or Art Basel to see — it’s all here. We have such a robust arts community. This is taking it up to the next level.”
For more information on Wonderspaces and to buy tickets, visit: philadelphia.wonderspaces.com