Artists thrive through adversity because art is a marvelous transformation of adversity. No matter how difficult the times we face, artists smile, rise and get back to the life of art. What do Chester artists do in tough times like these? They Reclaim, Repurpose, Rebuild and #RemainCreative!

#RemainCreative is a Chester Made social media campaign that will keep our audience engaged and thinking creatively during this time of limited in-person interaction. Facebook & Instagram posts as well as E-blasts to our mailing list will show Chester artists continuing to thrive in their field while staying at home, healthy and safe. We will also post videos that will flash back to past Chester Made events, workshops, and activities that might inspire a creative post of your own.

Check out this awesome article written by Keystone Edge on the #RemainCreative campaign!

Tune in to the Chester Made Facebook Page on #MotivationMondays to hear what Chester Artists are currently doing to #RemainCreative, and again on #ThrowBackThursdays for some past inspiration and ways to stay engaged during these trying times. Show us your relentless passion. Share your unstoppable dedication. #RemainCreative, Chester!



Chester Made Cuba Artist Exchange Exhibition


The Exchange Exhibition scheduled for March 19th has been postponed.

New date and time to be shared soon! Stay tuned.

Questions? Email Chester Made at chestermade@pahumanities.org


Chester Made Artist and Storyteller Residencies

Chester Made launched our inaugural Artist and Storyteller Residencies in January 2020.

This first cohort of Chester Made artists hosted experiential workshops on wellness tea talks, glorious stilt walks and vibrant canvas chalks. Together we honored our history, our hearts and hopes as we grew even stronger in community.

Read more about the residencies at pahumanities.org/ArtistResidency.

Support for Chester Made provided by Spring Point Partners.


Using art to transform a community


By Devon Walls, August 6, 2019

"For me, “Chester Made” is an affirmation of what has been my lifelong dedication to the city that has formed who I am as an artist and entrepreneur."

So says Devon Walls, Artistic Director to the Chester Made project, who was just featured in a WHYY story. Check out what else he has to say in the article link below!

"The common thread here is that the people of Chester – whether they have achieved international fame or were only known as local legends – have a built-in determination that continues to be the bedrock of our success. With this, we’ve been able to share what we know with an ever expanding community that now reaches around the globe."


A Look At Past Events

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Friday, Sept. 20th, 2019 at the Deshong Park Clock Tower.

Chester Made artists Kenny Hunt, Damian Parson, and Artistic Director Devon Walls collaborated on this art installation over the Deshong Park Clocktower, giving it it's first makeover in over 60 years. At the unveiling on Sept. 20th they spoke about how this is just the beginning for Chester revitalization and the community reclaiming the clock, park and other city landmarks.

Read about it in the Delco Daily Times here and view more photos on our Facebook page here.


Walk Tall with Sistah Mafalda and Chester Made!


Walk Tall--a workshop that gave attendees young and old the chance to build something for their community AND to practice walking tall on actual stilts! Participants worked together to build 12 pairs of stilts that will be enjoyed at community events for years to come. They also learned how to use them!

View more photos from the workshop here.


Mandela Washington Fellowship Exchange


On July 23rd Chester Made welcomed a group of young leaders from Sub Saharan Africa who are visiting the US under the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The event was educational, engaging, and most importantly — extremely fun!

Read Taylor Tolton's blog post about the experience here! Taylor is the Program and Communications Associate at PHC.

View more photos from the event here.

Lights On Chester

Lights on Chester


On June 21st Chester Made organized an arts and cultural festival to celebrate Overtown's impressive legacy and blooming present. Featured among numerous activities was a full screening of the Illuminate Chester documentary series, complete with its last installment, Return to Overtown. All entertainments and refreshments were free and open to the public. The weather was beautiful and the attendees shone in their red carpet attire. Thank you to everyone who attended!

There are many thanks to give, to local businesses and entertainers and to all the coordinators who made it happen.

More specifically, thank you to Misty Sol for her community quilting, to all the businesses who opened their doors — Abstract Reality Art Gallery, SoulStreet Lounge, Jahlil Beats’ DTLR, Yamean’s Clothing Shop, Search & Rescue custom furniture, Brothers Restaurant, Edith Blackwell’s Clothing Boutique, JR Kickz, DCHS, MJ Freed Theater — to Troyanna Nelson of Johnnie Mae Events for hosting, and, of course, to Event Manager Crystal Burrell of The Missing Plug for organizing everything. Thank you also to all the media representatives who covered the event: to local media CMP, WURD, NBC News10, and Visions Video Pro for doing interviews and Green River Digital Media for their photography.

For the entertainment thank you to Angelque Satchell for organizing the performances by vocalists John Carr and Angelque Satchell herself, musicians Mr Collins, and Riq, and word artists Kristie Barnes and Ricky Taylor.

Delicious refreshments were provided by Brothers Restaurant, Big Vars waterice, and Sally's Food Truck.

Check out photos from Lights on Chester here.

Illuminate Chester

On May 2nd, 2019, the third installment of the Illuminate Chester series, "Lost Paradise: A Gentleman's Gift To Chester Part 1," premiered at MJ Freed Theater and on the Chester Made Facebook page. Following the film, Chester residents, historians, teachers, students and the people who helped make the film possible joined in a spirited conversation about the past, present, and future of Deshong Art Museum and Park.

On May 30th we premiered "Lost Paradise: A Gentleman's Gift To Chester Part 2," which was succeeded by an open and engrossing conversation regarding the legacy and future of the Deshong Museum and Park.

We look forward to ongoing exploration about Deshong and the many historic sites and people that make Chester so wonderful. Listen to the discussion again and add your comments in writing on our Facebook page @ChesterMadePA.

Visit our Illuminate Chester webpage to view all premiered mini-documentaries.

This series is made possible with funding from PECO.


Policing The Truth


Policing The Truth, a multi-faceted presentation and panel discussion that examined how editors, every-day people, and media managers filter and forward information to the public, took place on Thursday, April 25th, 2019. Thank you to Bill Marimow for his enlightening opening lecture, and to Zulene Mayfield, Sara Lomax-Reese, Eric "Brother Shomari" Grimes, and Superintendent Mike Chitwood for all of the sage advice and inspiring commentary.

Feedback from those in attendance ranged from learning about the extent of environmental racism in Chester to understanding that we all play a role in the fight for the truth.

View more photos from the event here.

Read: PA Humanities Council helps communities reclaim their stories

We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.


Light Up The Night


On Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 Chester Made hosted Light Up The Night, a tactical urbanism event comprised of a pop-up, outdoor art gallery, spoken work performances, local catering and more! This FREE event took place on the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge in Chester, PA.

Check out more photos from the event here.

Original support for the Chester Made Cultural Exploration Zone was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


Remembering Walker 'Baby' Carter

Walker Carter was a beloved member of the Chester community having graduated from Chester High in 1974, attending Widener University where he made history in football and track & field, both as a player and later a coach, and working as a dedicated PECO lineman for many years. On Thursday, March 14th Chester Made celebrated with family, friends, neighbors and old classmates and co-workers who shared stories, tears and laughter in commemoration of a good man who is surely missed. View Walker's mini-documentary here.

Click here to view more photos on our Facebook page.


Chester: Whose History Is It, Anyway?

November 7, 2018

Delaware County Historical Society, 408 Avenue of the States, Chester PA

On Nov. 7th Pulitzer Prize winning author Steven Hahn presented an invigorating lecture on the role of Black people in the emancipation of slaves. This was followed by an enlightening panel discussion with Julie Rainbow, Eric ‘Brother Shomari’ Grimes, and Jordan B. Smith on matters including the purpose of history, story ownership and interpretation, and every day people holding the key to answering the question, whose history is it anyway?

Check out more photos from the event here!


Broken Pieces Art Series

July 20-September 8, 2018

Devon Walls and Chester artists and healers, including Misty Sol, Van Buren Payne, India Famous on Jupiter, and Fatima Hafiz-Wahid, explored and expanded their creativity along with participants through a variety of artistic mediums--painting, fine arts, spoken word, meditation and yoga. Chester's dynamic diversity was celebrated through creative expressions which ultimately strengthened the fabric of the Chester community.

Click here to see photos and read more about this incredible series of workshop.


Telling Chester Stories with Tanisha LaVerne Grant

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA

Tanisha LaVerne Grant joined Chester Made and MJ Freed Theater in presenting Telling Chester Stories. She led an all-day workshop and presented an evening lecture where she shared her skills and gave everyone an inside look at the day in the life of an entertainment journalist from Chester, PA. Thank you to participants who attended the workshop and showed their skills in the "guerrilla journalism" activity. Check out some of their amazing stories on our Youtube channel.

We also had fantasatic coverage by local community reporters Stefan Roots on The Stefan Roots Blog and Amanda Has Joy on the Chester View, check them out!


Chester Made’s Camp LegaCy: Making My Museum


Tuesday, July 24 through Thursday, July 26 at MJ Freed Theater

This year's Chester Made Summer Humanities Camp, Camp LegaCy: Making My Museum, was a success! Campers learned about their city's history, created their own triptychs and brought in artifacts that represent their legacy. They were presented with certificates of completion and archivist gloves so they can continue upholding the values and skills gained throughout the week. Check out our coverage on 6abc action news here!


Community Branding & The Hundred Year Plan: Everything is Useful!


Friday, May 4, 6:30-8pm

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA

MJ Freed Theater, Butcher Shop Rehab and Chester Made hosted an evening with Ouigi Theodore, creative director and founder of The Brooklyn Circus. Ouigi presented Community Branding & The Hundred Year Plan: Everything is Useful, and explored how Chester’s history, culture and unique identity can create a community brand that sets it apart from brands not grounded in community and brings what everyone has to offer to the forefront.


Archaeology and Identity: Connecting People and Things


Community Talk and Workshop April 20-21, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA

After exploring various sites said to be part of Chester’s secret underground passage ways, Rebecca Yamin joined Chester Made historians and residents for an enthusiastic presentation of Archaeology and Identity: Connecting People and Things.

Then on Saturday, a small group of participants shared stories and connected over objects that hold significant meaning in their lives. With Rebecca's historical insight, we recognized how these object truly connect us to the past and how together these artifacts and our stories create a profile of the community not clouded in myth.

Read: Chester Tells Its Story to the Next Generation (Humanities Magazine)


City Visionaries: Lessons from Chester, Chicago and Detroit

March 16-17, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA 19013

Chester Made, Devon Walls, L. Ward and Kenya Abdul Hadi hosted Chicago's Theaster Gates and Detroit's Kimberly Driggins for a reception and lively, informative talk on creative and cultural rebuilding in their communities.

Participants thought about how we can, with or best selves, make our cities better, Kimberly and Theaster presented about people-focused approaches to development, and visionaries from all over exchanged ideas about reclaiming, repurposing and rebuilding their cities with arts, culture and their communities.

Learn more about Devon Walls, Theaster Gates and Kimberly Driggins. Listen to Devon Walls talk about the transformation of downtown Chester in this video about a mural by artist Mary Lacy. Devon Walls is Director of MJ Freed, President of New Day Chester and Founder of Artist Warehouse. Next watch Gates’s TED Talk on how he got involved as an artist and social activist in rebuilding his neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago. Gates is currently Professor in the Department of Visual Arts and Director of the Place Lab at the University of Chicago. Then hear from distinguished city planner, Kimberly Driggins, when she was LOEB Fellow at Harvard about her early work in creative placemaking in Washington, DC. Driggins is now Director of Strategic Planning in the City of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department and the Mayor’s representative for arts and culture for the City of Detroit.


Tools 101: Desk Building Workshop

February 21 & 24, 2018

Chester Made Makerspace, 511 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA

Students, families, and friends who attended this session of Tools 101 worked with Jeff Pond of The Public Workshop and Tyler Rodkey of Painting Freedom Ministries to learn some tool basics and build their own compact wall desk. We hope these desks will be as useful as they were fun to create!


Biography of a Place: Power and Justice at the 1724 Court House

February 24, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA

As follow up to re-imagining the past through the lens of power and place with Laura Barraclough on Feb. 2-3, Chester Made, Widener University, and collaborating community historians toured the city's Court House with Carol Fireng of Chester Historical Preservation Committee, delved into archives with Margaret Johnson at Delaware County Historical Society, and explored new ideas for remapping Chester together.


Chester Community History Programs

February 2-3, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA

On Friday, people who live, work, study, and play in Chester gathered to tell a different story of the city they love. Yale historian and author of A People’s Guide to Los Angeles, Laura Barraclough, shared examples of remapping efforts in LA and cities alike in her presentation, “Insurgent Scholarship and Radical Tourism: The Making of ‘A People’s Guide’.”

Attendees were then invited to “Re-mapping Chester: Spaces of Struggle, Resistance, and Solidarity,” on Saturday to reflect on social movements that have taken place in Chester and how place-based narratives are powerful resources in amplifying a more genuine history of the city.


Frame Your History Build

January 27, 2018

Chester Made Makerspace, 511 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA

Participants built a picture frame—and celebrated their family history—with Emily Bunker of The Public Workshop. Each person learned the step-by-step process to measure, cut, and create their own personalized frame that they got to take home! The frames now showcase memorable photos and one-of-a-kind artwork which holds special meaning in this community.


A Chester Story Screening and Discussion


January 15, 2018

MJ Freed Theater, 515 Avenue of the States, Chester PA
Chester Made and MJ Freed Theater hosted a special showing of "A Chester Story"—a documentary experience written, produced and directed by Ulysses 'Butch' Slaughter and Devon Walls. View more photos from the event on the Chester Made Facebook page and check out press coverge on The Stefan Roots Blog as well as The Delaware County Daily Times.