In 2016 PHC received two major grants to move Chester Made into its next phase, from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. All funds supported the development of a Chester Made Exploration Zone in the 500 block of Avenue of the States. The zone gave community members the chance to engage with one another, learn more about the city’s cultural assets and history, and continue to rebuild their downtown and change perceptions about Chester.

Along with the Philadelphia-based organization Public Workshop, PHC and Chester’s Artist Warehouse worked with residents to temporarily animate vacant spaces through a pop-up builder’s workshop, other outdoor public art activities and tactical urbanism. PHC led efforts with Twyla Simpkins, local historians, and Widener University in the collection, interpretation, and animation of community history, as well as to conduct national exchanges with artists in Chicago and Gary, Indiana.

Throughout the Chester Exploration Zone period, Chester Made offered a rich and diverse array of events and programs that promoted hands-on building, art-making, dialogue, equitable development, and placekeeping.   Between August 2016 and June 2019, Chester Made held 140 events with 6,907 participants. There were 17,777 online engagements, 6 radio appearances, 2 television appearances, and 20 live streams.  Check out our Projects page to see more from these exciting programs and activities.

Project Partners

Chester Made project partners included the Artist Warehouse, Butcher Shop Rehab, City of Chester, Widener University, Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Public Workshop, Yes We Can Achievement & Cultural Center, and Creative Research & Evaluation.


Major support has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, PECO, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Wells Fargo, and Pennsylvania Abolition Society.