Germantown City Hall

Topics of Great Importance, an Information Department project within Germantown City Hall

From May 23 – June 30, 2013, Germantown City Hall opened within the disused beaux-arts structure known as Germantown Town Hall in the northwest Philadelphia neighborhood of Germantown. Modeled after town centers in 19th-century utopian communities in the Northeast and -west, Germantown City Hall was a horizontal civic space in which all citizens of Germantown were welcome to present workshops, hold meetings, install art, perform, discuss, and so on: anything free and non-commercial. Although the site was part of a festival for which there was an entry fee (the 2013 Hidden City Philadelphia Festival), all avowed citizens of Germantown were exempt from an admission fee. No IDs were checked.

Germantown City Hall offered to the citizens of Germantown use of its historic Rotunda; a Workshop, home to many of the Think Tank’s workshops, as well as their Germantown Asset Map and other materials; and an Information Department, which provided free use of its copy/print services and housed the Topics of Great Importance, as well as other materials. Over its six-week existence, City Hall hosted over 50 such events, as well as countless unscheduled conversations, and hosted a garden operated by the Germantown Artists Roundtable and an archive of local memorabilia run by local volunteer archivists.

Germantown City Hall was a collaboration between Jacob Wick, the Think Tank that has yet to be named…, and Information DepartmentGermantown City Hall was commissioned by Hidden City Philadelphia for the 2013 Hidden City Festival with the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Entrance to Germantown City Hall (2013). City Hall sign by Katie Hargrave; other signs by local volunteers.