Tyler artists debut two-day festival

Six Tyler students and alumni put together this weekend’s Rock Bass Rainbow Fest.

Six Tyler students and alumni put together this weekend’s Rock Bass Rainbow Fest.

Image courtesy Rock Bass Rainbow Fest The Cohoquinoque Crew, a group of six former and current Tyler students, founded the Rock Bass Rainbow Fest.

When an enormous warehouse turned event space opened up in Fishtown, dubbed 2424 Studios, six former and current students of the Tyler School of Art decided to pounce on the opportunity to do something big.

“We wanted to come up with an event that would be open to the community, to get some new faces out there and bring like-minded people together,” said Brooke Somers, who graduated last May.

That event will come to fruition this weekend in the form of the Rock Bass Rainbow Fest, a two-day art, music and fashion festival, which will be held inside 2424 Studios’ special event space called the Skybox.

The six young artists form a collective known as the Cohoquinoque Crew, named for the underground Delaware River tributary turned sewage line of the same name, which flows beneath Willow Street. The group also includes Jessica Tyler, Tristan Wright, Willy Akers, Liz Briggs-Fandek and Jo Watko.

Somers, a former ceramics major who also has experience in printmaking and fibers, said the group comprises several different artistic avenues.

“We all have different directions for our artwork, but there are always common threads,” she said.

That sort of diversity may be a good representation of the festival, which will include works in a wide array of artistic categories, including glass, ceramics, painting, photography, soapmaking, clothing design and fashion accessories.

Friday’s event will feature a fashion show, live bands and a DJ at the end of the night, with a suggested donation of $5 for entry. The fashion show will also feature Temple alumni including designers Greg Labold and Emily King.

Saturday will be an all day vendors sale with free admission. It features crafts and artwork on sale from as many as 50 local artists, as well as live music throughout the day.  Doors open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

Somers and her crew seem to be interested less in turning a profit from the event than they are in creating a new forum for local artists.

“We really just wanted a place for artists to show off their art and a venue for them to put it on sale,” she said.

Somers also said this is the Cohoquinoque Crew’s first attempt at such a large-scale event, and the group hopes it will give them the platform to put on more community events in the future. She also noted their interest in public space artwork like murals and park space.

For now, it seems Somers is just focusing on making the Rock Bass Rainbow Fest a success for the artists involved.

“I hope all our vendors end up making millions,” she said with a smile.

Kevin Brosky can be reached at kevinbrosky@temple.edu.

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