Wow! adds a little art to Passyunk

Passyunk Avenue isn’t known for it’s art galleries. But that didn’t leave Paul Kauffman too jaded to open one. Kauffman transformed his antique shop Century Cool on 20th Street into an art exhibit.

On July 25, Wow! debuted its opening collection, which features new and upcoming artists who are either current students or recent grads. The featured artists at the July opening were Michael Tolbert, Jimmy Bellew, Mike Willcox, Daniel James Papa and Ali Sign Photography.

Paul Kauffman also gave aspiring photographer Sara Sturgill her own room and gallery called Wow!. Sturgill was a frequent visitor of the store and loved Kauffman’s style. After talking about the lacking art scene in Passyunk, Kauffman offered Sturgill the opportunity to create her gallery.

Without a distinct theme for the exhibit, Sturgill simply hopes to get people saying exactly what the gallery is called – “Wow!” Both Kauffman and Sturgill look for eye-catching and unique works. While it’s too early to tell if the gallery will take off, the preparations are in the works for a second showing August 24 at 6 p.m. This show will feature paintings by Sarah Shoemaker and Ducky Duke, photography by Lili Perez and Kristin Wolkak and digital illustrations by Jay Laudeman.

The artists, mostly unknown students, sell their art during the show. Sturgill emphasizes that this is an opportunity to help support local artists. For these students, even small exposure is still exposure. 20th Century Cool, the shop that is home to Wow!, is also home to some crazy merchandise that you probably won’t find anywhere else. Temple students receive a 20 percent discount on all store merchandise with valid identification. You can check out their MySpace page at to see just how unique and original it is.

For more information, contact Sara Sturgill at 443-553-5408 or e-mail

Sara J. Gamble can be reached at

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