Community leaps to Art Garage support

by Walt Maguire
Posted 8/25/21

The community support for the Mt. Airy Art Garage resulted in a quick resolution to a night of vandalism.

A few weeks ago, the Pride and Black Lives Matter flags had been ripped down from the …

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Community leaps to Art Garage support

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The community support for the Mt. Airy Art Garage resulted in a quick resolution to a night of vandalism.

A few weeks ago, the Pride and Black Lives Matter flags had been ripped down from the front of the building. Linda Slodki, co-founder and former executive director, posted the incident on NextDoor.com and the offers for assistance started rolling in.

“People offered to put the flags back up,” said Olshan, the gallery’s director. There were offers of security cameras and at least one offer to do the camera wiring for free.

The hero of the day turned out to be Chris Steel, a general contractor from Ambler. “Not only did he [re]install the flags from the roof,” said Slodki, “he also repaired the damage done to the wood and painted the outside.”

The flags now hang out of reach for passers-by tempted to yank on them.

Steel’s business is called The Kilted Kraftsman (he does like to wear kilts). He had no connection with the gallery, had never been there, but saw the posting on NextDoor and contacted the gallery. “He said everybody has a right to fly whatever flag they want to fly,” said Slodki. “He’s just the sweetest guy.”

He’ll also be installing six security cameras. Slodki said MAAG reached their fundraising goal of $500 last Saturday, and the installation work will begin soon.

As with Steel, many of the donations came from people with no connection to the gallery other than a community connection. “People just rise up to stuff. You don’t see it coming.”

The gallery started 12 years ago in a space on Mt. Airy Avenue, then moved to 6622 Germantown Avenue, and then in Spring 2021 moved to 7054 Germantown (Germantown and Mt. Pleasant Aves.).

“Every time MAAG has run into some kind of challenge, the community stepped forward to support us and to make sure we continue.”

Slodki and Olshan were excited by the support, with many neighbors reaching out to express outrage at the damage and offer assistance. “Those flags were back up four says after they were torn down, said Slodki. “Flying stronger and higher.”

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