Petition Started to Turn Divine Lorraine Into an “Interactive Museum of Contemporary Art”

Portrait of the Divine Lorraine by Caryn Kunkle

Portrait of the Divine Lorraine by Caryn Kunkle

“Do people want something that provides more jobs and connects communities, or would you rather have a gentrification spaceship land here with more condos?” Caryn Kunkle, executive director at The Philadelphia Salon, brings up a valid point. Kunkle is working to turn the beloved Divine Lorraine into an art museum — scratch that, an all-around art and performance space/haven — rather than let the poor old girl become condos. “We have enough apartments,” says Kunkle, “but we don’t have enough art spaces.”

Kunkle is itching to get this project moving. As well she should be, since the idea first went public in 2012. “I have a great team of advisors and art directors. If we can lock down the Divine Lorraine, we have a whole lot of philanthropists who said they would help and write really big checks.”

To help gauge how many people want something like this (versus that gentrification spaceship), Kunkle began an online petition at, where people can show their support. Don’t worry, that’s not a veiled way of saying “donate.” Kunkle refers to the Divine Lorraine as a great opportunity for Philly to have what she calls “a contemporary arts stadium.” The former hotel would function as an artist community, a performance space, a gallery, an auditorium, and a way to bridge North Broad with the Avenue of the Arts.

“Let’s build something for the community that honors the Divine Lorraine’s history,” says Kunkle. “That building was made to connect classes and races and I would love to see it once again be a trendsetter.”

To add your name to the petition (do it!) go here.

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  • Veillantif

    The DL is under private ownership by someone with other plans. The petition is worthless.

    A day late and a dollar short, trustafarians.

  • GroJlart Rhaandarite

    This about as stupid as stupid gets… like banging-head-on-the-wall derr herr derr dumbassery. Eminent Domain a privately-owned building for an art museum? Isn’t there an artist fighting against that very thing in Mantua? So is eminent domain supposed to be bad or good? Make up your minds!!!

    “That building was made to connect classes and races and I would love to see it once again be a trendsetter.”

    NO IT WASN’T. It was built to be apartments for the newly-emergent class of young single rich white men with loads and loads of money. What an idiot.

    “duh duh gentrification spaceship”

    Nothing is wrong with gentrification. The future of Philadelphia completely depends on it. The city is screwed without it, in fact.

  • David

    Dont trust Eric Blumenfeld and any contracts he signs. For the past 18 months he’s been in breach of contract with 15 residents of Abbott’s Square over a Roofing Assessment, owning over $100k. No reporters seem to want to print that David/Goliath story. Screw over the little guy – it’s the American way!