Welcome to the Restoration

ABOUT THE ARTHAUS

Exterior of 3-story building
BUILDING HISTORY
  • Originally built in approximately 1860.
  • 1915: Opened as a Pharmacy
  • 1979: William & Ena Swain purchased the property & opened the Swain Accounting & Print Shop

A FAMILY OF SUBSTANCE:

  • The Swains were well-known staples in the Germantown business community.
  • Mr. Swain was a prominent printer and the first African American to earn the prestigious “Union Bug” badge from the Philadelphia Printers Union.
  • Mrs. Swain, an author, activist & community historian, was the first African-American bookkeeper and accountant for the W.C. Schmidt & Sons Inc. brewery in Philadelphia.

STEEPED IN COMMUNITY HISTORY

Built in the early twentieth century, this Germantown landmark still boasts handcrafted glass-fronted cabinetry from its early years as a pharmacy. The building is best known as the site of William and Ena Swain’s accounting business and printshop and is affectionately known as “The Swain Building”.

The Swains were prominent African American business leaders and historians  in their day, and inspired by their entrepreneurial drive, we are restoring and reinvigorating The Swain Building as the Germantown ArtHaus.

THE ARTS ARE ESSENTIAL.

Exposure to and participation in the arts are of crucial importance to all people. The arts teach essential skills, including creative thinking, perseverance, teamwork, and self-discipline, that have the power to enhance and change lives for the better.

Post-restoration the ArtHaus will inspire and empower the individual through the arts thereby strengthening the community. Fully committed to fostering creativity and entrepreneurship, we aim to create a vibrant, uplifting, and safe space for the community and artists to interact and create.

Please help make our dreams a reality.

MEET THE TEAM

The Germantown ArtHaus is sponsored by The Artist Bank, a Philadelphia-based arts & education non-profit.

Keisha Whatley

Keisha Whatley

Founder

Raised in West Philadelphia, Keisha Whatley is a Philadelphia artist who graduated from the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. At a very young age, Keisha excelled at the drawing and painting discipline and went on to study at Parsons School of Design (NY), The School of Visual Arts (NY) and The Art Institute of Philadelphia (PA). Using her creativity as the main ingredient, her work aims to create something aesthetically beautiful while challenging viewers to question beliefs, inherent biases and the need for compassion in everyday life. She started Custom Arts Studio, LLC, a full service visual arts business, in 2014. 

“I am going to make everything around me beautiful; that will be my life.” This quote, by Elise de Wolfe, resonates with Keisha on a very visceral level. When thinking about her work, and the various forms it takes, this quote expresses her life’s mission- to make everything around her beautiful. The Germantown ArtHaus is the most recent expression of this mission.

Her work can be seen at The Please Touch Museum, The Black Writers Museum and The Colored Girls Museum, both in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Her work has also been exhibited at The Barnes Foundation Museum on the Ben Franklin Parkway and spotlighted on QVC and The Home Shopping Network.

Craig Kaplan

Craig Kaplan

Board Member

Craig Kaplan, a Philadelphia native is a prolific media specialist with extensive experience creating philanthropic campaigns and events for professional athletes, musicians and non-profit organizations.

His award-winning agency, Hashtag Media, offers clients a full range of creative solutions. Most important to Kaplan, though, is the work he does for hundreds of charitable organizations raising millions of dollars for community-based organizations. His passion to give back is always focused on helping Philadelphia.

Eleena de Lisser

Eleena de Lisser

Board Member

Eleena de Lisser is a Director of Marketing Communications at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal. A graduate of both the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, Eleena is a creative strategist and problem solver who brings a keen business insight, communications expertise and experience as a marketer to her role on the Artist Bank Board and Germantown ArtHaus Advisory Council. A previous resident of Germantown for 10 years, Eleena supports Germantown ArtHaus because she believes in the transformative power of art to inspire and uplift people and communities.

Peter Breslow

Peter Breslow

Board Member

Peter Breslow is obsessed with creating buzz. He’s been professionally pursuing buzz since 1990 when he launched a Philadelphia-based craft brewery, and has since led the PR and branding efforts for a host of professionals, star chefs, restaurateurs, real estate developers, retail entrepreneurs, fashion designers, hotels, conference centers, shopping centers and a billion dollar casino.

Having secured news coverage for his clients in the top tier of the world’s media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, People, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, CNN, Food Network, Travel Channel, Saturday Night Live and ESPN, Breslow’s accomplishments, along with his high energy and affable personality make him a one-of-a-kind maverick in the world of PR and marketing. One could say that Peter Breslow has ignited serious buzz about himself while generating a tremendous amount of attention for his clients over the past 3+ decades.

ARTHAUS COMMUNITY ADVISORS

Michael Andrews

Michael Andrews

Vanessa Chandler

Vanessa Chandler

Paige Elizabeth

Paige Elizabeth

Marelisa Gibson

Marelisa Gibson

Leah Johnson

Leah Johnson

Keshida Layone

Keshida Layone

Chelsey Luster

Chelsey Luster

Andrea Silver

Andrea Silver

Emilee Taylor

Emilee Taylor

Lena Vanier

Lena Vanier