Residents hold Juneteenth art pop up to help save famous Tanner House

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It houses generational stories of the Philadelphia's Tanner Family, but the historical site is in desperate need of repairs, so a band of residents are crowdfunding to keep this history from being erased.

The once home to world renowned artist Henry Ossawa Tanner is dilapidated.

The walls are bucking. There's extensive water damage to the floors and the roof of 2908 West Diamond Street in North Philadelphia needs replacing.

"Figuring out what we can do to save this national, historic landmark," said Christopher Rogers, Friends of Tanner House.

There's a real concern that history could be erased.

"The house is in deteriorating conditions. We need to get intervention done," said Rogers.

And so earlier this year, Friends of Tanner House began a crowdfunding campaign with the goal for phase one at $300,000. So far, $21,000 has been raised.

This weekend for Juneteenth, Friends of Tanner House are hoping to raise more funds by inviting families to paint in Fairmount Park.

"One of the stories of Henry Tanner's life is he went with his father to Fairmount park. He saw someone and that's when he decided, I want to become an artist," said Rogers.

Tanner studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and is known for paintings like Portrait of the Artist's Mother, which is housed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
His father, Reverend Benjamin Tucker Tanner, was editor of the Christian Recorder. His sister was the first woman to be certified to practice medicine in Alabama.

"It tells a story of the history of North Philadelphia in relation to the African American community," said Judith Robinson, Friends of Tanner House. "It's one house and many stories."

The owner of the home lives in Florida and reportedly needs help with upkeep.

The Friends of Tanner house are hoping this weekend's Juneteenth event can help them inch closer to their goal.

For more information:
Friends of the Henry O. Tanner House
Painting in the Park
Save the Henry O. Tanner House
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