1040 Creative brings arts classes, shows and more to Northern Liberties

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Pictured are 1040 Creative founders Pauline Houston McCall, Sheena Garcia and Marcy Morris.

Northern Liberties is quickly becoming the cornerstone of creativity in Philadelphia.

The neighborhood recently celebrated the opening of its first community arts center, maker space, art gallery and artists studio. This is the fourth consecutive grand opening for Northern Liberties Business Improvement District and another female-owned and Black owned business, adding to the diverse small business mix.

1040 Creative is now officially open and accepting registrations for classes with offerings like Senior Makers Meet-up, Cartoon Express, Still Life Studies, Intro to Toy Design, Little Picasso, Wednesday Wine Down, Davinci Art Club and more.

“Northern Liberties Business District is thrilled to welcome so many new restaurants, retailers and now even a community arts center and another make-focused space,” said NLBID Executive Director Kris Kennedy. “1040 Creative offers much-needed opportunities for adults, teens, and younger kids to gather and be creative together. Their Wednesday Wine Down is particularly cool. What a wonderful way to get to know your neighbors or gather with friends and shed the day. We’re delighted to have them here in Northern Liberties.”
She added, “Seeing businesses like 1040 Creative choose Northern Liberties as their home is fantastic. It really reinforces what a friendly, collaborative neighborhood Northern Liberties is. Between Hudson Table, where you can sign up for a wide variety of cooking classes, to brand new 1040 Creative, which offers art classes for children through adults, and the many comedy nights around the neighborhood, Northern Liberties offers so many ways to try something new.”

1040 Creative is a new concept brought to life by its three owners, makers and artists. This female-owned business is also multi-culturally owned, in the words of the owners, as two of the owners are Black artists — and together they welcome everyone from every background — they want everyone to feel this is an artist and creative home away from home from people in the neighborhood and across the city.

For the concept, 1040 Creative is a cultural hub with art classes for all ages from toddlers to seniors, pop-up workshops, family arts days and gallery exhibitions. The space is also studio space for its three founders—Pauline Houston McCall, Sheena Garcia and Marcy Morris.

“We opened in Northern Liberties because we have deep roots here… We always wanted to break down those barriers of gentrification with more inclusiveness. We also opened here because I know so many of the families here as I bring art, music and gardening programs to many of the preschools and primary schools in the area,” said Pauline Houston McCall, one of 1040 Creative’s founders. “To be honest, it also is really exciting to be a woman own business and to be a woman of color owned business with a primary goal to reach every demographic and age set with great purpose is exciting and fulfilling. The fact that I signed the lease March 1, the first day of Women’s History Month, is pretty significant.”

Houston McCall is an artist, educator and activist with deep roots. She currently resides in Northern Liberties. She has a currently commissioned exhibition at 30 Hudson Yards in New York City and has had recent shows at Capitol Health System in New Jersey and the African American Museum in Philadelphia, as well as other work in shows across the country. She also travels throughout the city bringing music and art to multiple schools and centers.


Garcia is a Philadelphia born artist, curator and arts educator, born in Northern Liberties. Garcia’s artwork has been exhibited regularly with Dizyners Gallery and the Painted Bride in Old City Philadelphia. She has also exhibited consistently with Gallery 54 in Soho, New York City. She is currently partnering with New York City’s Intersection Media as a volunteer curator for the artworks that appear on Philadelphia’s LINKPHL, digital kiosks screens, as well as Plus Kiosks in NYC.

Morris is a multimedia artist, poet and dancer, that is deeply involved in community outreach projects throughout Chester and Camden. Morris is the founder and director of Marcy Morris Artistry, a celebration of imagery and illustrations that celebrates the beauty of the multiple neighborhoods she serves by way of the art making process.

“Nothing exists like this on this side of the city and near Northern Liberties,” said Houston McCall. “We feel there is nothing like this and the community need is there, especially on the heels of the pandemic. Creative social interaction is vital right now.”