project leader
Tanner House F
location
2908 W. Diamond St.
(Strawberry Mansion / North Central Philadelphia)
latest update rss
"Painting in the Park" to Celebrate Henry O. Tanner's 163rd Birthday (6/19/2022)

the project

PROJECT REMINDER: Every donation to every ioby campaign is fully tax-deductible. When donors give, they receive an automated thank you from ioby that provides them documentation of their tax-deductible donation. Read more in ioby FAQ.

Summary

The Henry O. Tanner House, located at 2908 W. Diamond Street in North Central Philadelphia, is in immediate need of support to repair and restore the family home of the internationally renowned artist. Recently, L&I labeled the property an unsafe structure though they believe it can be saved, jump-starting a local community of African-American preservation advocates to establish an intermediary strategy. We are working with its owner to strategize for the extensive restoration work that is needed to stabilize the structure and he will be approving all activity. We call ourselves the Friends of The Henry O. Tanner House. Without these urgent and necessary repairs, this National Historic Landmark (registered in 1976) may be lost forever. There’s many possibilities for its future as a valued community asset, but all this is not realizable without first achieving these initial goal of raising $300K for its restoration. Our commitment within this all-volunteer effort is that every dollar raised will be invested into sustaining the property. The fundraiser will conclude on a very special June 21, 2022 in commemoration of Tanner's 163rd birthday.

About Henry O. Tanner

Recognized as “the most distinguished African-American artist of the nineteenth century”, Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) forged a path to international success, powerfully influencing younger black artists who came after him. Henry O. Tanner was 13 when his father moved the family to the house at 2908 W. Diamond Street, not far from East Fairmount Park. Tanner professed his origin story as an artist by recounting walking around Fairmount Park with his father, Benjamin Tucker Tanner, and seeing someone painting a landscape. He decided at that moment to become an artist. In his own words: “But, after seeing this artist at work for an hour, it was decided on the spot, by me at least, that I would become one, and I assure you it was no ordinary one I had in mind.”


Henry Ossawa Tanner; His Boyhood Dream Comes True / Faith Ringgold

As initially reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, there’s more to the history of the House that surrounds Henry O. Tanner. His father, Benjamin Tucker Tanner, moved to 2908 W. Diamond St. after being appointed to lead the founding church of the African Episcopal Methodist faith—Mother Bethel AME —in 1872. He would eventually retire from ministerial duty to run the nationally heralded Christian Recorder. Henry also had to live in the proverbial shadow of his brilliant older sister, Dr. Halle Tanner Dillon Johnson. She earned an MD with high honors in 1891, becoming one of the first black women physicians in the United States. She then became the first woman of any race to be licensed to practice medicine in Alabama, personally invited by Booker T. Washington to serve at Tuskegee Institute. Henry O. Tanner’s niece, Sadie T. M. Alexander, for whom the Penn Alexander School in West Philadelphia is named, was born in the house and returned to live there while pursuing her doctorate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s no surprise that descendant Rae Alexander-Minter recalled that historian Carter G. Woodson dubbed Tanner’s house, “the center of the Black intellectual community in Philadelphia” during its time.


Henry O. Tanner’s father, Benjamin Tucker Tanner outside 2908 W. Diamond St., Early 1900s

the steps

The Friends of the Henry O. Tanner House have utilized a recent (August 2021) engineer's report of 2908 Diamond St. alongside more current physical surveys, with estimates sourced from several licensed contractors to determine the budget for the extensive repairs needed. We've projected the costs ($300K) in alignment with the more stringent standards required for rehabbing historic properties.

Philadelphia's Historic Commission and L&I (Licenses & Inspection) have both agreed that this property, although currently deteriorating, can be salvaged. Long term water damage has severely impacted the property. In direct dialogue with experts, we've identified priorities: The immediate focus will be revitalizing the foundation, then followed closely by rehabbing the exterior wall which has bowed, and then the complete replacement of the roof to ensure the structural integrity of the Henry O. Tanner House. Once these urgent needs of stabilization have been addressed, we've identified a subsection of the budget to attend to restoring the interior of the home.

Our goal is to fundraise from the end of Black History Month to Henry O. Tanner’s 163rd birthday on June 21, 2022. All funds raised will be used in service of repairing the property. We’re in consistent communication with the owner and if this project is successful, we see on the horizon a potential opportunity for strategizing its public reuse. Yet for now, the focus is on safety and stabilization of the property.

PROJECT REMINDER: Every donation to every ioby campaign is fully tax-deductible. When donors give, they receive an automated thank you from ioby that provides them documentation of their tax-deductible donation. Read more in ioby FAQ.

why we're doing it

We’ve established the Friends of the Henry O. Tanner House on the shared importance of supporting 2908 W. Diamond St. as it represents the preservation of significant Black Philadelphia legacies and globally-applauded historic accomplishments. With the investment of the proper resources, we believe that it can serve various community-centered possibilities for present and future generations of Philadelphia artists, intellectuals, changemakers, tourists, and visitors.

Some of our individual members are listed here (in alphabetical order):

  • Mary Enoch Elizabeth Baxter, Award-Winning Philadelphia-based Artist, 2021 Frieze Impact Prize Award Winner, 2022 Corrina Mehiel Fellow
  • Deborah Gary, President, DHEx Enterprises, and Co-Founder, Society to Preserve Philadelphia African American Assets (SPPAAA)
  • Tyler A. Ray, Republican Leader for the 16th Ward, Docent & Historical Researcher for Church of the Advocate
  • Judith Robinson, Historic Preservationist, Community Advocate, Real Estate Broker
  • Christopher R. Rogers, Philly Black History Preservation Advocate & Ph.D Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
  • Jacqueline Wiggins, Wiggins Tours and More, Longtime African-American Preservation Advocate in Philadelphia

Organizational endorsements:

  • The Dox Thrash House Project, in agreement with the McIntosh Rollins Foundation, 2021 Young Friends Award Winner for the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia 
  • 32ndWardRCO, 2021 John Andrew Gallery Community Action Award Winner for the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia
  • Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. The mission of the Preservation Alliance is to actively promote the appreciation, protection, and appropriate use and development of the Philadelphia region’s historic buildings, communities and landscapes.

We are more than interested for others (locally, nationally, and internationally) to join us in the work to restore this national historic landmark. You can email us directly at tannerhousefriends@gmail.com

budget

The Friends of the Henry O. Tanner House have utilized a recent (August 2021) Engineer's Report of 2908 Diamond St. alongside more current physical surveys, with estimates sourced from several licensed contractors to determine the budget for the extensive repairs needed. We've projected the costs ($300K) in alignment with the more stringent standards required for rehabbing historic properties.

Philadelphia's Historic Commission and L&I (Licenses & Inspection) have both agreed that this property, although currently deteriorating, can be salvaged. Long term water damage has severely impacted the property. In direct dialogue with experts, we've identified priorities: The immediate focus will be revitalizing the foundation, followed closely by rehabbing the exterior wall which has bowed, and then the complete replacement of the roof to ensure the structural integrity of the Henry O. Tanner House. Once these urgent needs of exterior stabilization have been addressed, we've identified a subset of the budget to attend to restoring the interior of the home.

Returning to the assessment from the original National Historic Landmark nomination, its critical for us to remember that these Greek Revival properties were built to last. Every dollar given will go toward stabilizing and restoring the property.



TOTAL PROJECT FUNDING NEEDED $300,000
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $9,278
TOTAL TO RAISE= $309,278

Donation processing fees apply to donations only. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised.

updates

"Painting in the Park" to Celebrate Henry O. Tanner's 163rd Birthday (6/19/2022)

EVENT: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/painting-in-the-park-for-henry-o-tanners-163rd-birthday-family-fun-tickets-360009928387

JOIN US OUTSIDE THE HATFIELD HOUSE FOR A SPECIAL FAMILY FRIENDLY "PAINTING IN THE PARK" PARTY

DONATE TO SAVE THE HENRY O. TANNER HOUSE!

A young Henry Ossawa Tanner explored Fairmount Park with his father, Benjamin Tucker Tanner, coming upon someone painting landscapes in the park. He decided at that moment to become an artist. In his own words: “But, after seeing this artist at work for an hour, it was decided on the spot, by me at least, that I would become one, and I assure you it was no ordinary one I had in mind.” Image by Faith Ringgold, from His Boyhood Dream Come True (2010)

Art Facilitation led by Anu Hagins, 12, Emerging Philadelphia Artist Extraordinaire

Friends of Tanner House Meetup at The Philadelphia Museum of Art (6/17/2022)

Join with the Friends of the Tanner House for a special meetup at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Unwind from the week with locally sourced spirits and wines, tasty small plates, a late stroll in our galleries, and live music.

On this special night, enjoy a musical tribute to Juneteenth and Black Music Month with Rashaan Rich and the JuneB All Stars.

RSVP: https://bit.ly/tannerhousepma

THIS MEETUP EXTENDS UPON A NEW FUNDRAISING PARTNERSHIP. Incredibly grateful to our new friends at @philamuseumstore. Posted @withregram • @philamuseumstore Recognized as “the most distinguished African-American artist of the nineteenth century”, Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) forged a path to international success, powerfully influencing younger black artists who came after him. His painting The Annunciation (1898), was acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1899, and was the museum’s first acquisition by a Black artist. It is one of five Tanner paintings at the museum and remains one of his most celebrated works.

The Henry O. Tanner House, located at 2908 W. Diamond Street in North Central Philadelphia, is in immediate need of support to stabilize, repair, and restore the family home of the internationally renowned artist.

Through the end of June, The Philadelphia Museum of Art will donate 20% the profits of all Annunciation image sales to The Friends of Tanner House to help support their efforts. You can also donate directly, link in bio. Follow @tannerhousefriends to learn more.

Have you read about the campaign in the Philadelphia Inquirer? (3/2/2022)

Thanks to Valerie Russ of the Philadelphia Inquirer for covering the campaign. Read the article here!

Please continue to share and direct people to the campaign page. We have a lot more milestones to reach. LET'S KEEP GOING!

Sunday March 13, 100 Days Out! Learn more with the Friends of the Tanner House

THIS SUNDAY! RSVP for Zoom/Facebook convo: https://bit.ly/tannerhouselive

Learn about the campaign with the Friends of the Henry O. Tanner House. Visit the main campaign page at: https://ioby.org/project/save-henry-o-tanner-house

Our project will support the stabilization of the Henry O. Tanner House, a National Historic Landmark. With your contribution, we can secure its future for generations of Philadelphia artists, intellectuals, changemakers, tourists, and visitors.

photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

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