The community space captures the essence of Germantown’s past and present and creates opportunities for the future. Many may know it as the former Lucien Crump Art Gallery, but it is now led by Courtney Childs and is a pinnacle of Germantown’s art and creativity scene.

The big bay windows at the corner of Germantown Avenue and W Johnson Street are windows to the soul of Germantown, capturing timeless scenery within its frames. From the 1880s through the 1960s, the architecture served as J.F. Rausenberger’s Bee Hive Meat Market, highlighting an exchange of commerce and the emergence of the Germantown economy. The building’s frame more perfectly fits a picture of the Lucien Crump Art Gallery, the foundation’s following bustle of community and color. Courtney Childs’, the Founder & Owner of Our House Culture Center, has reframed 6380 Germantown Avenue as a blank canvas for its next display.

Childs is a licensed real estate agent. While her growing portfolio demonstrates, in plain black and white, her expertise in sales, residential property management, and commercial property management, her creative and prolific pattern is always present within her projects.

Childs notes the emergence of her career, working downtown at an office building. Tasked with marketing empty space into a selling point, Childs rented the space for professional networking events and happy hours. Her passion for event planning was a fervent motivation behind her actions; however, she was in search of a place that reflected her mindset.

“The focus of Our House is more creative and more cultural, a community center,” Childs explained.

This blueprint, clearing a space amidst the event ideas and real estate property management strategies twiddling in her thoughts, was the main focus walking into the naturally sunlit walls of 6380 Germantown Avenue. The owner was looking for a new use of the space.

In its extensive chronicles of liveliness, the Lucien Crump Art Gallery was the most recent installment and a special era to which the building has borne witness. It’s nostalgic to Childs, who recalls walking past at a young age and staring in awe at Crump’s newest floorset of art. 

Crump’s memory is kept close to not just her heart but generations of Germantown residents who got to experience 40 years of Philadelphia’s first Black-owned art gallery, illuminated in honor, glory, and the sun’s rays, which seems to beam just a tad bit brighter in the studio space. 

Our House Culture Center visitors come in just to boast about their moms and grandmoms' official Lucien Crump Art Gallery purchase. Students stop by and express gratitude towards Crump’s teachings, as the gallery’s relics of creativity, community, and education are cemented in the paint strokes of its walls.

Childs’ vision, which has successfully become today’s reality, was for Our House Culture Center to pay homage to the genius of the Lucien Crump Art Gallery and the neighborhood it so deeply loved. 

“I knew that if I offered a space that honored the area, that honored the people, that wasn't charging over the top prices; that I would invite the fabric of the community, and they, themselves, would build the space,” Child expressed.

The scenes previously framed by the big bay windows are now a still picture. However, Our House Culture Center is a consistent reel of scenery, ushering in shots of community engagement and glee from all angles: concerts (with “Ghetto Songs” rock lineup being one of Childs’ favorites), film screenings, weddings (including a surprise engagement and wedding ceremony all-in-one), baby showers, bible studies, and even a Community Joy Project which consists of adults jumping on mattress to remind them of a childhood joy; just to name a few.

While society’s constant surge of creativity and innovation is almost always coupled with a rise in cost, Childs charges little to none for events. She is more interested in improving her community, which she sees as a place that elevates the influence of herself and fellow creatives alike. In recognition of Germantown’s flair and dedication to the Lucien Crump Art Gallery, Our House Culture Center hosts the quarterly Germantown Art & Sound show.

Germantown Art & Sound gathering. (Julian Moore-Griffin)

Rashied Amon, owner of SOOK Vinyl & Vintage, is among the visionaries showcased in Germantown Art & Sound. This safe space inspired Amon to establish his customized T-shirts and records on brick-and-mortar foundations.

“I’d like to thank Courtney for allowing me to activate in the space for an extended tenure and help develop the residency program. The data, confidence, and momentum I gained in that endeavor was a catalyst to opening the vinyl lounge,” Amon said.

While Amon has his own roots in Germantown now, a range of fond memories of collaboration in his career has found a home at Our House Culture Center.

Outside the art show, Childs offers opportunities for artists to share their insights with different community members, becoming a hub of communication, connection, and continuation. Shameka Sawyer, owner of the 5 Shorts Project, first discovered the space in 2021 when looking for a welcoming classroom to host her Youth Production Program. With a common goal of accessibility to the arts, Childs and Sawyer feed and nurture each other's aspirations. 

Our House Culture Center has become a regular meeting space for the 5 Shorts Project and the behind-the-scenes location for some of Sawyer’s award-winning 40 short films.

“It's been a great opportunity because I have a dedicated place to use without having to worry about time limits [or other obstacles while filming]. I also get to meet community members who stop in to see what I'm working on and learn more about the 5 Shorts Project,” Sawyer explains.

Looking to the future, Childs says, “I want to continue to serve. I want to continue to inspire by what happens at Our House,” Child said.

Her message is apparent in the name: Our art. Our community. Our preservation. Our House Culture Center. 

For more information on the space or how to reserve it, visit their website, email, or call (267) 354-0689. Their Instagram, @iloveourhouse, is also available to view a scrapbook of Our House Culture Center’s community engagement and events.