Celebration of Joe Chielli Life Exhibition
Joe Chielli, Founder of Church Street Studios since 1987, passed away on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 11:30 p.m. Joe was my mentor since 2011. He never had children, thought of me as his daughter, business partner, friend, and wanted to pass the business along to me when he retired. The past two years he has been battling cancer. We chose not to tell many people about it for the sake of the business.
During Joe’s fight against cancer within the first year, I took the enunciative to save Church Street Studios in Old City through a lease purchase agreement. In October of 2016 the ceiling collapsed due to sewage pipes bursting. It was a total nightmare running the businesses by renting other studio spaces and working on locations. I broke the contract to purchase the location when nothing was being done to repair it. In December 2016 I discovered a new home for Church Street Studios and ArtChick LLC at 1844 N Front Street, Philadelphia. Joe was proud of me for keeping things together throughout these terrible circumstances. Joe was not able to work with me in the space but he enjoyed the photos and videos of the progress of putting the studio back together.
When Joe passed away I felt lost without him. I just wanted to drive to every location we spent time together to feel his presence. It was at this moment of thoughts that I realized that others would feel as lost as me. So this brought me to the idea of curating an installation of his life long work. His wife and family decided to have this celebration to be announced in the future. It will give me more time to go through 30 years of his archives. If you have any request for images simply reach out to me and provide me with date of your session with Joe and your full name.
I will keep everyone up to date with more details on this show. In the meantime I am continuing to run Church Street Studios and ArtChick. Keeping the business alive and myself busy, it is not only therapeutic for me, but to my imagination and understanding of Joe’s wishes, he would be very proud looking down on us all supporting one another.
On a side note. Here’s a moment I was fortunate to capture after Joe and I worked together on an assignment. He wanted me to see this art museum; as I was unfamiliar and curious about the area, and there was a piano; the room was empty, and he played for me in the moment.
Thank you for reading and see you soon!
Kristine Di Grigoli