Harrison Elementary, Drew Elementary and Fitzsimons High - Closed 2012



In the Spring of 2012 I was able to document the first three Philadelphia public schools to close as a result of massive budget shortfalls: Harrison Elementary, Drew Elementary and Fitzsimons High.  Nine of the photos were displayed in a month long exhibition at Temple University’s Temple Contemporary Gallery,  which opened on September 6th, 2012.

The opening featured a panel discussion on the state of public education in Philadelphia, moderated by Dale Mezzacappa of The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. Panelists were Nijmie Dzurinko, previously Executive Director of the Philadelphia Student Union, Scott Gordon, CEO of Mastery Charter Schools, and Miriam Hill, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Here is an interview I gave with Lee Tusman that talks a bit about the project, which I am continuing this year, attempting to document all 22 public schools that are being closed.  For a bit of background on the school budget crisis in Philadelphia, check out Dan Denvir’s excellent coverage in the Philadelphia CityPaper (part 1part 2).

Some of these photos were featured in the Spring 2o13 issue of Jacobin Magazine.

Special thanks to Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Hidden City Philadelphia, who co-produced the event!


All works ©2009-2014 Katrina Ohstrom.  If you are interested in using any of my images for anything whatsoever, ASK ME.