‘A Hidden Gem’: Behind the Scenes at the Most Unique Philly Venue

What makes Artesano a unique destination for Philadelphia weddings? Perhaps, it’s the powdery sweet and savory ham and cheese beignets (pardon the sugar dust trail) by internationally-trained Chef Kelly Cook. Maybe it’s the uncommon experiential vibe within this early 1900s sprawling warehouse-turned event venue just over Manayunk’s Green Lane Bridge that attracts couples as far as New York. But ultimately, it’s the creative details, time and care that Ivan Roa takes with his clients.

“My favorite part of the wedding industry is knowing we created wonderful memories in many people’s lives,” said Roa who oversees venue management, décor and sales.


Shrimp and appetizers on reception table with art on walls and pink uplighting at Artesano's philadelphia wedding venue.


Along with partners Jaime and Mildred Kaplan, Roa is co-owner of Artesano Gallery. All hailing from Venezuela, the Kaplans and Roa met in Philadelphia. Together, Roa, formerly a flower shop owner and The Kaplans envisioned an opportunity in the events market. Their timing couldn’t have been better as today’s couples seek something different.


Pictured: Ivan Roa, co-owner and manager of Artesano Gallery

It’s Roa’s professionalism combined with passion, creativity and an outgoing personality (and an occasional spoken ‘dah-ling’) that result in extraordinary Artesano weddings. His passion shows, calling Artesano an incredible place.

The spacious 21,000 square foot corner venue is a sensory experience beginning with architectural hand-forged iron, bronze and mixed metal pieces dotting the walkway as you turn toward the entryway. A 17-foot glass facade opens to the lobby.

“Our lobby without a doubt [is my favorite space]! The welcoming sight at the very entrance with our grand, green tropical wall and hand forged iron staircase.


This lobby is absolutely the most photogenic spot in Philly,” he said.

The lobby features a massive live green wall with variations of emerald, olive and purple hued texture, bringing in the fresh scent and earthy elements of the outdoors. Gram worthy features like this meet you at every turn – and installed during its 2016 renovation, before Instagram was even popular. Each space stands on its own. Together, they create a natural flow from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception with seating for 250 guests.


bride and groom kissing by wrought iron stairs and floor to ceiling live plant wall at artesano's unique philadelphia wedding venue.


“It’s truly a hidden gem,” said Roa.

Even Artesano’s name is unique and different, meaning ‘craftsman’ in Spanish. It reflects its roots as a design showroom when it first opened in 2000. In fact, it still showcases unique pieces making it a one-of-a-kind Philadelphia wedding venue with rotating gallery pieces. Couples may even add a piece to their event or wedding registry that last a lifetime.

But the creativity does not stop there and flows throughout the wedding menu.



“Real, eclectic, sexy, elegant, fabulous” is how Roa describes it.


appetizers on decorative serving tray at Artesano's philadelphia wedding venue.


“Our Chef never stops creating new dishes, so every day I have a new and different favorite. My current favorite hors d’oeuvre to eat would be her sexy spicy seared scallops with hot chocolate sauce,” Roa said.


appetizers on silver spoons on rectangle silver tray at Artesano.


So what makes Artesano a unique wedding destination? For Roa, everything: “our philosophy, our space, our décor, the food, service, planning, attention to detail—just to name a few.”

Photos provided by Artesano Gallery


Get in contact with Ivan Roa and check out this unique venue on PartySpace.