HAAS & HAHN OF
MURALARTS.ORG INSIDE: Phillies Mural Project pg. 3 | Philly Painting pg. 4-5 | The Roots Mural Project pg. 7 OFF THE WALL ISSUE: SPRING 2012
A letter from Jane Dear Friends, At Mural Arts, we don’t stand still. We’re always on the move, dreaming up new projects, and then flying into action, working around the clock to make those projects a reality. And while it might sound exhausting, it is, in fact, exhilarating – to explore the boundaries of what public art can do, and then to test those boundaries as we push our own limits. Over the past 27 years, we have helped demonstrate the impact community based public art can have on the social and cultural fabric of our city. As Mural Arts continues to evolve, we strive to refine our social practice, creating innovative, intentional public art projects with the greatest potential for impact within the neighborhoods we serve – projects in which the process and the outcome of the project are as carefully considered and as significant as the project itself. What we have found is that the stories behind the art are as inspiring and thrilling as the art itself – in fact these stories are the life-blood of our program and what motivates us to do our work. We understand that every project is an artist making a living wage; a community finding their voice; a healing moment for a victim of violence or social injustice; an ex-offender who won’t return to prison; a high school graduate who would have otherwise dropped out; a commercial corridor that grows and retains its value; a story uncovered that brings truth to light.
I am thrilled to share some of those stories with you in this newsletter — stories about our yearlong residency with Dutch artists Haas & Hahn, who are creating public art projects that will transform major corridors in Philadelphia; our collaboration with GRAMMY® Award-winning hip-hop icons The Roots; our Restorative Justice program’s work at the Marathon Master Street Farm; our project working with survivors of the earthquake in Haiti, and much more. To celebrate what we do, and in recognition that we couldn’t do it without your support, I invite you to join me for the 8th annual Wall Ball fundraising gala on May 31st. We will be honoring the legendary hip-hop band The Roots, and presenting the Mayor’s Award to Steve and Christina Graham, State Senator Vincent Hughes and his wife, actress, activist, and philanthropist Sheryl Lee Ralph. We have loved working with The Roots on a new mural project and art education curriculum, and are star struck to have them join us at Wall Ball. The Grahams have been wonderful supporters of Mural Arts and committed philanthropists in our city, and Senator Hughes and Sheryl Lee have been such incredible advocates for our organization at every level. I hope you can join us! Thank you all for your continued support. Best,
Photo credit: Paul Loftland
Photo credit: Kathy Poole
Photo credit: Commonwealth Media Services
Top: Jane Golden, Philadelphia Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez, Mural Arts Chief Operating Officer Joan Reilly. Middle: Artist Steve Powers and Jane Golden. Bottom: Jane Golden, artist Scott Shall, artist Eurhi Jones and Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett.
SUPPORT MURAL AR TS! Director of Communications Jennifer McCreary Editor in Chief Kevin Slattery Editorial Caitlin Butler, Development Associate Almaz Crowe, Special Events and Marketing Manager Maura Cuffie, Development Intern Paul Dobry, Office Manager Iman Martin, Marketing Intern Vanessa Mortillo, Development Associate Mary Kate O’Keefe, Marketing Intern Kevin Roche, Institutional Giving Manager 2
Design Chellerose Buscarino, Lead Graphic Designer Brandon Kauffman, Graphic Design Consultant Suzanne Slattery, Graphic Design Intern Photography Meredith Edlow Photography Alisa Hathaway, Photo Intern Joseph Hoffman, Photo Intern Dan King Photography Bryan Lathrop Photography Tommy Leonardi Photography Paul Loftland Photography Kathy Poole, Photo Intern Eunice Yu, Photo Intern
Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the mission of the Mural Arts Program. Support from individuals, businesses, corporations, and foundations is vital to the Mural Arts Program’s ongoing work.
• To Donate to the Mural Ar ts Pr ogram: MURALARTS.ORG/SUPPORT • Support the Mural Arts Program through United Way Donor Choice #12472 Photo credit for cover image: Dan King
Photo credit: Miles Kennedy for the Phillies
Photo credit: Miles Kennedy for the Phillies
Photo credit: Miles Kennedy for the Phillies
Left: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels and muralist David McShane. Top Right: Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz and pitcher David Herndon take time out of their spring training to paint a section of the Phillies Mural. Bottom Right: Phillies fans paint 5’ x 5’ panels of the mural during a spring training game in Clearwater, Florida.
Epic Phillies Mural Will Be Dedicated This Summer In the seven months since its announcement, the Phillies mural has taken on a life of its own. Fans of every age have participated in bringing the 128 year-old baseball team’s story to life through painting activities and online voting contests, all of which will culminate in a special dedication this summer in Center City. Artist David McShane led community paint days at Citizens Bank Park for Phillies staff and fans as well as special events for the players and owners. “The response and support for the project has been incredible,” said McShane. During spring training in Clearwater, Florida, the team’s diehard supporters enjoyed sun and fun, helping to paint shortstop Jimmy Rollins’ and Cole Hamels’ figures and other recent additions to the mural’s cast of characters including catcher Carlos Ruiz, Baseball Hall of Famers and former Phillies Mike Schmidt, Pat Gammick, and Dallas Green, and former left fielder Greg “The Bull” Luzinski, who was one of the winners of the online “Final Phillie Vote” contest. The final mural, which will consist of dozens of 5’ x 5’ sheets of parachute cloth, will be adhered to the exterior of an eight-story building on Walnut Street in Center City Philadelphia. To prepare for the installation, Mural
Arts will resurface the wall and remove climbing vines, debris, trash, and weeds at the base of the site. The mural will be dedicated on Friday, August 10 to coincide with the Phillies Alumni Weekend. Several former players—including Mitch Williams (pitcher), Darren Daulton (catcher), Tug McGraw (pitcher), and Mike Schmidt (third baseman)—are featured in this timeless homage to Philadelphia’s beloved baseball club. “We are excited to see the final mural and dedicate it with our alumni and what we believe are the best fans in all of baseball,” said Michael Harris, Director of Marketing and Special Projects for the Phillies. “Working with the Mural Arts Program has been a great experience and has helped both organizations expand our community involvement efforts.” One lucky Phillies fan will win the online “2012 Fan in the Phillies Mural” sweepstakes and will be featured in the mural. Hundreds of people have entered online for this amazing chance to have their image included as a face in the crowd.
To learn more: muralarts.org/phillies | phillies.com/mural Funded by: Philadelphia Phillies 3
Photo credit: Dan King
Philly Painting: Dutch Duo Make Philly Home and Spark Transformation Mural Arts is thrilled to host world-famous Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn, the duo also known as Haas & Hahn, for a year-long artist residency that began last September. The two are best known for transforming urban landscapes around the world with vibrant artworks, most notably their Favela Painting project in the hilltop favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That spirit of transformation is at the heart of the collaboration with Mural Arts and a range of civic partners to revitalize and re-energize Philadelphia’s commercial corridors. The larger economic development strategy, spearheaded by City Council President, Darrell Clarke, has also engaged the City’s Department of Commerce and the Planning Commission. The two artists, along with Mural Arts, have also had a close working relationship with the Village of Arts and Humanities, Diane Bridges of Neighborhood Enrichment Transformation Community Development Corporation (NET CDC), and others in order to build trust and communication with the community at large. Interface Studios and dozens of local business and community representatives are also an integral part of the group needed to execute the innovative mural projects. In late 2010, Mural Arts invited Haas & Hahn to Philadelphia for a three-day scouting tour and, as a collaborative team, discerned both the possibilities for and the urgency of this venture. One year later, they joined Mural Arts in Philadelphia for an adventure through which they are creating their first permanent art projects in North America, titled Philly Painting.
Over the duration of this process, they are being challenged to consider how to inhabit not just a block or a district, but an entire city, through related site-responsive projects on Germantown Avenue in North Philadelphia as well as in Manayunk and Center City. Urhahn’s immediate response to working in North Philadelphia speaks to a belief shared by Mural Arts and the diverse communities it serves. “We like realness. This is a very real city. That is something very beautiful about Philly,” said Urhahn. Based out of a temporary residence and work studio, both located in North Philadelphia just off of Germantown Avenue, the artists hit the ground running by quickly acquainting themselves with neighbors by hosting barbeques and visiting local businesses to capture both literal and figurative images of the neighborhood. They developed a color palette, including patterns of recurring reds and greens that reflect the neighborhood and the city’s quintessentially complex character. In developing the designs for Philly Painting, specifically for their work in North Philadelphia, they have been reshaping swatches of color to transcend the architecture of the individual buildings, bringing out the rich colors that exist already and lending uniformity to what has been a visually inconsistent stretch of Germantown Avenue, from the 2500 to 2800 blocks. “We are painting our own neighborhood,” said Urhahn, who coincidentally first experienced Germantown Avenue about 15 years ago while visiting
Mural Design: Haas & Hahn
Photo credit: Dan King
Photo credit: Haas & Hahn for favelapainting.com
Photo credit: Dan King
Top Left: Design sample from Philly Painting in Germantown. Top Right: Favela Painting project in Rio de Janeiro. Bottom Left: Haas & Hahn’s studio in North Philadelphia showcases light boxes of their mural work in Brazil. Bottom right: Dre Urhahn and Jeroen Koolhaas
a friend who took him shopping there. “We have friends here. We feel respectful and defensive of the neighborhood. They are wary of people coming in. They want to see positive change.” Haas & Hahn’s approach to the Philly Painting project has provided an instructive and subtle extension of Mural Arts’ typical community and design development process. One of the strengths of their work, according to Urhahn, is their ability to revel in the unknown and follow their instincts. “Our medium is urbanity and randomness and our design reacts to situations. With Mural Arts, artists don’t usually say, ‘I don’t know. Let’s just get started.’ So this is an interesting project for everyone, for us to take a project that was born in an environment of freedom, and to translate that into a regulated environment,” Urhahn said. The artists are coordinating the work not only with Mural Arts but also with more than 100 property owners. “It has been interesting learning to dance with each other without stepping on toes. The project is larger than us, and Mural Arts, combined. There is no model for it. We pride ourselves in not knowing answers, but we know the questions,” he said. The pair want to bring customers to local businesses and help reinvigorate the neighborhood to the vibrant place that it once was. They see the project as an urban experiment, to find out what happens to the post-modern
American city and to see how we value and define our neighborhoods by essentially using the project “to market the community.” With the design for the Germantown Avenue work complete, they will be joined by a team of local residents who will be artists’ assistants for the duration of the painting, to begin in May and completed in early autumn. With the design finalized and the painting process about to begin on Germantown Avenue, Haas & Hahn have already started to consider the community process for the large-scale mural projects in Center City and Manayunk.
To learn more: muralarts.org/phillypainting | phillypainting.org This project was made possible through the support of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which announced in May 2011 that Mural Arts was one of 36 Philadelphia-based organizations funded through the Knight Arts Challenge, a community-wide contest and open call in late 2010 designed to inspire Philadelphia’s cultural organizations and creative thinkers to propose art-based projects in Philadelphia. In addition to the Knight Foundation, Philly Painting is supported through our partnership with several arts, civic and business leaders, and is being generously funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Bank of America, Goldman Properties and Manayunk Special Services District.
APM Mural Design: Betsy Casañas
S.T.O.P. Mural Design Detail: James Burns
The Porch Light Initiative: Seeing Results Through a Scientific Lens The Porch Light Initiative, Mural Arts’ three-year initiative to place art and mural-making at the heart of the recovery process at three behavioral health clinics in Philadelphia, is pleased to report on its progress. The second year of the Initiative kicked-off in October 2011 with the continuation of workshops at Project H.O.M.E., Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), and Sobriety Through Out-Patient (S.T.O.P.). Workshops convene weekly until May 2012 and include instruction in visual art, writing, and performance. Concurrently, Porch Light is engaging behavioral health service recipients with artists and community members to envision and create three major public art projects during the summer of 2012. Mural Arts hopes that the relationships formed during the creative process will promote understanding of and support for the recovery process and help destigmatize behavioral health and substance abuse challenges.
“Evaluating the impact of mural-making is complicated because art, and in particular public art, has the potential to have an impact at multiple levels, such as at the level of the individual, the community or neighborhood, and the agency in which mural-making takes place,” said Tebes. “It also involves collecting data over time about quantities as well as qualities of particular attributes or conditions that are expected to change, which is why the plan for the evaluation involves a longitudinal, mixed methods design in which both quantitative and qualitative data are collected.” Sara Ansell, Program Manager for the Initiative, has already seen the benefits from the external assessment.
Mural Arts has received positive informal feedback from partners, community members, and participants who express that Porch Light is an innovative and effective addition to the clinics’ standard treatment approach.
“The evaluation has encouraged Mural Arts to develop a structure that includes clearly defined timelines, recruitment and retention goals, and documentation efforts,” said Ansell. “Paying close attention to these program elements has contributed to a robust program model and has brought us into especially close collaboration with our behavioral health partners.”
“The artists inspire me,” said an anonymous program participant. “I thought, oh my God, this is me putting up a mural. I never would have thought that about me before. And here I am.”
To learn more: muralarts.org/porchlight
Although this informal response hints at the strategy’s efficacy, Mural Arts decided at the program’s outset to study its impact through a scientific lens, because of the novelty of the initiative and its potential for replication.
To this end, Yale clinical/community psychologists Jacob Tebes and Samantha Matlin have been commissioned to lead a rigorous evaluation of the program. Findings from their research efforts will shape future program implementation and help us share the Porch Light model with a broader audience.
Funded by: City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual disAbility Services, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Independence Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, The Patricia Kind Family Foundation
Photo credit: Danny Clinch
The Roots band members (left to right): Mark Kelley, Frank “Knuckles” Walker, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, “Captain Kirk” Douglas, Kamal Gray, James Poyser, Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” Bryson.
The Roots Dig Deep The Roots Mural Project is several steps closer to fruition, with the artist team, mural location and studio space announced at a special press event on South Street in the Headhouse District. The site of a former mural titled Brazilian Rainforest, this 5,075 square-foot wall will be covered by a massive work of art celebrating the musical creativity and genius of Philadelphia’s hip hop heroes, especially founders Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter. Bringing this vibrant mural to life is Amber Collective artists Charles Barbin, David Guinn, Willis “Nomo” Humphrey, Keir Johnston, and Ernel Martinez, featuring Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The Collective has exhibited its work across the country and internationally. Each is committed to teaching our Art Education Program students how to perfect their craft and become young leaders. In addition, an innovative ‘Roots 101’ curriculum has been created with our teaching artist faculty to engage and empower students in telling their stories through various medium
and integrate their design concepts into the mural design. “The first meeting with the artists was amazing; we shared ideas of what the final mural could end up looking like. It’s beyond anything Tariq and I ever dreamed of,” said ?uestlove. In addition to The Roots mural project workshops, the public can participate in the mural-making process during paint days, performances, and lectures at locations throughout the city, including the new studio space at 641 South Street. This storefront, which is part of the AoS (Arts on South) initiative, serves as the activity hub for the eight-month project and will host exhibitions, panel discussions, entertainment, mural activities, and more.
dream hampton, Touré, and Talib Kweli. These musicians, writers, visual artists, rappers, and academics will discuss the impact of The Roots on the musical and cultural landscape, the music business, women in hip hop, and other hot topics. Fans of all ages are invited to a special paint day during Wawa Welcome America! celebration where they can paint elements of the actual mural, which will be dedicated as part of a block party during Mural Arts month in October 2012. Also premiering in the fall is The Roots mural project photo exhibition and ‘making-of’ video, which will document the entire undertaking and feature behind-the-scenes interviews with the band, muralists, students, staff, and lecture series speakers.
To learn more: muralarts.org/theroots Special guests invited to speak during the lecture series include Dice Raw, Ursula Rucker, Lady B, Jesse Washington, Amanda Seales,
Funded by: City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, F.A.O. Schwartz Family Foundation 7
IT’S TIME FOR A... GIRL’S NIGHT
GRAB A BITE // Murals & Meals Tour
Call up your girlfriends to let them know you’re hitting the town to see murals.
1 Photo credit: Bryan Lathrop
HAVE A DRINK // Ale & Arts Adventure Tour The Ale & Arts Adventure combines a mural tour with beer sampling and a behind the scenes brewery or pub tour. Try the Walking Adventure for a pub crawl style mural tour in Center City, or the Trolley Adventure for a trip to a microbrewery - either tour is sure to be an exciting experience for the 21-and-over crowd.
Text your friends, roommates, and study buddies to leave the library early and meet for a mural tour. Photo credit: Albert Yee
STEP OUT // Mural Mile Walking Tour
Make lasting family memories: take a tour or paint a mural.
2 Photo credit: Bryan Lathrop
Learn about the history of Center City neighborhoods, including Midtown Village, the Avenue of the Arts, South Street, and more, as one of our guides leads your family along the Mural Mile. “The Mural Mile walking tour is Philadelphia’s edgier, more contemporary version of Boston’s Freedom Trail.” – Philadelphia Daily News
FALL IN LOVE // Love Letter Train Tour
Surprise your better half with a unique experience that blends the best of public art and the city scene.
Ride the elevated subway train with one of our guides to view Love Letter, a critically-acclaimed series of 50 romantic rooftop murals created by renowned artist Steve Powers. The murals collectively express a love letter from a guy to a girl, from an artist to his hometown, and from local residents to their West Philadelphia neighborhood.
Photo credit: Sarah@FlickFoto
BREATH OF FRESH AIR
PEDAL FORWARD // Bike Tour
Put on your sneakers and take a mural-inspired urban adventure.
Enjoy a taste of Philadelphia’s visual and culinary arts in one convenient package when you book a Murals & Meals Tour. Take a trolley tour and break bread at one of our partnering restaurants that feature diverse menu options suitable for all budgets. The tour route depends on the location of the selected restaurant.
Photo credit: Bryan Lathrop
Get on your bike and meet one of our experienced guides to tour murals in Fairmount and Spring Garden. Get close-up shots of the murals while fitting a light workout into your weekend. The tour ends with a scenic ride down Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway and along Boathouse Row. Participants must bring their own bikes and helmets.
4 7 Photo credit: Bryan Lathrop
Photo credit: Adam Wallacavage
HAVE A DRINK // Ale & Arts Adventure Tour
HOP ON // Neighborhood Trolley Tour
Combine a guided trolley tour with a beer tasting at a local microbrewery or pub. Perfect for groups of friends looking to try something new! The tour route depends on the location of the selected pub.
Jump on the trolley and join us for a guided tour of one of five neighborhood routes, including North Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, Broad Street, and Center City. These tours offer a unique way to learn about the history of each neighborhood and its community members.
Photo credit: Albert Yee
8 Photo credit: Steve Weinik
PAINT THE TOWN // Experiential Tour
PEDAL FORWARD // Bike Tour
Participate in a guided trolley tour, meet one of our master muralists, and roll up your sleeves to help paint a real mural in our paint studio. This is perfect for understanding the life of a muralist and is a fun group activity. Leave your mark on the ‘City of Murals’ with a custom experience you and your friends are sure to remember!
Put on your helmet and meet one of our experienced guides to tour murals in Fairmount and Spring Garden. Get close to the murals, take photos, and fit a light workout into your weekend with this active tour. The experience ends with a scenic ride down Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway and along Boathouse Row. Participants must bring their own bike and helmet.
LEARN // Albert M. Greenfield African American Iconic Images Collection Tour Join us for a guided trolley tour of the award-winning Albert M. Greenfield African American Iconic Images Collection, curated in collaboration with the African American Museum in Philadelphia. The tour route features 21 murals depicting African-American culture, traditions and history. Inquire about purchasing a tour package with admission to the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
MURAL CREDITS 1. Theater of Life, © 2002 Mural Arts/Meg Saligman 2. Pride & Progress, © 2003 Mural Arts/Ann Northrup 3. Mapping Courage, © 2008 Mural Arts/Willis Humphrey 4. WXPN Kids Corner, © 2009 Mural Arts/David McShane
5 Photo credit: Meredith Edlow
6. Common Threads, © 1998 Mural Arts/Meg Saligman 7. Love Letter, © 2009 Mural Arts/Steve Powers 8. Jackie Robinson, © 1997 Mural Arts/David McShane
GRAB A BITE // Murals & Meals Tour Combine a guided trolley tour with a meal at one of our partnering restaurants. Enjoy a taste of Philadelphia’s visual and culinary arts in one convenient package. Diverse menu options are available, suitable for all budgets. The tour route depends on the location of the selected restaurant.
5. A Celebration of Poetry, © 2003 Mural Arts/Parris Stancell
MURAL CAPITAL OF THE
6 Photo credit: Bryan Lathrop
STEP OUT // Mural Mile Walking Tour Learn about the history of Center City neighborhoods, including Midtown Village, the Avenue of the Arts, South Street, and more, as one of our guides leads you on foot along the Mural Mile. “The Mural Mile walking tour is Philadelphia’s edgier, more contemporary version of Boston’s Freedom Trail.” – Philadelphia Daily News
Learn about Mural Arts’ early history, our award-winning Art Education, Restorative Justice and Community engagement programs, mural-making techniques, and unique insights into the stories behind our murals. All proceeds benefit Mural Arts Program initiatives.
muralarts.or g/tour 215-925-3633
Photo credit: Tim Simmons
Marathon Project Fosters Growth in the Garden and in the Community During the past several months, the Mural Arts’ Guild program has been working in collaboration with the Marathon Master Street Farm, located in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia, to create storage, a prep area, and an outdoor educational space for the farm. Operated by a non-profit organization founded by Cary Borish called The New Growth Project, the farm offers a model for how restaurants and farmers’ markets can support local agriculture and help build healthy communities.
The farm sells a portion of its yield to Marathon Restaurants, another part at the Fairmount Farmers’ Market, and the rest to the immediate community at a reduced rate. The garden also serves as a community gathering place and education center where residents can learn about gardening, nutrition, and cooking.
Mural Design: Eric Okdeh
The New Growth Project first approached Mural Arts to discuss creating a mural on one of the walls bordering the farm, but Mural Arts’ Restorative Justice Program soon realized that the farm would also serve as a great site for its Guild program, which uses an arts-based approach to help exoffenders and young adults on probation learn job skills while making a positive impact on their communities. The farm was in need of new facilities for storage, preparation, and community education programs. The manager also hoped to add a chicken coop. During fall 2011, members of The Guild program collaborated with The New Growth Project to design and build several structures. “I learned how to build an outdoor kitchen, shed, and vegetable cleaning area at the farm,” said Guild participant Kareem Henry. “I now have the construction and landscaping skills that will help me with my goal of having a career in real estate. With the skills I learned on the farm, I know I can achieve this.” The project is making it possible for Guild participants to learn and apply skills in construction while serving the Brewerytown community. When participants look for permanent work at the end of their tenure with the Guild, their experience at Marathon Master Street Farm will help them market themselves to employers. Artist Eurhi Jones is working with neighborhood residents to envision a mural for the space. Using their ideas and input, she recently completed a design that juxtaposes natural landforms and botany against the urban grid. Inspired by the Brewerytown community, Jones wanted the mural to explore the rich and complex relationship between people and the land. “City blocks shown in prismatic shades of blues and greens create a bird’s-eye view from the Schuykill to the Delaware with the color interest concentrated on the Brewerytown/Sharswood section,” Jones said. “Topographical map lines highlight the actual lay of the land, as well as the fruit, vegetables, flowers, and other plants that are grown locally.” Interested in providing imagery that can advance the garden’s mission to educate and engage local audiences, Jones chose to focus some of the imagery on beehives, which play a key role in our agricultural industry. “There is an active beehive at Marathon Farm as well as an educational program about agriculture and nutrition,” Jones said. The mural will be painted with help from the Guild participants and installed during spring 2012. 10
Photo credit: Joe Hoffman
Muralist Eric Okdeh works with young community members to paint a panel of the Family Interrupted mural.
To learn more: muralarts.org Funded by: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Marathon Restaurants, Philadelphia Prison System
Family Interrupted: Mural Tells Stories of the Justice System’s Impact Following a year-long process of engagement, design, and fabrication, Eric Okdeh’s Family Interrupted mural will be installed in the beginning of April 2012 on the side of an auto repair shop directly adjacent to King Solomon Baptist Church at Germantown and Dauphin Streets. The final mural design (above) weaves together stories from over 150 people impacted by the justice system as inmates, ex-offenders, friends or family members. Through meetings, online submissions, and collection mailboxes, community members shared stories about how the prison system has impacted their families. Okdeh manages a website (familyinterruptedproject.com) designed to share these stories in print and audio formats, provide information about project partners, and offer links to relevant resources.
The luminous stained glass gothic windows reference King Solomon Baptist Church. During community meetings, families and prisoners often spoke of needing to be strong for one another, a theme Okdeh translated through the introduction of an oak tree as a symbol of strength.
The text interspersed throughout the design is taken from written submissions and community meetings. This excerpt came to Mural Arts through one of the project’s collection mailboxes.
At the close of visiting hours, it is common practice for inmates to take photographs with their families. One of our assistant muralists and a former member of our Guild re-entry program submitted this photo, an artifact from that period of his life.
We are pleased to share Okdeh’s mural design and give a glimpse into how the dialogue has informed the final artistic elements.
To learn more: muralarts.org/familyinterrupted Funded by: Ford Foundation, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Philadelphia Prison System, The Barra Foundation, Connelly Foundation, Hummingbird Foundation, IBM, Lomax Family Foundation, Marathon Restaurants, The Thomas Skelton Harrison Foundation
Okdeh scattered QR codes throughout the mural so that people can use their smart phones to connect directly to stories and audio on the website while engaging with the artwork. This clip features an inmate’s mother speaking about her experience. “The first time he did something it had to be the big one. That’s what kind of hurt me more than anything you know? I know we prayed, I prayed two days for that man, please don’t die. You know that was horrible. And all he says now all the time, ‘Mom, I wish I had just kept going to work’ and I said, ‘I wish you had kept going too.’”
The mural is designed to feature family experiences to the left and inmate experiences to the right. In the intersecting middle area of the wall, Okdeh included imagery that represents forces that mediate relationships between families and inmates.
The artist included a bus, an image that conveys how many people make long trips to visit incarcerated family members.
Scattered throughout the mural are figures crafted from pieces of mirror. Okdeh included this feature as a way to encourage an opinion from members of the general public, who may or may not be impacted by incarceration.
The pair of eyes serves as an iconic image for the project. Designed by an inmate at Graterford Prison, the image was added to the exterior of one of the collection mailboxes.
This QR code takes viewers to the resource page on the Family Interrupted website.
Utley Foundation Partnership to Defend Man’s Best Friend In April 2011, the Pennsylvania Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA) made four dog-fighting busts in a single week, a feat that went down as one of the largest dog-fighting sweeps in Philadelphia’s history. In an ongoing effort to heighten awareness of the prevalence of animal cruelty and combat its effects, Mural Arts partners again with Jennifer and Chase Utley of the Utley Foundation and the PSPCA to create a mural that teaches students the importance of being kind to animals. Photo credit: Tommy Leonardi
This new mural will be located at McVeigh Recreation Center in Kensington, a neighborhood where two of last year’s four busts took place. The project will increase awareness of animal cruelty while engaging youth and other community residents in the beautification of the physical space occupied by the work. “We are extremely excited to begin the new animal kindness mural in Kensington,” said Jennifer Utley. “The partnership between the Utley Foundation and Mural Arts has proved to be a wonderful match and has allowed us to get more involved with the local schools and help bring
Jennifer Utley, Chase Utley, Jane Golden, Principal Denise A. Young and students of Anna B. Pratt Elementary School worked together to create an animal cruelty free zone at the school during last year’s Be Kind to Animals mural collaboration.
awareness and education to these young people living in environments exposed to animal cruelty on a daily basis.”
To learn more: muralarts.org Funded by: Utley All Star Foundation and City of Philadelphia
A Healing Conversation for the Haitian Community which will be installed on the exterior of the survivors’ current residence adjacent to the church on the 5000 block of Wakefield Street. The large mural, Our Voice, Our Strength - Voa Nu, Pwisans Nu, weaves together Haitian icons and facets of Haitian culture in a colorful homage to the survivors of the 2010 earthquake. The artist used vibrant colors that incorporate the full range of the rainbow to communicate the hues typically seen within Haitian culture. The central image is the squash, which plays a significant role in Haitian history and tradition. The image at the bottom left corner of the mural is a tap tap, one the colorful buses that dot Haiti’s public transportation system.
Mural Design: Felix St. Forte and Ernel Martinez
Following the tragic 2010 earthquake in Haiti that left millions of people homeless and in desperate need of medical care, eighteen survivors were relocated to temporary housing in Germantown by Partners in Health. A year later, Mural Arts began working with the survivors and the larger Haitian population in Germantown to produce a new mural that creates a healing conversation, gives voice to and builds connections within the Haitian community. Over the course of 10 weeks, artists Parris Stancell, Felix St. Forte, and Ernel Martinez worked with the group of survivors to teach art-making techniques and brainstorm visions for the finished product. The result of their collaboration is one large scale mural designed by Felix St. Forte and Ernel Martinez that will adorn a nearby Haitian church at 4675 Germantown Avenue, and a smaller mural designed by Parris Stancell 12
Above the tap tap is a depiction of the nation’s statue honoring Le Negre Marron, an unknown freedom fighter symbolizing the thousands of enslaved Haitians who fought for freedom from France. Le Negre Marron is portrayed using the conch shell to make the rallying call for freedom. The two circles on the right side of the mural underscore the resilience of the people and the beauty of the land in Haiti. Installation of this work is underway and will be completed in June 2012. In March, Mural Arts partnered with the Free Library of Philadelphia’s One Book, One Philadelphia program to present an intimate painting activity with renowned Haitian author Edwidge Danticat. This year’s book was Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, a collection of essays by Danticat that illustrates the struggle of making art in exile and what it is like to live and work in a country constantly in conflict, where even the act of reading means taking a stand against oppression.
To learn more: muralarts.org/haiti Funded by: City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and Hummingbird Foundation
Robeson Gets A Makeover One of West Philadelphia’s best-known and most beloved murals recently received a makeover, courtesy of the Albert M. Greenfield African American Iconic Images Collection. Originally painted in 1999, the three story-high image of renaissance man Paul Robeson has been reconceptualized by artist Ernel Martinez to brighten, repair, and rethink the image that formerly stood at this site. Over the years, structural damage to the wall at 4502 Chestnut Street and concern that the mural did not portray the multitalented ‘citizen of the world’ in his best light, prompted Mural Arts to work with the community on updating his image. The result is a stunning mural honoring Robeson’s unparalleled legacy of excellence in the arts, academia, athletics, and human rights. “The Paul Robeson mural is a sustaining force that depicts one man’s drive for excellence,” said Frances Aulston, President and CEO of the Paul Robeson House. “In keeping with Robeson’s trailblazing artistic spirit, Martinez has captured Robeson as a historical figure who not only possessed strong ties to our region, but also whose life serves as an inspirational example of persistence and excellence.”
Photo credit: Dan King for GPTMC
Artist Ernel Martinez stands in front of the recently restored Paul Robeson mural in West Philadelphia.
To learn more: iconic.muralarts.org Funded by: Albert M. Greenfield Foundation, PNC Arts Alive, Engage 2020, National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Humanities Council
MURAL ARTS When we create art with each other and for each other, the force of life can triumph.
IGNITE CHANGE. DONA TE TODA Y!
muralarts.or g/suppor t 13
From Anonymous Space to Beautiful Place Under the Clothespin, a large-scale glass mosaic mural, is a collaboration between artists Emilie Ledieu and Miriam Singer and their all-female team of talented assistants. The piece features a quirky and elegant mash-up of city buildings and architectural highlights, landmark structures from other local neighborhoods, and the personal geographies of Centre Square workers and passersby. We sat down with Emilie and Miriam to learn more about this unique public art installation at Centre Square, located at Market and 15th Streets.
Q: What served as your inspiration for the design of Under the Clothespin?
Artists Emilie Ledieu and Miriam Singer
Miriam: I’m inspired by changing cities, and my personal artwork is a lot about mapping and collage. We designed everything around our first inspiration of moving through Centre Square, using the location, city changes, and the architectural details of the city that really inspired Emilie.
Q: How do you hope to see art ignite change in the community with whom you worked on this project?
Emilie: I’m hoping the change this project ignites is in the Philadelphian experience. For instance, I was working on the mural and I heard this woman come through the doors near the mural saying, “Well, this is where I start walking faster.” Then her friend said, “ Me, too!” This project is located in a part of the city that millions of people use, but rush through. I hope this project will repurpose this space, giving it a new light and life, something bright and beautiful that will make people stop and find their own route in our crazy glass collage.
Q: What was the community process like on this project? M: We used postcards to get people to write about their route to and from Centre Square. We prepared a table with a big map and met
people near the mural site to document their route, getting them to participate as they came off the subway. Drawings from some of the postcards were screen printed directly onto the glass and installed into the mural.
What was it like working closely together on this project? It’s really easy to split things up and call it a collaboration. To me, a real collaboration is finding a common language and speaking it together. This was a challenge, because we have similar interests but totally different styles. However, it was cool that we were able to pinpoint what would work together and what wouldn’t. Miriam switched her artistic style because the project is made out of glass. With me, there was a totally different process Miriam used in the design. I think we both learned a lot and, not to toot our own horns, I think it was a tremendously successful collaboration.
To learn more: muralarts.org/undertheclothespin undertheclothespin.tumblr.com Funded by: Reit Management & Research LLC and CommonWealth REIT
Let me wear the day Well so when it reaches you You will enjoy it. – Sonia Sanchez
This interactive public art project engages the global community in an exploration of haiku, celebrating Philadelphia’s first poet laureate, Sonia Sanchez, a legendary peace worker.
peace.muralarts.org Sponsored by: City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Hummingbird Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts
City of Philadelphia
MuralArtsProgram The Lincoln Financial Mural Arts Center at the Thomas Eakins House 1727-29 Mount Vernon Street Philadelphia, PA 19130 215-685-0750 | muralarts.or g
you’re invited Honoring
THE ROOTS 16
Grammy® Award Winning Hip Hop Band
Steve & Christina Graham State Senator Vincent Hughes & Actress/Activist Sheryl Lee Ralph
Thursday, May 31 6:30 - 10 p.m. Vie, 600 N. Broad Street To Purchase Tickets: muralarts.org | 215-685-0759 Presented By: Photo credit: Danny Clinch