LEGENDS ON THE
THE ROOTS MURAL PROJECT
MURALARTS.ORG INSIDE: The Roots Mural Project pg. 3 | How Philly Moves pg. 5 | Porch Light Initiative pg. 6 OFF THE WALL ISSUE: FALL 2011
A letter from Jane Dear Friends, Recently The New York Times ran an article about the surging epidemic of graffiti around the country. The reporter cited many cities that have growing graffiti problems and there was one city conspicuously missing from that list – Philadelphia. Various colleagues from across the United States immediately emailed me the article saying how proud I must be to live in a city where a graffiti crisis was something in the past. Surely it is something we all should be proud of. More importantly, it is a great testament to all the past and present leaders of Philadelphia as well as to the resilient and determined citizens. But it does make me think back. I understand that it is easy to forget that in 1984 Philadelphia had our first African American mayor and a great sense of optimism but also a very serious graffiti crisis. People saw this as a social epidemic, one that was intractable and pervasive, a problem that was here to stay. However, through a collaborative process that wove together communities, young people, artists and city government, what was seen as a common-place and permanent fact of urban living began slowly but surely to disappear. Today, we are all proud to be in a city that is not only cleaner and more inviting but also one that encourages and supports the arts community, ever-striving to uplift its residents and welcome its visitors. We are thrilled to feel like an integral part of a city that can boast such an abundance of public art, one that brings people from all walks of life into engagement with our vibrant neighborhoods.
The same wonderful spirit of public/private partnership that helped create Mural Arts and helped build the collection of Philadelphia’s murals is what continues to drive our program forward. Today, with the generous support of both city government and the private sector, we are seeing our work grow, improve, and evolve each year, as we experiment with the idea of what “muralism” means in the 21st Century. We continue to refine our methods, experiment with new mediums, and bring exciting and daring new artists into the fold. We also have long-standing traditions, like Mural Arts Month, our celebration of all things mural. It is hard to believe but this October is our 11th Mural Arts Month. During October, we will celebrate “31 Days, 31 Ways: Art Ignites Change,” by showcasing new work, acknowledging our wonderful supporters, thanking the incredible citizens of this city, and applauding the talent and creativity of Philadelphia’s artists. We want to invite people of all ages and from all walks of life to connect with our work, as we work to raise awareness of these important programs and exciting projects, many of which are highlighted in these pages. We hope you will join us for at least one of the many inspiring events we have planned. Please see the special insert for more details. Photo credit: Meredith Edlow
Thank you all for your continued support of our work. Best,
SUPPORT MURAL ARTS! Director of Communications Jennifer McCreary Editor in Chief Kevin Slattery
Design Brandon Kauffman, Owner, Type Image Form Chellerose Buscarino, Graphic Design Intern Melissa Fasolino, Graphic Design Intern
Editorial Caitlin Butler, Development Associate Almaz Crowe, Marketing and Special Events Laura Edgar, Marketing Intern Vanessa Mortillo, Development Associate Mary Kate O’Keefe, Marketing Intern Kevin Roche, Individual Giving Manager
Photography Lexi Brown, Photography Intern Meredith Edlow Photography Linda Li, Photography Intern Dan King Photography Aaron Swan Photography Steve Weinik Photography
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 Arts Program:
• Support the Mural Arts Program through United Way Donor Choice #12472 Photo credit for cover image: D. Savini for GPTMC 2
Photo credit: Chago Akii-Bua/Brian Jones
Hometown Heroes The Roots Get the Mural Arts Treatment Mural Arts is excited to announce a brand new mural project that honors the homegrown hip hop trailblazers, cultural icons, and GRAMMY® Award winners, The Roots. From founders Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter (pictured right) and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson’s (pictured left) humble beginnings at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, to their staggering thirteen recorded albums, to an endless overseas touring schedule, and their current position as house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on NBC, The Roots have influenced generations of artists locally, nationally, and globally. As we continue to redefine muralism in the 21st century, this mural project promises to be our most ambitious and far-reaching yet. Multimedia elements such as video, online interaction, on-site activation, with citywide engagement through paint days, pop-up studios, a strong curriculum for a youth arts component called “Roots 101”, and much more will be incorporated into this project.
The project will be located along South Street, an area in which Black Thought and ?uestlove practiced and showcased their musical skills. Working alongside Sports & Entertainment Financial Group, LLC (SEFG) and other arts and culture partners, Mural Arts will produce a larger-thanlife mural to showcase the breadth of The Roots’ musical accomplishments and their place in the pantheon of Philadelphia’s rich musical history. The formal announcement of the project will take place this fall, and an RFP will be sent out to artists who would like to take part in this exciting new collaboration with The Roots.
To learn more: muralarts.org/theroots Sponsored by: City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services
This exciting project will culminate in a mural honoring Sanchez as a celebrated practitioner and teacher of the haiku. The mural will be inspired by Sanchez’s belief that the haiku form is inherently nonviolent in its intent and structure and engenders beauty, serenity, and brief reflection. The project will begin at the First Person Arts Festival in November 2011 with a reading of the new haiku Sanchez has prepared for the kick off of the project and a city-wide haiku song, a collaborative poem made of individual haiku. Fall and winter workshops based on the haiku form and its intersection with other disciplines (such as painting, photography, and music) will engage our art education students in writing haikus that reflect on personal visions and notions of peace.
Peace, Love, and Haiku Mural Arts is once again honored to work with one of the nation’s cultural treasures: poet, activist, and educator Sonia Sanchez. Our latest project— Peace is a Haiku Song—will engage the Philadelphia community and beyond in an exploration of the haiku, a Japanese poetic form, as a vehicle for peace and urban transformation.
Residents, visitors, and citizens from around the world will have an opportunity to contribute haiku to the song online via a dedicated webpage and Twitter feed. The top ten haiku will be featured in mini-murals in unexpected locations around Philadelphia and will serve as touch points places to stop and reflect - to put a hand on the heartbeat of the city. The final mural honoring Sanchez will incorporate as many of the individual haiku as possible.
To learn more: muralarts.org/peace Sponsored by: City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services
GATEWAY, a documentary from Big Picture Alliance (BPA) shares the How Philly Moves story with the world. Produced by BPA’s Executive Director Teri Yago-Ryan and Directed by Christopher Ambolino, Yago-Ryan and Ambolino bring a combined 30 years in feature film, documentary and television production as well as their non-profit work in community digital media arts education. “We are grateful and thrilled that Jane Golden and Deputy Mayor of Transportation Rina Cutler reached out to us to collaborate,” says Yago-Ryan. “Just as Jane reminds us that art ignites change, GATEWAY explores the impact of such change, following the people, places and stories that lie within this meaningful act of public art and civic engagement. Like the mural, GATEWAY will deliver a universal message about art, culture, diversity and community.” GATEWAY has also offered BPA students work opportunities. Since production began in Spring 2010, Ambolino, BPA’s team, and student-interns have captured live, time lapse and aerial footage. Ambolino was often found leaning over five-story-high parking deck walls, camera outstretched as he filmed the muralists in action. Post-production wraps early 2012 with a city-wide premiere to follow. Excerpts from GATEWAY will be featured in a permanent exhibit for How Philly Moves at the Philadelphia International Airport. GATEWAY is made possible through the generous support of Saul Ewing LLP, The PA State Film Commission, Big Picture Alliance Board of Directors and individual donors and in-kind support from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia Police Department, City of Philadelphia Department of Transportation, Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia Parking Authority, QSTAR International, Helicopter Services, Inc., Hertz, Avis, and The Greater Philadelphia Film Office.
Left below: Lead muralist Jon Laidacker and assistant Tom Walton paint the nearly 85,000 square foot mural. Right: Artist Jacques-Jean “JJ” Tiziou compares his design plans with the finished mural. Center: The crew puts the final touches on the parking deck.
Big Picture Alliance (BPA) is a 501 (c)(3) community arts organization dedicated to engaging and educating Philadelphia’s youth through digital and media arts education, offering students and alumni work-ready opportunities through its production projects. BPA serves K-12 youth in Philadelphia schools, community, health and arts organizations in underserved communities, offering youth an outlet for their voices and a pathway to learning through digital media arts and literacy.
To learn more: bigpicturealliance.org Photo credit: Steve Weinik
City Residents Come Together to Illustrate How Philly Moves More than a year in the making, the How Philly Moves mural project (conceived by Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor of Transportation and Public Utilities) has transformed the parking decks facing Interstate 95 at the Philadelphia International Airport to a memorable gateway for travelers and visitors to the region. The design depicts images of 26 Philadelphians dancing, as designed and photographed by local artist Jacques-Jean “JJ” Tiziou. Covering nearly 85,000 square feet of wall space visible to countless commuters and tourists, How Philly Moves is among the largest murals ever created in the United States and is the largest project Mural Arts has completed to date. To create the images used in the mural, Tiziou photographed more than 170 amateur and professional local dancers. Using the final design developed by Tiziou, lead muralist Jon Laidacker and a team of artists, assistants, and students took over to translate the stunning images from the page to the parking decks. The project has served as an excellent example of how in addition to beautifying walls, our murals create rich opportunities for Philadelphia residents to connect more deeply to each other and to their city. Under the guidance of Laidacker, the project provided meaningful full-time employment to artists Tjai Abdullah, Efrain Hererra, Charles Newman, Anthony Peel, Virgilio Perez, Laura Velez, and Tom Walton. The project also provided teens in our Mural Corps art education program with the remarkable opportunity to apply their skills to a highly visible public work. Lastly, more than one thousand Philadelphia residents participated in the creation of the mural during three community paint days at The Gallery at Market East, in partnership with PREIT. When asked about his experience with this project, Laidacker shared his belief that Philadelphia doesn’t always get the “credit it deserves” as being a collaborative city and hopes that the new mural will demonstrate to incoming visitors how “over 1,000 residents of a major city can come together for a common purpose.” When describing the busy community paint days that helped build momentum for the project, Laidacker remarked about how amazed participants were by the fact that the parachute cloth pieces they were painting would end up at the airport as part of the final mural. On paint days, he recalled, “the studio was so full that we had to assign half-hour shifts to our volunteer painters.” Laidacker also noted the significant challenges posed by the odd structure of the parking decks, his anxiety about how the mural would look, and the moment of relief he felt when the first pieces went up. “When we installed the first sheet on April 8th my hands were shaking so badly,” said Laidacker. “I wasn’t nervous about actually installing the work - I was nervous about how it was going to look on the wall. In the design phase, JJ had taken precautions to compensate for the odd architectural angles of the wall itself and I can’t even describe our relief when we put up those first few sheets, took the lift down to have a look, and saw that it was reading as a figure [of a dancer].” In early April, Laidacker and his team completed the last bit of painting in the studio. The last piece of the mural was installed in July. The complete mural, set to be dedicated this October, will stand as an enduring symbol of Philadelphia’s vibrant spirit and creativity. A documentary on How Philly Moves produced by The Big Picture Alliance and a permanent exhibition inside the airport’s public space will provide context for the project as a whole.
To learn more: muralarts.org/howphillymoves Sponsored by: Philadelphia International Airport, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, Bank of America, US Airways, PTS Foundation 5
Photo credit: Dan King
The Porch Light Initiative: A Year in Review This past summer was a busy one for the Porch Light Initiative. In collaboration with three behavioral health clinics in North Philadelphia, Mural Arts has been using the process of public art-making as a way to raise awareness about critical health resources, inspire public dialogue, and build bridges of understanding between those in recovery and their communities. In August, Porch Light celebrated the conclusion of the first year with public showcases, events, and dedications at three partner locations: Project H.O.M.E., Sobriety Through Outpatient (S.T.O.P.), and the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM). • At Project H.O.M.E., participants presented spoken work poetry and multimedia artworks on the subject of their recovery and healing experiences. Their artwork was displayed in a temporary public gallery space at Project H.O.M.E. • At S.T.O.P., participants photographed and painted themselves and transferred their images onto five by eight foot pieces of parachute cloth that were installed on a wall near the agency as part of a graphic and colorful mural. • At APM, participants created a vibrant series of interior murals and collaborated with a group of 70 guests from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business to produce a mural for the building’s interior and exterior. Porch Light staff and its partners are now directing their energies towards initiating a second year of programming, recruiting new participants at
Photo credit: Steve Weinik
Porch Light participants painted a new mural at S.T.O.P., designed by muralist James Burns.
each site and continuing to establish cultures that encourage and nourish creative expression at each agency and the larger community. Talented and inspiring artists - Keir Johnston, Ernel Martinez, and Nina Ball at Project H.O.M.E.; Betsy Casañas and Pedro Ospina at APM; and James Burns at S.T.O.P.- have been selected to lead art education programs and help to develop major mural projects for the second year of this initiative. A main focus of year two is to create projects that will engage a wide range of community members and provide rich opportunities for those in treatment to develop relationships with nearby residents. “Through community engagement activities, regular programming, and transformative art in year two, we look forward to mobilizing communities and individuals to help promote deeper understanding of behavioral health problems,” said Porch Light project manager Sara Ansell. “This initiative encourages collaboration among service providers, and inspires community - and individual - level resilience and empowerment.”
To learn more: muralarts.org/porchlight Sponsored 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, Claneil Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, The Patricia Kind Family Foundation
Photo credit: Meredith Edlow
Muralist Keir Johnston (pictured far left) and participants at a community event at Project H.O.M.E.
Photo credit: Dan King
Muralist Betsy Casañas (pictured far right) attends a closing celebration at APM, celebrating the interior murals created through the Porch Light initiative.
Photo credit: David Graham Photo by Photographer’s Name
Family Interrupted could be my furthest reaching project to date. -Eric Okdeh
Above: Eric Okdeh has led more than 65 commissions throughout the city of Philadelphia and in Seville, Spain. Of those, 25 were produced through his classes at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford.
The design of the mural will be inspired by these stories, containing their text and imagery. The challenge for me is getting these emotions across to the average viewer who may not be impacted by incarceration.
Q: How does this project shed a light on how incarceration
One-on-One with Muralist & Instructor Eric Okdeh For more than 13 years, Philadelphia-based muralist Eric Okdeh has created public art while teaching mural-making classes to youth and inmates at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford (SCI Graterford). Here, he talks about his latest project, Family Interrupted. Q: How are you working with the community in creating the Family Interrupted mural?
A: Family Interrupted could be my furthest reaching project to date, as we are working with participants impacted by incarceration at various levels through partnerships with the Pennsylvania Prison Society, SCI Graterford, St. Gabriel’s Hall, and Philadelphia Prison System, and the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership. Additionally, Mural Arts’ Guild Program constructed 12 mailboxes, painted by myself and men in the Graterford Program, which have been placed in prison visiting rooms, the Prison Society, Central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, City Hall, and in the neighborhood of the mural. Each box comes with a questionnaire that invites participants to share their experiences in having a loved one or family member incarcerated.
A: I created familyinterruptedproject.com, which is a companion to the project, running concurrently through the life of the mural and beyond. The site provides resources to the families, as well as audio and video from our workshops and updates and press about the project.
Q: In what ways does art ignite change within students at Graterford?
A: I find that our group is more open to volunteerism and evolving their ideas of what a project can be. Recently we have completed a mural in the prison’s Mental Health Unit (MHU), which is a part of the prison that sees a large turnover of inmates from SCI Graterford and beyond in need of specialized care. Every Thursday a paint day was held within the MHU led by the mural class. My class is now a part of the MHU programming every Thursday, completely led by our class.
To learn more: muralarts.org/familyinterrupted Sponsored by: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Connelly Foundation, City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services, US Department of Justice: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Thomas Skelton Harrison Foundation, Ford Foundation
Decay Turned Urban Beauty Urban
Mural Arts continues to expand the boundaries of muralism through a partnership with the Anthropologist, an online space founded by Philadelphia-based Anthropologie that supports the work of inspired individuals. This collaboration presents a temporary, nature-specific, photo-based mural series called Urban Land Project, which examines the connection between individuals and the planet. Mural Arts worked with the Anthropologist to identify Northern Liberties as a public commercial space that had been affected by urban decay in which to showcase the images. The project’s large-scale images were created by UK photographic artist Tim Simmons and are part of a bi-costal installation that launched on September 12, 2011. The goal of Simmons’ work is for passersby to view his textured details and be inspired to consider the concept of the landscape in a different way. Simmons’ imagery, which is strikingly beautiful both in simplicity and perspective, will be juxtaposed against the urban backdrop, accentuating the tension between the human and natural worlds. To learn more: muralarts.org/urbanland or theAnthropologist.net Sponsored by: Anthropologie
Photo credit: Tim Simmons
Mural design: James Burns
Finding the Light Within The rate of suicide attempts among public high school students in Philadelphia is almost twice the national average – 12.9 percent versus 6.9 percent, respectively. Particularly troubling is the rate of suicide attempts among African American youth (12.1 percent) which is up to twice that of comparable cities, such as New York (6.5 percent), Baltimore (7.8 percent) or Detroit (9.9 percent), according to a 2009 study by Temple University’s College of Health Professions and Social Work.
issue. Through this project, we hope to educate the public about warning signs of suicidal behavior and how to seek help for loved ones before there is a loss of life.
Mural Arts has partnered with Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to combat this tragic social phenomenon.
To create the foundation for the mural project, a series of community meetings and two distinct workshop series to engage a broad range of participants were held. Poet/artist Theodore Harris and psychologist Dr. Terri Erbacher facilitated writing and collage-making workshops at Horizon House (a community resource for adults with psychiatric or developmental disabilities, drug and alcohol addictions, and/ or homelessness), which helped start a dialogue amongst participating survivors and attempters of suicide.
Finding the Light Within, a new mural project in progress by muralist James Burns, sheds a light on youth suicide by providing a voice for survivors, attempters, and their families and friends by creating a new community around this
Additionally, storytelling workshops for people whose lives have been changed by suicide were directed by Dr. Molly Layton, a writer and psychotherapist who works with First Person Arts. These stories will be read by actors at a
performance as part of the First Person Salon series on November 13th at 1:00 p.m. at Christ Church in Old City. “I am in awe of the strength and courage of these folks to come out and bring this serious issue into the public eye,” said Burns. “It is obviously not an easy thing to talk about and I am thankful to know that there are so many people who are willing to come out and get involved in the awareness effort and even more so to know that there is such a wonderful network of people who are regularly working and dealing with this type of trauma.” This mural will be painted on the Horizon House, 120 South 30th Street.
To learn more: muralarts.org/findingthelight Sponsored by: City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services
Restoring Spaces, Beautifying Places Mural Arts continues to explore ways to engage communities, educate young people, and create accessible public art with the Restored Spaces Initiative. This ongoing effort targets commercial corridors, civic spaces, and schools to promote stewardship of the environment. Professional artists work with Mural Arts’ art education students to develop final works of art using techniques that include mural-making, greening, and mosaic-work. At Bodine High School in Northern Liberties, artists Eurhi Jones and Beverly Fisher have created a bright and inviting learning space by transforming the school’s walls with the mural project, Reading the Flow. In addition to developing environmental imagery on the school’s exterior through layering paint and mosaic tile, the team worked with the Philadelphia Water Department to improve storm water management with sidewalk planters, slated for installation in spring 2012. Mural Arts also invited nearby residents to participate in this exciting project by helping plant gardens (designed by Anna Forrester) in the school yards and trees on the blocks surrounding the school. Science classes at Bodine High School have helped to maintain the green space and writing classes have written haiku about their relationships with water, which is a symbol found throughout the murals. An innovative component of the project, a trellis/bench structure called chainlinkGreen (built by Scott Shall), uses parking lot material that was removed when the gardens were constructed, wood that was salvaged and donated from old local theaters, and concrete rubble donated from numerous local construction sites to create a sanctuary and outdoor classroom space for Bodine. “The students were able to see their hard work come together when the benches and trellises were being constructed and they really took pride in their work,” said project manager Kate Jacobi. Above: Reading the Flow
Photo credit: Mike Reali
To learn more: muralarts.org/restoredspaces Sponsored by: City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Philadelphia Water Department, PTS Foundation, Surdna Foundation
A Contemporary Canvas This summer, Mural Arts and Goldman Properties began a three-year collaboration to create high-profile public art that engages world-renowned visual artists and students from our Big Picture art education program.
An internationally recognized contemporary artist who first came to prominence on the 1980s interdisciplinary art scene, Scharf worked closely with the students, sharing his graffiti art roots and creating thoughtprovoking street art. In August, students worked with Assume Vivid Astro Focus (AVAF), a collaborative of visual performance artists who exhibit internationally. One of AVAF’s main collaborators, Christophe Hamaide-Pierson, joined students at Mastery Charter School and youth from Hawthorne Recreation Center for the first week of August to create
Photo credit: Aaron Swan
The series kicked off in July when Brooklynbased artist Kenny Scharf worked with 15 of our art education students to transform a wall at 116-120 S. 13th Street in the heart of Midtown Village – resulting in his new mural titled Philly Chunk Pack.
Above: At the mural dedication for Kenny Scharf’s new mural Philly Chunk Pack, pictured: Justice Taylor, Gary Steuer, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Tony Goldman, Kenny Scharf, and Jane Golden.
a dynamic, colorful, patterned mural that is being installed at 1315 Sansom Street. Through this ongoing partnership, Mural Arts aims to secure Philadelphia’s place among top-tier artistic cities, discovering innovative ways to create democratic, inclusive,
community-based art that pushes the boundaries of what mural-making can be.
To learn more: muralarts.org/goldman Sponsored by: Goldman Properties, LibertyMe Foundation
Center City Skyline gets a Major League Makeover Phillies fans are known to be passionate and have faithfully supported their team throughout its 128 year history. Their recent successes have ignited the region and the team has never been more popular or closely followed.
Mural design: David McShane
In celebration of the city’s beloved team, Mural Arts is creating a mural that captures the passion of the fans and reflects how the Phillies
be a tremendous addition to the long list of spectacular murals that already exist throughout our great city,” said Michael Harris, Phillies Marketing Manager. “We have the best and most loyal fans in all of sports and look forward to their involvement throughout the creation and production of the final mural.” The project will include numerous community
have been tightly woven into the fabric of Philadelphia’s culture and spirit.
opportunities for fans young and old to participate in painting the mural on parachute cloth, which will later be installed on the eight-story wall. The Phillies mural project will culminate with a dedication ceremony and festivities in August of 2012.
The mural will be designed and painted by muralist, and lifetime Phillies fan, David McShane. The design will include players, stadiums, and events from the Phillies’ recordlong history as the oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional sports. It will highlight the team’s two World Series victories in 1980 and 2008 and will feature hallof-fame players, scenes from playoff runs, perfect games, and the Phillies mascot - the Phanatic.
visible to the thousands of pedestrians on the Walnut Street Bridge and the Schuylkill River Trail, as well as to motorists on the I-76 expressway who pass the location daily.
The mural will be located along the Schuylkill River at 24th and Walnut Streets and will be
“The creation of a Phillies themed mural in such a fantastic Center City location will
In the coming weeks, fans will have the chance to assist in the selection of an additional player to be featured in the design. To learn more about this voting process, log onto: phillies.com/mural
To learn more: muralarts.org/phillies or phillies.com/mural Sponsored by: Philadelphia Phillies
Pictured (from left to right): Barb Mealmaker, Bill Smith, Mary Redheffer, Dan Astolfi, Henri Moore, Dan Fitzpatrick, Jane Golden, Deborah Khan, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Emilio Cooper, Tricia Horter, and Jim Gray. Photo credit: Steve Weinik
How We Fish in Philadelphia public and private sectors, citizens and business leaders in a series of conversations about the value and meaning of work and the challenges this issue presents to all of us.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Citizens Bank had a dream – they wanted to partner on a project with stakeholders and government leaders from across the city to put a face on a critical issue facing today’s world. They wanted to engage citizens everywhere in meaningful dialogue, and in the visioning and creation of a new city-wide mural that addresses issues of job creation and workforce development – two important components of a healthy economy. This is the story of How We Fish. Led by Mural Arts and sponsored by Citizens Bank, How We Fish will engage stakeholders from the
Our goal is to create a dramatic new work of community-based public art that brings attention to people’s concerns, struggles, dreams and aspirations. The initiative’s name reflects the proverb as well as the depth and breadth of this project: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The project, which will occur over the next 12 months and potentially engage hundreds of people, will include a series of forums that will be a larger conversation among stakeholders in the city who do workforce development. This conversation will continue throughout the project’s timeframe and in partnership with the workforce development community with a series of community forums, design sessions, charrettes and community paint days that will take us to the completion of the project in 2012. Professionally facilitated by the Penn Project for Civic Engagement, the forums will create an opportunity for Philadelphia residents to share their stories and
perspectives with each other, with local leaders and providers, and with the team of artists. All of this critical information will help inform the design of this major center city mural with the idea that art that is done well, art that is relevant, dynamic and moving, can bring important and significant attention to workforce development and job creation.
who has been working closely with Mural Arts since 1998.
The mural will be painted on parachute cloth so that people can participate in its creation during several community paint days and will also incorporate glass mosaic and other materials through additional skill-building workshops.
Connecting people to meaningful vocations is a cause near and dear to Mural Arts. In our Restorative Justice and Art Education programs, we focus on developing skills in vulnerable populations, increasing their employability and helping people map out career paths.
Through an intensive process that began in June, a team of artists consisting of Social Impact Studios and Eric Okdeh were selected to lead the artistic vision of this project. Social Impact Studios (formerly known as Design for Social Impact) has combined artistry and activism to call attention to important issues since 1996. Social Impact Studios Founder and Director Ennis Carter and Alex Peltz, their Creative Director, will be working in collaboration with Eric Okdeh, a seasoned Philadelphiabased muralist and arts instructor
The project will be a part of a larger effort by Mural Arts to encourage artists working in different mediums to collaborate on projects from the concept phase through to the actual mural production to maximize opportunities for innovative and cutting-edge work.
At a press conference announcing the project, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter acknowledged our efforts in this area, thanking Mural Arts for being “so instrumental in promoting and hosting workforce development initiatives for young people, exoffenders, and other vulnerable populations.”
To learn more: muralarts.org/ how-we-fish Sponsored by: Citizens Bank Foundation
Manayunk’s Main Street Makeover Mural Arts is currently involved a year-long effort to infuse the Manayunk neighborhood with new and innovative public art. The Manayunk Community Development Corporation and the Manayunk Special Services District first approached Mural Arts in the fall of 2010 to discuss the possibility of a large-scale Main Street transformation. Their intention was to use public art to enliven the street experience for visitors walking through the bustling commercial avenue and establish the area as a landmark for creativity. This opportunity easily enabled an expansion of Mural Arts’ efforts to work with exciting new artists and to introduce a greater degree of experimentation into our work, so a proposal was created to initiate five projects between 2011 and 2012. Launched in fall 2010, muraLAB is a series of programs and lectures designed to help Mural Arts think critically and experimentally about public art and explore new possibilities for muralism in the 21st century. Focused on integrating new technologies, showcasing new artists, and discovering new methods, muraLAB provides a forum for staff, artists, and community members to engage in dialogue with one another, exciting curators, and cutting edge creative thinkers. These conversations are coupled with funding and residency opportunities where artists can bring new ideas to life. As a part of this initiative, Mural Arts is pleased to announce a new partnership with Breadboard, the artistic arm of the Philadelphia Science Center. Blending public art opportunities with the resources and facilities available at NextFab Studio, Mural Arts and Breadboard are launching a six-month artist-residency.
The first project was launched this past spring when Mat Tomezsko (pictured below with his art) created 30 mural panels featuring portraits of Manayunk residents, past and present, against vibrant and graphic backgrounds. “While being specifically about Manayunk, I think this project also speaks to the greater character of Philadelphia as a city,” said Tomezsko. “This area is made up of individual and unique neighborhoods, which are in turn made up of unique individuals.” The panels were installed in locations along Main Street just in time for the Manayunk Arts Festival, where Tomezsko was present to discuss his work. The second of the five projects is currently underway and will feature three street paintings by Montreal artist Peter “Roadsworth” Gibson. His work interrupts and extends predictable road markings with whimsical stencil designs. In the first installment of his work in Manayunk, Gibson added an unwinding ball of yarn to the intersection of Cotton and Main Streets. This fall he will incorporate a bird motif into a second intersection and a third - yet to be determined - installation will round out the trio of designs later this year.
To learn more: muralarts.org/manayunk Sponsored by: The Manayunk Community Development Corporation, Manayunk Special Services District
Artists working in any medium are currently being invited to submit a proposal for residency to explore the juncture between muralism and technology. Selected artists will be trained to use the advanced technology at NextFab Studio, as well as given access to the machines, staff engineers and inventors. Participants will be asked to develop a concept for a large-scale community project that incorporates technologies such as 3D and laser printing, digital display, Arduino, solar technology, and more. Concepts will be exhibited in a show at the Esther Klein Gallery in spring 2012, and will be considered for development into fully realized public art projects in 2013.
To learn more: muralarts.org/muraLAB
Center : Mat Tomezsko, surrounded by seven of the 30 mural panels he painted in Manayunk.
Photo credit: Lexi Brown
Sponsored by: Ford Foundation
The Lincoln Financial Mural Arts Center at the Thomas Eakins House 1727-29 Mount Vernon Street Philadelphia, PA 19130 muralarts.org