Cherry Street Pier
December 31, 2023
Monumental portraits that come alive through augmented reality animations…
20 art billboards and banners across Philadelphia…
A massive interactive exhibit full of immersive story-based experiences…
A bus from the future full of portraits and poetry
All imagining a future where Philly youth are free, safe, and thriving
Mural Arts Philadelphia, Performing Statistics, over 50 youth leaders in Philadelphia, and artists from across North America are collaborating to create a series of interactive public artworks that use new technology to imagine a more just, whole, and safe future. The central installation for Freedom Constellations will feature a monumental portrait of youth leaders that comes alive through augmented reality (animations triggered by viewers’ phones will visualize a future world in the clouds above Philadelphia).
Featuring a city-wide constellation of massive banners, billboards, temporary murals, immersive exhibitions, and robust public programming, this rare project looks to Philadelphia’s youth to help guide us all to a future where all children are free, healed, and thriving.
Use the sections below to learn more, find, and experience all the power the project has to share!
Use your phone to make the dreams of youth leaders animate in the clouds above Philadelphia!
The central star of Freedom Constellations is a series of monumental banners that come alive with augmented reality animations. The project showcases how the newest forms of interactive technology can transform public art and public spaces into megaphones for those whose voices need to be heard.
The interactive banner has been printed and installed in multiple locations so we can share these amazing youth dreams with as many people as possible. Check out these locations and use your phone to bring them to life!
- Eastern State Penitentiary
- Cherry Street Pier
- The Village of Arts and Humanities
The Animation: Youth leaders from Juvenile Law Center, YASP, Care, Not Control, and Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Restorative Justice Guild program wrote hundreds of lines of poetry that imagined a more free and safe future. They then worked together to edit that poem down and created paper cuts and other ways to illustrate the future world their poetry imagined. The Invisible Thread team then took their art, portraits, and animation direction and transformed it into the augmented reality animation you can see on giant banners across the city.
Credits: Invisible Thread and Performing Statistics in collaboration with Qilla, Tiguida, Rodney, Jared, Duane, Tasheema, and Jah
Augmented Reality workshops were facilitated by Mark Strandquist and Kate DeCiccio with support from Katie Kaplan.
Portraits and audio by Mark Strandquist.
Augmented Reality workshops
Billboards: Transforming advertising space into visions of a more free future
Working with over 50 youth leaders from across the city.
Can art create a map toward a more free future? Freedom Constellations looks to youth leaders to guide us toward that vision. Each billboard visualizes a theme that youth leaders identified as a building block toward a future where all youth are safe, free, and healed.
Keep your eyes peeled as you move through the city to see these beautiful designs!
Check out the Billboards!
Buildings transformed into megaphones for the dreams of youth!:
These beautiful collaborative designs have been printed on large banners and installed in locations across the city, helping to make these future dreams a reality! Huge thanks to our partners for hosting these beautiful banners.
Find them across the city!
#NoKidsInPrison: Cherry Street Pier Exhibition
#NoKidsInPrison: Cherry Street Pier, 121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106. May 20 – Jun 11, 2023
Organized by Performing Statistics, this immersive exhibition takes viewers on an immersive journey from the history of youth incarceration to the present-day impact on youth and their families and ends in a future world where all youth are free. The exhibition is filled with virtual reality, interactive art installations, and eight years of art made in collaboration with youth leaders nationwide.
The exhibit features a robust set of programs open to the public. Join us for these exciting public events at the Cherry Street Pier:
- May 20th: Opening Celebration 5-8 PM DJ, silk screen party, and more!
- May 27th 4-6PM: Come make your own swag from the future and walk away with some beautiful fashion filled with holographic dreams of a better world.
- June 2nd, 4-7PM: First Friday, come through, get free limited edition posters, and meet some of the amazing youth who made the project possible!
- June 9th, 5-8PM: Come make your own swag from the future and walk away with some beautiful fashion filled with holographic dreams of a better world.
- June 11th 3-6PM:: Closing Celebration and silkscreen party!
A Bus from a Free Future!
Freedom Constellations is ALL over the city, filling city walls, billboards, ad space, and more with the beautiful dreams of youth leaders. A beautiful SEPTA bus connects the dots of that constellation. The bus features powerful words and portraits of youth leaders from Juvenile Law Center, YASP, Care, Not Control, and Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Guild. Find it rolling through the city, jump on, and step into this beautiful future!
Graphic Design: Jay Kraus
Portraits: Mark Strandquist
Background shapes: Kah Yangni
Want these beautiful Poster Designs?
Want these beautiful poster designs for your classroom, office, city street, and home?? Come to the No Kids In Prison exhibit at Cherry Street Pier and grab free posters from our take-action section!
Amir Khadar (PHL), in collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia
Killjoy (TX), in collaboration with Juvenile Law Center
Mz. Icar (PHL), in collaboration with Youth Arts and Self Empowerment Project
Jason Killinger (PHL), in collaboration with Care, Not Control
Jess Sabogal (CA), in collaboration with Care, Not Control
Ashley Lukashevsky (CA), in collaboration with Care, Not Control
Hank Willis Thomas, in collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia
Nazeer Sabree (PHL), in collaboration with Juvenile Law Center
Kah Yangni (PHL), in collaboration with Juvenile Law Center
Each art piece is sized and ready to print at 11×17.” Don’t have a printer? Come to the NKIP exhibit at Cherry Street Pier and get a free poster to take home! ***These designs are meant to be spread as far and wide as possible. Selling them in any way is not only illegal, it’s a jerk move, so just give them out to people you love!
Check back here for action steps to help build this future!
Mural Arts Philadelphia and Performing Statistics in collaboration with the Care, Not Control campaign, Juvenile Law Center, YASP (Youth Art and Self Empowerment
Project); Cherry Street Pier, Eastern State Penitentiary, Invisible Thread, PhillyCam, and The Village of Arts and Humanities
Lead artist: Mark Strandquist
Design artists: Amir Khadar, Killjoy, Mz. Icar, Jason Killinger, Jess Sabogal, Ashley Lukashevsky, Hank Willis Thomas, Nazeer Sabree, Kah Yangni, Jay Krause, Kate DeCiccio
Curators: Kah Yangni and Mark Strandquist
Project Managers: Kali Silverman, Shay Kennedy
Special Thanks to: Aisha Winfield and AIB Marketing
Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
City of Philadelphia
Independence Public Media Foundation
Spring Point Partners
Public Welfare Foundation