Power Map: Historic Mural Activations

A series of five newly commissioned events, performances and workshops activating murals created in Mural Arts Philadelphia’s first 20 years

  • location


  • Neighborhood


  • completion date

    November 01, 2020

View Power Map on the Public Art Archive

About the Project 

Power Map: Historic Mural Activations is a series of five newly commissioned events, performances and workshops activating murals created in Mural Arts Philadelphia’s first 20 years (1984-2003) that depict power and empowerment. Five diverse figurative murals serve as the starting point for an exploration of the history of their creation and the neighborhood change that the murals have witnessed. They also offer a prompt for thinking about how power is depicted in public art today and in the recent past. Featured artists include Mark Strandquist & Courtney Bowles with Tripod, Studio 22 (Nasheli Juliana Ortiz, Marién Vélez and Lorna Mulero), Eva Wǒ, Marie Alarcon and Ken McFarlane. This project has been developed on the occasion of MAP’s 35th anniversary by guest curator-in-residence Daniel Tucker.

The title of the project is inspired by the practice of “power mapping” which is a form found commonly in community organizing. One of the conventions of a power map is to create a visualization of who might be in agreement or disagreement around a particular issue. This emphasis on Agree/Disagree, or Yes/No, can be seen as the foundation of politics, but it also connects with aesthetic questions essential to the history of muralism in terms of the representation of affirmative or negative depictions of a community. Additionally, the use of the Mural Arts Philadelphia organizational acronym: MAP in the title of the project is intentional and indicates an opportunity for the project to expand upon the rich organizational history.

Activations which took place between the Summer of 2019 and Fall of 2020 include:

  • In July of 2019, artists Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist collaborated with the TRIPOD program (an ongoing photography and writing program of Writers Room at Drexel connecting high school students, YouthBuild Philadelphia students, Drexel students, and older community members) to create a series of projects inspired by the mural Boy with the Raised Arm by Sidney Goodman (1990)/Brian Senft (2002) at 40th st/Powelton Ave.
  • The design collective 22 Studio (Nasheli Juliana Ortiz, Marién Vélez and Lorna Mulero) responded to “Puerto Rican Statue of Liberty” by Dietrich Adonis, Carlos Vasquez, Glenn Hill, Jane Golden (1984) at 1701 Mount Vernon St. This led to a week-long activation at the Mural location in November 2019 developed in collaboration with the Spring Garden CDC.
  • Photographer Ken McFarlane created new portraits responding to the Dr. J mural by Kent Twitchell (1990) at 1234 Ridge Avenue.
  • Organizer and photographer Eva Wǒ made a new digital artwork and corresponding zine responding to “Pride and Progress” by Ann Northrup (2003) at 1315 Spruce Street on the side of The William Way Center.
  • Filmmaker and photographer Marie Alarcon made a new online work responding to “Black Family Reunion” by Dietrich Adonis and Jane Golden (1988)/Ernel Martinez (Restored 2008) at 4020 Parkside Ave. The work was screened in October 2020 at Mamie & Weaver’s Ultra in the Belmont neighborhood.

22 studio

22 studio is a transdisciplinary design practice co-founded and co-directed by Marién Vélez and Nasheli Ortiz. Our intention is to tackle relevant problems in communities and cities through design processes. We work with architectural, scenic and social lighting design; fashion design, stage design and public art.

22 Studio


Marie Alarcon

Marie Alarcon is an experimental video artist trained in documentary filmmaking. Alarcon has screened at festivals and galleries including Blackstar Film Festival, Harlem International Film Festival, and the SF Urban Film Fest. Their practice is centered around personal, historical, and environmental landscapes that rely on cinema and its capacity as collective “rememory”. Much of their work is created through artist residencies, including Elsewhere, Greensboro, SensLab, Montreal, Good Hart, MI, Neighborhood Time Exchange, Philadelphia, and Icebox x Leeway.



Eva Wǒ

Eva Wǒ is a multidisciplinary visual artist from New Mexico and based in Philadelphia since 2010. Wǒ uses photography, collage, and moving image to cast spells of vibrant queer liberation somewhere between fantasy and futurism. She is a recipient of the Leeway Transformation Award ‘17-18, is a CFEVA Visual Artist Fellow ‘19-21, Elsewhere Exchange Fellow ‘19, and 40th Street AIR ‘16-17. Currently she produces Hot Bits, a traveling, immersive creative placemaking series that utilizes pornography, performance, and digital media as social practice to transform spaces into momentary dimensions of uncensored queer liberation for kinky, sex-positive QTBIPoC and sex workers.




Ken McFarlane

Ken McFarlane is a West Philadelphia based documentary and portrait photographer. He has over 20 years experience in commercial, editorial, documentary photography and filmmaking. His current body of work focuses on producing visual and audio histories of Philadelphians in the present as a means of documentation to preserve collective memory while encouraging future generations to remember, re-examine and realize their own potential.




Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist

Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist have spent years using art as a vehicle to help amplify, celebrate, and power social justice movements. The media campaigns and immersive exhibitions they lead have helped advocates close a prison, pass laws, raise tens of thousands of dollars to free people from prison, and connect the dreams and demands of communities impacted by the criminal justice system with a national audience. They currently co-direct the People’s Paper Co-op and Reentry Think Tank in Philadelphia, PA, and Mark founded and co-directs the Performing Statistics project and the covid-19 rapid response project Fill The Walls With Hope, Rage, Resources, and Dreams.

The “We Exist in Multitudes” produced for Power Map was developed with Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist working as lead artists in collaboration with the Writers Room. The Writers Room TRIPOD writers-in-residence contributors include Hasciya Austin, Brenda Bailey, Patricia Burton, Rosalyn Cliett, Merle Curran-Ackert, Barbara Dale, Dejah Jade, Jordan McCullough, Carol Richardson McCullough, Darrell Omo-Lamai, Victoria Huggins Peurifoy, Chanda Rice, Mabedi Sennanyana, and Devin Welsh.

The People’s Paper Co-Op

The Writer’s Room



The Public Art Archive (PAA) is pleased to launch the virtual exhibition, Power Map: Historical Mural Activations, as a celebration of the partnership between WESTAF’s Public Art Archive and Mural Arts Philadelphia. The organizations have collaborated over the past year to centralize thirty-five years worth of data surrounding Mural Arts’ extensive history of public art and community engage- ment, all of which will be available on PAA as these records are activated and made accessible to the public.


Curator: Daniel Tucker
Project Manager: Kathy Poole
Print Design and logo identity for Power Map: Rosten Woo
Web Gallery: Lori Goldstein

Thank You 

Thank you to the following people Mural Arts: Genny Boccardo-Dubey, Victoria Boyer, James Burns, Caitlin Butler, Caitlin Chase, Noni Clemens, Emily Cooper-Moore, Jane Golden, Cathy Harris, Kate Jacobi, Amy Johnston, Norah Langweiler, Ernel Martinez, Magda Martinez, Jamera McNeil, David McShane, Aislinn Pentecost-Farren, Kathy Poole, Netanel Portier, Shira Walinsky, Steve Weinik, and Corin Wilson

Thank you also to Leah Appleton, Dino Pelliccia, Maori Holmes, Ezra Nepon Berkely, Sharon Hayes, Karyn Oliver, Irit Reinheimer, Emily Bunker, Patti Phillips, Joanna Jenkins, Cecelia Fitzgibbon, Lori Goldstein (from the Public Art Archive), Eric Trianafillou, Josh MacPhee, Rebecca Zorach, and Alina Josan (Art Department librarian at the Free library).



Nick & Dee Adams
City of Philadelphia