Mar 29, 2024

A Bouquet of Gratitude for Councilwoman Marian Tasco

by: Jenny Donnelly Johnson

Marian Tasco at unveiling. Photo: Steve Weinik.

City of Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle L. Parker, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and the Advisory Council of Charles M. Finley Recreation Center hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a surprise tribute mural to the Honorable Marian Tasco during a Women’s History Month Celebrating Women: Past, Present and Future event this past Saturday, March 23 at the Finley Recreation Center (7701 Mansfield Avenue).  Housed inside the Center, the new mural titled Bouquet of Gratitude, by artist Serena Saunders, features a portrait of Tasco against a map of Philadelphia’s 9th District, where Tasco served as a council member for 28 years. The mural includes colorful bouquets from the community alongside logos of the many organizations that both impacted the councilwoman and have been affected by her work.


Unveiling event 3/23/24. Photo: Steve Weinik.

“I have so much gratitude to Councilwoman Tasco, who helped kickstart my career by hiring me as an intern while serving City Council,” said Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle L. Parker. “It is an honor to be here with the Councilwoman, her family, friends, and you all today as we celebrate a trailblazer and role model for our community whose work continues to influence the people in the 9th District and throughout the City of Philadelphia.”

With over 50 years of public service, Councilwoman Tasco is widely recognized as one of Philadelphia’s most influential, politically savvy, and proactive public officials. She served seven terms on the Philadelphia City Council, representing close to 155,000 residents in Philadelphia’s Northeast and Northwest sections. She served as City Council Majority Leader and Majority Whip and was the first African American elected City Commissioner in Philadelphia.


Unveiling event 3/23/24. Photo: Steve Weinik.

Councilwoman Tasco has received countless awards, honors, and acknowledgments, including the Good Housekeeping Magazine Award for Women in Government, recognition as a trailblazer by the United States Senate via Senator Casey’s Black History Month event, the renaming of the Lindley Court Apartments as the Marian B. Tasco Arms, and a Best of Philly Award as Best Kingmaker for her role in local politics.

“Art has the power to transform communities, and this mural honors the transformative impact that Marian Tasco continues to have here in Philadelphia,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. It is not often that we dedicate a mural as a surprise for one of our community members, which makes this an incredibly special piece in honor of a very special woman who has done so much for our city.”


Marian Tasco. Photo: Steve Weinik.

Serena Saunders, a dedicated full-time artist and founder of PassionArt Designs, LLC, has earned recognition for her expertise in portraiture. Beyond portraits, she also excels in sculpture and writing, showcasing her multifaceted talent. Commissioned to create the mural, Saunders infuses her work with a vibrant and bold color palette that captures the essence of the human condition, focusing on youth and women. Her art is characterized by its large scale, abstract boldness, and poetic composition, creating a multidimensional narrative. This narrative feels like a collaboration between the poet and the painter within her, offering viewers an immersive and thought-provoking experience.

“We just elected our city’s first Black, female Mayor and here we are going into Women’s History Month honoring a giant of the people, a trailblazer who greatly contributed to cracks in the glass ceilings that we see breaking – Marian B. Tasco,” said artist Serena Saunders. “I hope having this image live on the wall will spark countless conversations about the amazing stories about Ms. Tasco, such as those shared with me when visiting. A Bouquet of Gratitude is for someone who deserves her flowers while she can smell them.”

The event also featured a program of song, poetry, and performance by community members as well as remarks from many public officials, including Commissioner Susan Slawson, Congressman Dwight Evans, State Senator Art Haywood, Councilman Anthony Phillips, Hon. Derek Green, and Sharmain Matlock Turner, CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition.

Last updated: Mar 29, 2024

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