Oct 20, 2014

Celebrating Mural Arts Month at Southeast by Southeast

by: Lauren Dewitsky

Thanks to our advisory board member Lauren Dewitsky for writing this post.

Not to be confused with a certain South Texas festival, the Southeast by Southeastproject represents the regeneration of life after tragedy and turmoil. The name of the project comes from its goal of providing support to Southeast Asian Refugees who have relocated to Southeast Philadelphia to start a new life. Southeast by Southeast is a movement to ignite change in our local refugee communities. As Jane always says, Art Ignites Change.

I moved to Philadelphia last November. More specifically, South Philly. I’m still new, still learning about all the nooks and crannies, but one thing I have learned is that the City of Brotherly Love is deserving of the nickname. There’s an undercurrent of collective compassion and desire for better community. It pulls you in and keeps you here, and serving on the MAP Advisory Council has made me feel like I am doing my part for the city.

As one of the featured Mural Arts Month events, October 11th Southeast by Southeast tour highlighted the Burmese, Bhutanese, and Nepali communities that are showing growth thanks to art initiatives provided by Mural Arts’ Porch Light program and their partners. On mural walking tours, you get to slow down and enjoy. They give insight to the deeper meanings behind every mural. Just as the history of Philadelphia intrigues visitors and stirs up appreciation, knowing about a mural’s subsurface qualities brings them to life.

In addition to the tour and concert collaboration that followed (If You Could Hear These Walls), there was also the book release of My Future Starts Here, designed by Ann Peltz and written by Shira Walinsky (lead artist for Southeast by Southeast). The book is a collection of stories detailing the refugee neighborhoods of Philadelphia and their transformation.

Healthy communities are the cornerstones of a great city. Philadelphia is a giant canvass to which we all contribute, creating one beautiful, living work of art. It’s about having a place to call home. It’s about feeling secure, productive, and most of all inspired to become greater than you were before. Southeast by Southeast is a reminder that the American Dream is still alive.

Southeast by Southeast © 2013 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Philadelphia / Shira Walinsky and Miriam Singer. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Last updated: Mar 21, 2016

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