Jun 19, 2019

How to Ignite Change in Places

by: Laura Kochman

From skylines to flower boxes, portraits to abstract images, Mural Arts is always reflecting and igniting change in places. Projects bring communities closer together, create new connections, and inspire joy and wonder across an ever-evolving cityscape.

A portion of Uprooted/reRooted at Cramp Elementary School, from artists Marion Wilson and Eurhi Jones. Photo by Steve Weinik.

In Fairhill, the community has turned William Cramp Elementary School into an intergenerational space. Through our Environmental Justice initiative, the imposing brick building is now wrapped in bright murals that express the botanical and culinary heritage of the school’s students, parents, and neighbors.

Parts Per Million by Benjamin Volta. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Last fall, a complex and colorful new mural transformed the southern stretch of Broad Street. On the facade of South Philadelphia High School, artist Ben Volta zooms out to a global perspective and then back in to a microscopic level. It’s an equation that makes sense: if millions of individual parts make up a whole, then everything that we do adds up, and together we can change the world.

The Electric Street © David Guinn. Photo by Steve Weinik.

This summer, artist David Guinn will illuminate the city’s historic heart with Electric Philadelphia. The 8,500-square-foot neon artwork will turn the 6th Street Underpass into a gateway to the Historic District—linking Old City with the booming formerly-industrial neighborhoods to the north.

Design mockup for Convergence, by Rebecca Rutstein.

And installing right now: a meditation on the Schuylkill River above the popular Schuylkill Banks multi-use trail. The vibrant geometric design is the first mural by noted Philadelphia artist Rebecca Rutstein. Inspired by river currents and the energetic criss-crossing of river, railroad, trails, roads, bridges and ramps at the site, the work evokes connective pathways.

A community workshop at Northeast Passage. Photo by Steve Weinik.

In the vibrant Oxford Circle neighborhood, one in four neighbors is a first-generation resident. Building on our work with immigrant and refugee communities in South Philadelphia, our latest hub space is Northeast Passage: bringing together residents from China, Korea, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other countries, offering critical life skills and health systems navigation alongside creative classes.


How has art changed the world around you?

Last updated: Jun 3, 2020

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