Apr 17, 2024

Mural Arts Philadelphia WALL BALL 2024 Celebrates 40 Years!

by: Jenny Donnelly Johnson

Honoring The Root’s Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter, Senator Vincent Hughes & Sheryl Lee Ralph, Estelle Richman and Amber Art & Design

Friday, May 3, 2024  |  2300 Arena  |  2300 S. Swanson Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148  |  6:30 pm VIP Entrance & Program |  8:00 – 10:30 pm General Admission


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Wall Ball 2024 is coming up fast and we can’t wait to start the party!  In celebration of our 40th anniversary our signature fundraising event will take on our year long theme Roots & Reminagination honoring its past and present that have helped make the Mural Arts the nation’s largest public art program and deemed the city of Philadelphia, the “Mural Capital of the World.”

Presented by Citizens, Wall Ball 2024 brings together artists, partners and community members to offer a special thanks to its honorees that have made a lasting impact for its contributions over its 40-year history.

  • The Roots’ Tariq ‘Black Thought’ Trotter – 2024 Visionary Artists Award Recipient
  • Amber Art & Design – 2024 Visionary Artists Award Recipient
  • Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes & Emmy-winner Sheryl Lee Ralph
  • Estelle Richman, Executive Director of the Civic Coalition to Save Lives
Nina ‘Lyrispect’ Ball

This party will be epic!  Popular philly-based poet, lyricist and spoken word artist Nina “Lyrispect” Ball will bring her intense and passionate “verbal grace” as our Emcee for the evening. Guests will enjoy creative food and decor by Catering By Design, and music by DJ Skeme in a free-flowing and mingling centric atmosphere.  Get your groove on with the R&B/funk/soul sounds of Ryan Gilfillian and Friends, with additional music by Kyon Williams. TAMEARTZ will provide his unique hip-hop dance performance and the West Powelton Drumline will get everyone pumped up.  And of course no Mural Arts event could be complete without murals!  We will have live painting by mural artists Akira Gordon, Priscilla Bell and Cody Stuhltrager and spray artists Distort and Calo Rosa.

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Some words from our Participants and Honorees 

“Through the vibrant tapestry of murals that grace the City of Philadelphia, Mural Arts celebrates not just the art but the stories and dreams of our communities,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. “This year’s Wall Ball, rooted in our proud history and looking forward to a future of endless possibilities, is a testament to the collective creativity, tenacity, and resilience that drives us forward. I jump for joy and am honored to recognize our remarkable honorees, whose contributions magnify our mission to beautify, inspire, and empower.”

“Citizens is thrilled to once again be presenting sponsor of the annual Wall Ball and to help celebrate Mural Arts’ 40th anniversary,” said Dan Astolfi, Executive Vice President for Commercial Banking at Citizens and Vice Chair of Mural Arts Philadelphia’s board. “Especially this year, Citizens is looking forward to honoring the history and future of Mural Arts and all who have made it the transformational organization it is today.”

“Each ticket to Wall Ball represents more than just admission to an unforgettable evening; it’s a pledge to the transformative power of art within our communities,” said Julia Fleischner, Wall Ball Committee member and Chair of Mural Arts’ Board of Directors.  “This event is crucial not only in celebrating our shared achievements but in securing the future of our endeavors. The generosity of our sponsors and guests enables Mural Arts to continue its vital work, turning creative vision into an impactful reality across Philadelphia. As we gather to honor our distinguished honorees, let us also celebrate the collective commitment that fuels our mission to create, inspire, and make a lasting difference.”

“Roots deeply embedded in our journey, we initially connected and received foundational training and work through Mural Arts,” said Keir Johnston, Co-Founder, Amber Art & Design. “They offered us early opportunities and we maintain a fruitful collaboration as we pursue our collective ventures independently.”

“I have had the pleasure to work with Mural Arts and Jane Golden for many years,” said Estelle Richman, Executive Director of the Civic Coalition to Save Lives. “It is a phenomenal organization that brings neighbors together to create a mural that represents their community.  It is owned by the community and supported by the City.  I was an early adopter and have had the pleasure of watching it learn, grow, and change lives.”

“Thank you so much for this profound honor, especially this year celebrating Mural Arts Philadelphia’s 40th Anniversary,”  said Sheryl Lee Ralph. “What an amazing accomplishment. Art is powerful. Art has the ability to transform and uplift a community. No one does that better than Mural Arts Philadelphia, the nation’s largest public art program. Thank you for recognizing my husband, Senator Vincent Hughes, and my immense love and support of the arts, especially here in Philadelphia. Here’s to another 40 years continuing to shape the future of public art and leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

About Tariq Trotter 

Mural Arts has had the pleasure of working with Trotter in his youth in Philadelphia. Today, Trotter is a supporting member of the Mural Arts Board of Trustees. As Co-Founder of The Roots, a critically acclaimed solo artist, actor, writer, activist, producer, and creator, Tariq Trotter-aka Black Thought-has quietly affirmed himself as one of the most prolific, prescient, and powerful voices in hip-hop. Over the course of his career, he has won three GRAMMY® Awards and three NAACP Image Awards. Not only did he deliver eleven applauded albums with The Roots, but the group also joined The Tonight Show, Starring Jimmy Fallon as the house band and beloved mainstay of late-night television for over a decade. His albums outside of The Roots include the three volumes of Streams of Thought, Cheat Codes (with Danger Mouse), and Glorious Game (with El Michels Affair). He co-wrote, co-composed, and starred in the Off-Broadway play Black No More and boasts acting credits in The Deuce and Tick, Tick . . . Boom!, among others. With Questlove, Trotter launched the production company Two One Five Entertainment, which produced the documentaries Hip-Hop: The Songs That Shook America, Descendant, and others.

About Amber Art & Design 

Established in 2013, Amber Art & Design is a collaborative artist collective founded by Keir Johnston, Linda Fernandez, Ernel Martinez, Charles Barbin, and the late Willis “Nomo” Humphrey. Martha O’Connell has since joined the team. Grounded in the belief that art catalyzes positive growth, the collective specializes in murals, public interventions, and creative facilitation, responding to community needs. They use art as a tool to actively engage people in the design of public spaces, guided by their three pillars of work: the design and fabrication of public art, community engagement, and arts education with a specific focus on environmental justice. With over 15 years of experience, the multilingual-speaking, minority-led team has made a significant impact through partnerships with schools, community organizations, museums, and individuals in various U.S. cities and internationally. Honoring Nomo’s legacy, the collective continues to amplify community voices, fostering meaningful connections and dialogue on a global scale. Looking ahead, Amber Art & Design is committed to creating inclusive spaces and contributing to the positive growth of the communities in which it engages.

About Senator Vincent Hughes & Sheryl Lee Ralph 

State Senator Vincent Hughes is one of Pennsylvania’s leading Democratic voices on local, state, and national issues. First as a State Representative and now as a State Senator, he has fought tirelessly for investments and progress in education, affordable housing, healthcare, gun violence prevention, mental health, voting rights, and much more. In 2010, his colleagues elected him to be the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to craft PA’s state budget of $45B, one of the most important legislative responsibilities in PA government. Throughout his career as an elected official, Senator Hughes has made improving issues in education one of his top priorities.

Sheryl Lee Ralph is an award-winning actress, producer, author, activist, and philanthropist who has used her art and her advocacy to touch lives around the world. Sheryl is perhaps best known to contemporary audiences for her starring role as Barbara Howard, the longtime and respected public school teacher, on the acclaimed ABC hit comedy series “Abbott Elementary.” She has been critically lauded for this role and has won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She is also a veteran of both film and television and serves as the First Vice President of the SAG/AFTRA Los Angeles Local.

About Estelle Richman 

Stepping out of retirement for a year to work on gun violence prevention programs in Philadelphia, Richman is the Executive Director of the Civic Coalition to Save Lives. Ms. Richman retired as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for health and human services issues in 2013. While at HUD, she held the positions of Chief Operating Officer and Acting Deputy Secretary. As liaison for health and human services, she managed relationships with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran Affairs (VA), Department of Justice (DOJ), and other partners within the Federal Government. Ms. Richman was appointed Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare by Governor Ed Rendell in 2003. She held that position for seven (7) years, overseeing Medicaid, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Child Welfare, Long Term Living, Developmental Program, Early Childhood Services, and Income Maintenance. She also served as the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director and the Social Services Director. Other positions held by Richman include the City of Philadelphia’s Commissioner of Public Health and Deputy Commissioner for Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services. A nationally recognized expert on issues of behavioral health and children’s services, Richman has been honored for advocacy efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association, among others. She also received the 1998 Ford Foundation/Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government., Ms. Richman has been honored locally by Women’s Way with the Lucretia Mott Award and the Woman One Award by Drexel University College of Medicine. In addition, the Philadelphia Behavioral Health System was named the winner of the 1999 Innovations in American Government from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Richman received her master’s degree from Cleveland State University. She has Honorary Doctorate degrees from Alvernia University, Drexel University, and Temple University.

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About the Wall Ball Committee Organizers and Sponsors: 

40th Anniversary Honorary Committee 
Marc Brownstein, Candy Chang, Michael DiBerardinis & Joan Reilly, Shepard Fairey, Julia & David Fleischner, Michael Forman, William P. Hankowsky, Jesse Krimes, Nile Livingston, Kathryn Ott Lovell, Roberto Lugo, Michelle Angela Ortiz, David Pudlin, Pedro Ramos, Leslie Richards, Meg Saligman, Tony Schneider, Sandy & Steven Sheller, Danny Simmons, Hank Willis Thomas, Ceasar Viveros, Shira Walinsky

Wall Ball Honorary Committee 
Kimberly Allen, Daniel Astolfi, Kevin Basden, Nicole Gainer, Jane and Joe Goldblum, Danielle Hankin, Keith Lewis, Margelle Liss, Tricia Maloney, Sarena Snider, Dana Spain, Alexis & Max Tuttleman

Sponsors: Presenting: Citizens; Leadership: Brownstein, Pam & Tony Schneider; Premier: Julia & David Fleischner, G.S. Peter & Janie Gross, Independence, The Sheller Family Foundation, Sarena Snider; Visionary: Ballard Spahr, Blank Rome, Brian & Christy Pedrow, Robert Saligman Charitable Foundation; Muse: Comcast Corporation, Leslie Fleischner, Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, Hankin Management Company at THE ARSENAL, Margaret Harris & Phil Straus, Margelle & Shelly Liss, The Philadelphia Foundation, David & Helen Pudlin, Eileen and Jon Weiswasser; Collector: Anna & Michael Boni, Ellen & Ron Caplan, Danella Companies, Linda DeJure, ECBM, Fashion District Philadelphia, Michael Forman & Jennifer Rice, FS Foundation, International Materials Foundation, Jefferson, Harold & Peggy Katz, Susanna Lachs & Dean Adler, Laura & Marc McKenna, Cozen O’Connor, Parkway Corporation, Penn Medicine, Jay & Gretchen Riley, Katie Adams Schaeffer & Tony Schaeffer, The Paul & Emily Singer Family Foundation; Patrons:  A.P. Construction, Inc., Archer & Greiner, P.C., Athena Contracting, The Ball Family Foundation, Kevin & Joselyn Basden, Bellevue Strategies, Shaun Bockert, CAL Automotive, Communications Test Design, Inc., Steven Dubow, East Bay Merchant Partners, Elk Street Management, Lenny Feinberg & Jill Govberg, Gessler Construction Co., Inc., Holt Logistics, Mary & Howard Hurtig, Independence Foundation, Alan Lindy, Joanna Lack & Brendan Lowe, Leslie Miller & Richard Worley Foundation, Morgan Lewis, Carolyn Bedrosian Nagy & Alex Nagy, National Real Estate Development Corporation, Parx Casino, PennEngineering, Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Phillies, Jennifer Porges & Joseph Manko, Jr., Reach Climb & Fitness, Roe Fabricators: Berry & Homer, Joe & Beth Rosato, Katherine Sachs, The Schwab Family, Visit Philly; Partners: Bowler Wines, Catering By Design, Colibri Workshop, Witty Gritty

Last updated: Apr 30, 2024

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