May 2, 2014

Profiles: Amplify

by: Rachel Quimby

Artist Ben Volta is leading his assistants and the Restorative Justice Guild program through the final stages of creating a mural. Their work – titled Amplify – is being installed on the Union Transfer building at 11th and Spring Garden. Union Transfer is also the venue for our annual Wall Ball fundraiser later this month. Volta watches on as the artists install and touch up their work from a seven-story scaffolding structure they built as part of job training with the Guild. The final mural will be comple in advance of Wall Ball.

“The Guild members were involved with the creative process from the start,” says Volta. They started last July by explored the Union Transfer building looking for inspiration from the space. Many aspects of the mural echo the interior design of Union Transfer, the architecture of the surrounding neighborhood, and the purpose of the building as a music venue. The final design mimics sound projecting from a gramophone and amplifying as it moves across the wall.

“Creating a mural is a process,” says Volta. “As they’re drawing, the image is emerging through a conversation process.” These conversations, which started about drawing, “took the idea of amplification and then was applied to individual members of the Guild and how they can amplify their own voice in their careers. Many of their conversations were focused around reentry and coming out of federal, state, or county prison. Questions were asked, like, what are the steps we need to do to amplify your creative voice?” When you ask these questions, Volta will tell you, “its amazing what happens.”

Next year, former Guild member Jesse Krimes will be presenting and showing his work at Marking Time: Prison Arts and Activism Conference at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. . This year, a current Guild member has been able to hone his vision that he’s an artist by recognizing that he needs to go to art school to develop his craft. This is Volta’s fifth artwork for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Philadelphia and second time working with the Restorative Justice Guild program.

Last updated: Mar 21, 2016

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