Apr 3

Spring Preview: New Work Across Philadelphia

by: Nicole Steinberg

From spring training to spring cleaning, new beginnings are in the air. This month, we’re excited to preview a handful of projects featured in our spring 2017 catalog, which hits mailboxes this month.

This season, Mural Arts is proud to present projects that reinterpret historic spaces, redefine public art, uplift hometown heroes, invite outside perspectives into ongoing conversations, invest in community, and highlight our diversity while celebrating our commonalities.

Which spring 2017 Mural Arts project are you most excited about? Let us know on social media and tag us with #muralarts!

 

New Art at the Navy Yard 

  • Work in progress by Nate Harris. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Work in progress by Nate Harris. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Photo by Steve Weinik.

In recent years, the Philadelphia Navy Yard has become a booming locale for business—now, thanks to multiple projects led by Mural Arts, it’s also a site for creative experimentation and exploration. The 1,200-acre campus will be enlivened with multiple installations by Nate Harris, all inspired by the history of the Navy Yard and rendered in different formats and media: hanging flags that flutter in the wind like ship’s sails; colorful, patterned stairs that double as benches; and a mural that pays homage to naval designs from World War I. At the same time, artist Michael Conrad will work with students from our Art Education program, with support from FS Investments, to create “sidewalk surface interventions” that explore the nautical history of the Navy Yard—artwork that will delight your eyes and feet. Plus, look out for a new graphic identity for the Navy Yard, designed by Miriam Singer, which will appear on wrapped buses that travel to and from the site. Head south later this spring to check out all of the fresh work in Philadelphia’s newest destination for unexpected artistic interventions, and see all that the Navy Yard has to offer.

 

Voices 

  • Voices workshop. January 18, 2017. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Voices workshop. January 18, 2017. Pictured: Lead artist Jesse Krimes and project participants. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Voices workshop. January 18, 2017. Photo by Steve Weinik.

A conversation is most healthy when everyone has the opportunity to be included and to be heard. Voices is about overcoming the polarizing silence that so often surrounds our criminal justice system by shining a light on those who live life on the inside—tackling stigma head-on by creating space for dialogue based on mutual understanding.

After a kickoff livestreamed event last fall inside SCI Graterford, viewed online by 55,000 people, Voices will unfold this spring with a series of free events—artist talks, film screenings, and panel discussions—which will take deep dives into the crossroads of criminal justice and the arts. At the same time, incarcerated project participants will be invited to share their own experiences and perspectives in creative workshops with artists Jesse Krimes and Ursula Rucker, and author and John Jay professor Baz Dreisinger, through writing, drawing, and performance.

Voices will culminate in a June mural dedication and art exhibition, bringing these powerful, mostly unheard stories into the public realm and bridging the pervasive gap in our society between the witness and the witnessed. For information on all upcoming Voices events, visit muralarts.org/voices.

Environmental Justice at Southwark School 

  • Board game developed by Gamar Markarian and Mateo Fernández-Muro. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Board game developed by Gamar Markarian and Mateo Fernández-Muro. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • The soon to be revitalized playground at Southwark School in South Philadelphia. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Throughout the evolving landscape of South Philadelphia, and among the diverse populations that call the area home, cultural differences can sometimes keep neighbors from connecting or finding common ground. At Southwark School, located at South 9th and Mifflin Streets, artists Gamar Markarian and Mateo Fernández-Muro are utilizing gameplay to break through these barriers.

This project, a partnership between Mural Arts’ Environmental Justice initiative, Trust for Public Land, and Southwark School, will harness the fun and visual nature of games in order to create a new schoolyard and play space—a green, sustainable learning environment that manages stormwater and serves as a useful community asset. Thanks to this lively yet strategic approach to collaborative planning, people from diverse backgrounds and experiences—neighbors, students, teachers, and parents from many different backgrounds, speaking many different languages—will work together in unexpected and meaningful ways to shape the urban environment.

Spring Arts District: Charles Burwell 

  • No Title (in-process photo) © 2017 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Charles Burwell. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • No Title (in-process photo) © 2017 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Charles Burwell. Photo by Steve Weinik.

In 2016, we brought you the Spring Arts District, Mural Arts’ first rotating outdoor gallery—a collaboration with Arts + Crafts Holdings in the post-industrial Callowhill neighborhood. In spring 2017, we present the first permanent Spring Arts mural, created by celebrated Philadelphia artist Charles Burwell with Art Education students from Northeast High School and Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Burwell, an internationally known abstract painter, and on-site teaching artists Brad Carney and Jamee Grigsby, will teach these young artists-in-training how to create templates for replicating large-scale geometric shapes with mechanical accuracy. The result will be a new jewel in the Spring Arts District, and the first mural of Burwell’s decades-long career.

The Kensington Storefront 

  • 3000 Block of Potter Street, Kensington. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Opening Day of the Kensington Storefront. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Opening Day of the Kensington Storefront. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Over the past five years, Mural Arts has expanded its impact in neighborhoods with the development and maintenance of storefront hubs. These physical spaces and their related projects, such as Southeast by Southeast in South Philadelphia and Neighborhood Time Exchange in Mantua, have paved the way for better connections with local populations and organizations, thanks to a dedicated footprint and extended time for interactions with staff and artists.

In spring 2017, we’ll continue to explore this hub model with a new storefront in Kensington—an area where many people struggle with drug addiction, crime, and housing insecurity, and who seek lifelines or refuge. The storefront, which opened in late March, will be a new testing ground for Porch Light, our ongoing collaboration with DBHIDS. It will serve as a workshop for visiting artists, a safe space for neighbors, and a learning hub for anyone interested in art-making, personal and public safety, or self-care. Artists Parris Stancell and Josh Sarantitis will also create a mural with community members out of the storefront, which in combination with ongoing programs, will be focused on helping Kensington residents learn how to marshal their resources and find pathways to recovery.

New Work in Germantown 

  • Left: No Title (design detail) © 2017 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Jared Bader. Top: Wissahickon

  • 164 West Chelten Avenue, site of a future mural by Jared Bader. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Germantown: a historic Philadelphia neighborhood and thriving cultural community at a pivotal moment in its development. It’s home to the Wissahickon Boys & Girls Club, the first ever Boys & Girls Club to serve African American youth, and the first to be led by an African American director. A new spring mural project will honor the incredible significance and legacy of various African American innovators: inventors, community leaders, and prominent alumni of the Wissahickon Boys & Girls club.

Just minutes away, at 164 West Chelten Avenue, an entire community is collaborating on a new mural that speaks to Germantown’s past, present, and future. In the wake of wall repairs to a previous mural that honored basketball legend Frank Washington, a volunteer committee of Germantown leaders and stakeholders has coalesced to steer a porous and democratic community process that leads to and informs a bold, new artwork. A recent vote to choose a project artist attracted 400 participants, with Jared Bader emerging as the muralist of choice.

Both projects mark a renewed effort to bring Mural Arts’ signature community process to Germantown. Look out for these new murals and more in 2017.

Last updated: May 11, 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Share Your Thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.