Frankie Avalon, the South Philly-born crooner, has pumped thousands of dollars in to the restoration project of a neighborhood mural that bears his image.
The Inquirer reported Avalon’s donation last night to restore mural of famous South Philly musical influences, which is currently located at Ninth Street and Passyunk Ave. He and Jerry Blavat, Avalon’s fellow survivor of the early 1960s music scene in this region have each given $5,000 to help paint a new mural at a new location. Their images are on the current mural alongside those of Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Eddie Fisher and Al Martino. (Not everybody’s a fan: Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade put the site on a list of Philly murals he hates — which, to be fair, included almost all the rest of the murals, too.)
Nicole Steinberg, Director of Communications for the Mural Arts Program, told Philly Mag in a statement, "We’re excited to begin the process of rehabilitating South Philly Musicians, a mural that means so much to the South Philadelphia community and people everywhere who have been inspired by these legendary artists. It’s especially thrilling that Jerry Blavat and Frankie Avalon have made donations toward the project’s re-envisioning and, in doing so, are still making significant contributions to South Philadelphia’s cultural history."
"As we begin the process of finding a new home for the mural, it’s clear that we want to keep it in South Philadelphia, in the neighborhood where these great artists grew up," Steinberg continued. "South Broad Street, either at Wolf and Tasker, are two locations that we’ve identified as potential sites, but outreach is ongoing and, as of now, nothing has been confirmed. We hope to confirm a site by the end of this month."
Jane Golden, the Executive Director of the Mural Arts Program, told the Inky that she hopes for a location along South Broad to be chosen in the next two weeks. Two intersections are currently under consideration: Tasker Street, near the Di Silvestro Playground, and Wolf Street, near South Philly High School and Methodist Hospital.
For the replacement mural, David McShane will be the artist. He's had a major role in the creation of murals of Jackie Robinson, celebrities with the first name Frank, and most recently, the long-delayed Phillies mural designated for 24th and Walnut.
The revamped mural in its new home should be ready for dedication by Fall 2016.
If you'd like to help and donate to the project effort, please visit the Mural Arts Program's donation page and specify "South Philadelphia Musician's Mural" in the comments box.