Frankie Avalon Backs Effort To Save South Philly Mural

Photo by Wally Gobetz, via Flickr and a Creative Commons license.

Photo by Wally Gobetz, via Flickr and a Creative Commons license.

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.” Read more »

Work Resumes on Walnut Street Phillies Mural

mural_400x400The city is back to work on a larger-than-life mural celebrating Phillies history.

The mural, designed by artist David McShane — who has been behind other baseball-related murals curated by the Mural Arts Program — and painted by members of the Phillies (including Mike Schmidt) and greater Philadelphia communities, will come to fruition over the next seven weeks, according to KYW. That’s just in time for Phillies Alumni Weekend July 31st-August 2nd. Read more »

Morning Headlines: Murals Arts Program Wall-Hunting in Bella Vista


Wellness by James Burns, via Mural Arts/BVNA

It’s been a busy couple of week for the Mural Arts Program. Not only have they announced a star-studded lineup of artists for their “Open Source” project that’s being billed as Philly’s biggest site-specific art exhibition ever, they are on the hunt for a fresh wall space in Bella Vista for a new installation entitled “Wellness” from staff artist James Burns, according to Passyunk Post.

If you know of a space for the new mural, the Bella Vista Neighbors Association wants to know about it as they are looking for a site “as soon as possible,” according to their website. Here’s more:

[T]he design for this mural is based on the Enso circle, which is a form of meditation. The inspiration for the design for this Wellness mural was created in part by participants in Wellness workshops at the Broad Street Ministry and other workshops held throughout the city.

You may recall that “Autumn”, a beloved mural on Bainbridge Street that was part of the Four Seasons in Philadelphia collection by artist David Guinn, was covered a few years ago by infill housing.

Mural Arts Program is looking for a Bella Vista wall [Passyunk Post]

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A Bonus Event for Readers!

In addition to our DesignPhiladelphia pick of the day, Ticket has a full roster of other goings-on this week! One we think Property readers might like? MuraLAB!

Ticket notes the TED-inspired event, which happens tomorrow, involves “an intimate group of unique and creative people who understand, in their own way, the role art plays in improving the civic landscape of cities.” Admission is free, but registration is still required to save a seat!

WHEN: Tuesday October 14th, 6:00PM – 8:30PM
WHERE: WHYY, 150 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106

Inga Saffron vs. Mural Arts: The T-Shirt Edition

mural arts t-shirt

A t-shirt made by Mural Arts in the wake of a column by Inga Saffron. Modeled by Emily Goulet.

This year marks the Mural Arts Program (MAP)’s 30th anniversary, and it should surprise no one that the Inquirer‘s Inga Saffron — a longtime critic of the city arts agency — would have something to say about it.

In a recent Changing Skyline column, the architecture critic did indeed take the opportunity to say a few words about MAP, some of them almost kind:

During those three decades, the city agency has left its mark on some 3,600 walls, mostly in the bleaker corners of the city where a little paint isn’t the worst thing that can happen.

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A Celebration of Fergie’s New Freewall

the fawn

Desiree Bender’s The Fawn on the side of Fergie’s

Freewall Philadelphia is a mural project dreamed up by David Guinn, a prolific muralist with the Mural Arts Program who saw something missing in the city’s wall-art scene: a place where non Mural Arts-affiliated artists could use a wall as a canvas without doing something illegal. Hence the side of Fergie’s on Sansom between 12th and 13th — a building that’s now become an outdoor art gallery.

Up now? Desiree Bender’s wheatpaste The Fawn. Next week Freewall holds a celebration and fundraiser for the newest Bender’s wheatpaste, hoping to to match a Knight Foundation grant. More info to come…

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Mural Arts: “Fear Not, It’s a Face Lift”

Photo: Mural Arts' Facebook page

The Mural Arts Program (MAP) knows how much people love the 1987 Keith Haring mural We the Youth at 22nd & Ellsworth. That’s why the city arts organization issued a reassuring heads up on its Facebook page before the beginning of a six- to eight-week restoration, during which there will be scaffolding and workers and other oft-suspicious signs of doom.

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David Guinn Mural Defaced By Graffiti at 13th and Pine

Photo via Jay Wahl's Twitter feed

Photo via Jay Wahl’s Twitter feed

One the best things about this city is the plethora of artwork on its buildings. Some of it is legal (see: the Mural Arts Program) and some of it isn’t (check out Either way, the city’s real estate serves as a lively and expressive canvas.

One of the city’s most-loved muralists is David Guinn, who’s known for becoming the subject of a neighborhood dustup when his “Autumn” mural in Bella Vista was obscured by a new building despite mountains of resident opposition.

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Property’s Morning Obsession: Faveladelphia

The pair of Dutch painters known as Haas & Hahn are famous for transforming Brazilian favelas with bold, colorful paint on building exteriors. Last year they began doing the same in Philadelphia on the 2600 block of Germantown Avenue in partnership with the Mural Arts Program, working with neighborhood kids and residents to transform a neighborhood that the two painters characterized as equally troubled as the slums of Rio.

The project was featured in the New York Times’ Style Magazine, which described the area as “a crime-ridden section of North Philadelphia” with “dilapidated storefronts, boarded-up windows, drooping cornices and even a few stray Art Deco details.”Amazingly, the artists also told the Times that Philly is so screwed up, it’s harder to get things done here than it is in Rio’s favelas due to “layers of bureacracy,” among other problems.

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