French artist JR works on his 15-story photographic creation. | Photo by Steve Weinik
After more than 30 years in Philadelphia, the ambitious Mural Arts Program has racked up its share of hits and misses, as we’ve dutifully chronicled. But we have a feeling October’s “Open Source” project will find its place in history among the winners.
Throughout the next month, Philadelphia will be home to nine visiting artists who will leave mementos of their stays on skyscrapers, hotels, skate parks and shuttered schools around the city. As Mural Arts doyenne Jane Golden sees it, “Open Source” continues to advance Philadelphia on its track toward becoming a world-renowned hub for arts, culture and innovation. Several local artists are participating as well.
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Going with the idea of our city being on a world stage while Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families are in town this week, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Association for Public Art will unveil a Spanish/Latin edition of Robert Indiana’s famous Love statue on Tuesday morning. This one reads in similarly designed, red, six-foot-high, aluminum letters: Amor.
Placed prominently on the east terrace, the Spanish/Latin version of the culturally iconic pop sculpture is sure to photo-bomb its way into lots of the papal coverage during this week’s festivities with its message of red-hot love. It faces the parkway toward its english-speaking counterpart, Indiana’s Love sculpture, in JFK Plaza, (aka Love Park), across from City Hall.
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After years of planning and painting, Mural Arts’ Phillies mural is finally set to be dedicated in a ceremony this Saturday — and we’re all invited!
According to Mural Arts, the free event will be attended by a handful of alumni featured in the mural, current Phillies players, the Phanatic and the Phillies Ballgirls. There will be entertainment from the Whiz Kids, light bites, and a speaking program that will conclude with a festive mural dedication—with confetti and all.
The mural, designed by David McShane, is a whopping eight-stories high and 3,750 square feet. It faces the Schuylkill River and I-76 Schuylkill Expressway at 24th and Walnut streets, and features “30 prominent players and icons depicting historical moments from the team’s history – including the 1980 and 2008 World Series championships.” Among the familiar faces you’ll see in the painting—and attending the dedication ceremony on Saturday will be Brad Lidge, Charlie Manuel, Mitch Williams, Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton, Curt Simmons, Greg Luzinski, and more.
The festivities take place Saturday, August 1st. The party begins at 11 am, with the ceremony happening at 11:30 am at 24th and Walnut streets.
Check out some more photos of the mural below:
The 2008 Father’s Day mural in North Philly featuring Bill Cosby situated prominently among world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. was recently defaced by spray-painters, who tagged words like “rapist” and “dude with ludes” overtop the smiling, sweater-wearing comedian. A shot from local Instagrammer @thesockpolice shows the damage:
After the damage was done, Mural Arts, who commissioned the mural and recently said it was scheduled for decommission anyway, decided to speed up the cover-up process and they applied a fresh coat of white paint over the mural last week.
Mural Arts released a statement explaining that the Father’s Day mural had been on a list to decommission for a while, namely because of its location under a bridge on Broad Street near Indiana Avenue, which isn’t conducive to proper mural upkeep. Despite their plans to do away with the mural, the arts organization states that, “Due to recent headlines about Bill Cosby, the Mural Arts Program decided to move the decommissioning of this mural to the top of the list. After going through the process of informing those who participated in the creation of the mural, the mural was painted over.” Here’s a then-and-now photo to show you the painted-over progress.
According to philly.com, Mural Arts is expected to relocate the mural to a different location—without Cosby’s likeness.
View of the mural from the roof of 1530 Chestnut Street.
Last week I told you about French street artist JR coming to Philly to host a free movie night at the Graham Building, but it appears that’s not all he’s in town for. As I type, the artist, who’s known for his phenomenal photographic murals that have been wheat-pasted the world over, is applying a 15-story mural on the South-facing side of the Graham Building at 15th and Chestnut streets.
The mural, titled Migrants, Ibrahim, Mingora-Philadelphia, is part of a yet-to-be-named global series by JR that focuses on immigration issues. The subject is Ibrahim, a Pakistani immigrant who lives and works in Philadelphia. The work is sandwiched between two buildings and above a narrow alley between Market and Chestnut streets, so it’s obstructed from easy view. This was done to remind us that immigrants are all over, but we don’t always see them. The best viewing spot is in the middle of the South side of Chestnut street, between 15th and 16th streets.
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French street artist JR, who is known the world over for his stunning black-and-white photographic murals, is coming to Philadelphia next week to host a free screening of his 2010 Cannes Film Festival favorite, Women Are Heroes. In the film, JR “introduces women who sometimes look death in the face, who go from laughter to tears, who are generous, have nothing and yet share, who have had a painful past and long to build a happy future.” Check out the trailer:
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New York street artist Hanksy is getting in some commentary on Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent, ignorant statements about Mexican immigrants via a series of “Trump for Presidente” posters that he’s hung around NYC and Philadelphia. Passyunk Post spotted these around the corner from Triangle Park in South Philly.
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The Oval opens this Thursday, July 16th, with an evening of activities including food trucks, face paintings and beer gardens, but the thing I’m most excited about is the huge, abstract and colorful mural that’s going to blanket the ground of the Oval while you take in all the summer’s activities.
The floor of The Oval will be emblazoned with a dynamic artwork called Summer Kaleidoscope by Baltimore-based artist team Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, who work with a mission to “transform public spaces into colorful vibrant experiences.” They’ve teamed up with Mural Arts on a piece they’re currently putting the final touches on. It’s expected to be completed by July 15th. According to press materials, the duo’s work has ranged from large-scale murals and installations to sculpture that’s been featured all over the globe.
On Sunday, Mural Arts released a photo by Kate Jacobi that shows the progress. It looks fantastic, almost seeming to bleed right in to the Parkway as it juts off to City Hall. Check it out below, and for more details about this week’s opening party, go here.
Digital rendering of “Fireflies” on the Parkway, courtesy of Cai Studio.
It was announced this week that 50 local artists and cultural organizations will receive a total of $9.6 million in grants from the Pew Center for the Arts and Heritage, which means several projects that have been living in the heads of local artists will finally have a chance to see the light of day. Keep your eyes out for announcements from local organizations, including this cool idea from the Association of Public Art (aPA).
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Photo courtesy of City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
London-based street artist Ben Eine is in Philly this week to paint the entire alphabet on a bunch of storefront roll-down shutters around Fishtown and South Philly. This morning he’s getting started on a shutter at 7th and Jackson streets, and he’ll finish up tomorrow, when he spray-paints his final letter. The project is done in coordination with Mural Arts, who just kicked off it’s citywide “Open Source” project yesterday with a couple skateable sculptures at Paine’s Park.
Check out some of the shutters Eine has done so far in these shots from his Instagram feed:
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