Mural Arts Month Kicks Off With a South Philly Dance Party

Mural Arts Philadelphia is hosting events almost every day in October, and most of them are free.
Artist Isaac Lin creating a new piece of public art at the Murals at Swanson Walk, South Philadelphia. Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts Philadelphia

Artist Isaac Lin creating a new piece of public art at the Murals at Swanson Walk, South Philadelphia. Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts Philadelphia

In a city with almost 4,000 murals, it makes sense that we’d have a month set aside for looking at them. The newly rebranded Mural Arts Philadelphia is organizing nearly 30 events for Mural Arts Month in October around the theme “Risk and Roots,” including a party this Friday, September 30th, to kick things off.

The open-to-the-public party is happening at Snyder Plaza, at Snyder Avenue and Swanson Street in South Philly, where four new murals are up and more are planned. DJ Cash Money, Cosmo Baker, Gun$ Garcia and DJ Royale will provide the dance music, circus artists from Circadium will perform, and there will, of course, be food trucks. It’s free to attend, but it would be awfully nice if you donated $5.

Untitled by Miriam Singer is at 1016 Buttonwood Street, part of Spring Arts PHL. Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts Philadelphia

Untitled by Miriam Singer is at 1016 Buttonwood Street, part of Spring Arts PHL. Photo by Steve Weinik for Mural Arts Philadelphia

The celebration continues throughout October with more parties, exhibits, performances, talks and tours. Here are a few to put on your calendar; the full lineup is on the Mural Arts’ website.

Unsung at the Rail Park
October 7, 11th and Carlton streets, 6-10 p.m.
First came the pop-up beer garden, and now the public art projects. Mural Arts, Friends of the Rail Park, and the American Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter, are teaming up to turn an old train trestle into a “bustling public commons.” To introduce the space, sound artist and composer Nadia Botello and video artists Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib are doing a one-night installation inside the tunnel inspired by the not-always-PG-rated history of the neighborhood. It’s free.

Spring Arts PHL Exhibition Opening
October 8, 990 Spring Garden Street, 5-7 p.m.
The Spring Arts District is a new outdoor art gallery from Mural Arts and Arts + Crafts Holdings with a rotating blend of temporary and permanent pieces on walls between 10th and 11th streets and Spring Garden and Hamilton. The opening exhibit is of works from the first set of artists participating in the project, including Matt Moore, Kid Hazo, Ryan Beck, Miriam Singer, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Hawk Krall and Martha Rich. If you go an hour early, you can join a tour ($5) led by Conrad Benner of StreetsDept.com.

A First Look at a Fresh Look
October 13, 990 Spring Garden Street, 6-9 p.m.
Mural Arts is more than 30 years old and it was time for a fresh look, so J2 Design created a new brand for the organization. They’re going to be talking about what goes into that — the “up and downs, unseen designs and narratives, collaboration, and trust” — with Mural Arts’ executive director, Jane Golden, and other Mural Arts folks. It’s free.

A rendering of Eric Okdeh's South Philly Musicians Remix mural.

A rendering of Eric Okdeh’s South Philly Musicians Remix mural.

South Philly Musicians Remix Block Party
October 15, Broad and Tasker streets, 2-4:30 p.m.
Jerry Blavat will be the emcee at this block party/dedication of Eric Okdeh’s new mural, South Philly Musicians Remix. Free!

muraLAB Live: Roots and Risk
October 18, Prince Music Theater Black Box, 1412 Chestnut Street, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
The annual muraLAB Live is a mix of presentations and performances focused on the Mural Arts Month theme (“Roots and Risk”). Jon Rubin, Germaine Ingram, Tayarisha Poe, Jesse Krimes, Yasmine Mustafa, Catzie Vilayphonh, Rocco Albano and Cornbread will be participating. Tickets are $5.

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