Mural Arts Announces Artists for “Open Source” Project

JR, Shepard Fairey, Sterling Ruby, SWOON, Michelle Angela Ortiz are among the all-star cast of international artists who will transform the city this year.

Three artists taking part in Mural Arts "Open Source" project: Swoon, Shepard Fairey and the Dufala Brothers.

Three artists taking part in Mural Arts “Open Source” project: Swoon, Shepard Fairey and the Dufala Brothers.

Today the Mural Arts Program announced the artists who will be participating in the new “Open Source” project, which it says is Philadelphia’s biggest site-specific art exhibition ever. The project includes such names as JR, Shepard Fairey, Sterling Ruby, SWOON, Michelle Angela Ortiz, and is scheduled for 2015.

“’Open Source’ will position Mural Arts as an organization on the leading edge of cultural conversation, harnessing our strengths as well as the strengths of the participating artists,” Mural Arts Program executive director Jane Golden said in a release. “Mural Arts has already put our city on the map as a world-renowned hub for public art and this project takes that to the next level. The project will advance Philadelphia’s reputation for cultural innovation and further situate it as a global city.”

The 12 international artists contributing are SWOON, The Dufala Brothers (of Funeral for a Home fame), the team of Ernel Martinez & Keir Johnston, Sam Durant, Shepard Fairey (who did a mural/liquor ad, Lotus Diamond, in Fishtown last year), JR, MOMO, Jonathan Monk, Odili Donald Odita, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Sterling Ruby, Shinique Smith, Jennie Shanker and Heeseop Yoon. The Dufala Brothers are natives of the Philadelphia area. Martinez and Johnston, Odita and Shanker are Philadelphia-based.

MOMO installation.

MOMO installation. For “Open Source,” the New York-based artist will work on a project about empowering youth through the arts.

The most exciting part of the project right now comes from sculptor Jonathan Monk, who will install two temporary sculptures at a skate park sometime in late spring. They are intended to be skated on and are based on the concrete minimalist sculptures of Sol LeWitt.

The Mural Arts Program also announced themes for many of the other artists’ works:

  • The Dufala Brothers: issues of recycling and reuse
  • MOMO and Shinique Smith: empowering youth through the arts
  • Sam Durant and Shepard Fairey: the state of the criminal justice system
  • Michelle Angela Ortiz: immigration
  • SWOON will work directly with women and explore mental health and addiction recovery
  • Odili Donald Odita “will reactivate overlooked Philadelphia landmarks.”

“Mural Arts gives artists unique access to opportunities that most cultural institutions cannot provide,” Pedro Alonzo, the Boston-based curator of “Open Source,” said in a release. “In the spirit of open-source technology, the artists are invited to utilize the unique infrastructure and ongoing programs to engage communities and address issues all over the city—a process that is very exciting for everyone involved.”

A full list of projects will be announced in the spring.

Exhibit by Odita. | Photo by Matthew McCully

Exhibit by Odita. For “Open Source” the Nigerian-born artist will work to “reactivate” overlooked Philly landmarks. | Photo by Matthew McCully