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Donate to “Next Stop: Democracy!” Today, And Help Us Hire Philly Makers for An Election Day Pop-Up Art Installation

July 7, 2015


As I’ve mentioned before, over the last few months and leading to November 3rd, I am working with Here’s My Chance on a voter engagement project called ‘Next Stop: Democracy!‘ which will be hiring 60 artists to create 60 “Vote Here” signs to be installed as a pop-up art installation at polling stations around Philly this coming Election Day.

So far, we’ve got the right team, we’ve got the initial Knight Foundation support, and we’re getting more and more amazing artists each day (including folks like NoseGo, Ishknits, Gaia, and Isaiah Zagar), but there’s still one thing we need your help with…

To truly do this right and to honor our artists and Philly voters alike, we want to offer our artists locally made, reliable, and durable signs to work on. Signs that are more than signs. Signs that are canvases.

To do this, we could hire Darla from the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym. She’s ready to build us sign frames that will be functional and beautiful, but these high-quality wooden signs cost more than the cheap, mass-produced plastic ones we’d have to order otherwise, SO we’re asking for your help!

In a little more than 24 hours, our Kickstarter has raised nearly 4k of its 15k goal, and was just named a Kickstarter Staff Pick!

I hope you can take a second to CLICK HERE and watch our video, then consider donating… I think you’ll like a lot of the incentives too!

Above Philadelphia in Hendrick’s Flying Cucumber!

June 30, 2015


Special thanks to the team at Quaker City Mercantile and Hendrick’s Gin for letting my retired* ass take a ride in their MAGNIFICENT #FlyingCucumber this past weekend… And to think everyone was trying to catch a glimpse of that deflated rubber duck while a gigantic cucumber was flying around town!

*While I was the Global Community Manager for Hendrick’s Gin via QCM for a little over 4 years, I left the company to pursue other things this past spring and they did not have to offer me this spectacular ride. Good, good people all around, and seriously wonderful gin, if you’re ever in the mood! 

Thanks y’all!

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(Photo courtesy of Rob Quigley!)

3 Local Art Icons Join “Next Stop: Democracy!” to Help Increase Voter Turnout in Philadelphia

June 16, 2015

Application for More Artists Still Open!


Can public art help increase voter turnout in Philadelphia this November?

If you remember from a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I will be working over the next several months on a project called “Next Stop: Democracy!” to answer that one simple question. And today, I’m excited to announce that 3 of our area’s most celebrated artists will be working on it with us!

Award-winning mosaic mural artist, Isaiah Zagar, and internally renowned street artists, Gaia and NoseGo, will all be creating one-of-a-kind “Vote Here” signs for a city-wide Election Day art installation.

Recognized for his decades of work creating more than 200 public installations throughout the city of Philadelphia and around the world, Isaiah Zagar is the true definition of an artistic legend. In addition to his incredible public pieces, Isaiah’s work is included in the permanent collections of numerous art institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as, of course, his own Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

Baltimore-based artist, Gaia, who was recently listed in Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ in Art and Style, has been a valued member of the street art community in Philly over the last several years. Most recently creating a dynamic new mural in Fishtown which asks: ‘What is the aesthetic of reinvestment/gentrification?’ As well as his participation my “Evolution of Street Art” panel discussion last month at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

NoseGo is a Philadelphia-based artist with a passion for illustration and media arts. His work can be found on walls and in galleries around the world – but most importantly throughout Philadelphia. Over the last number of years, NoseGo has truly cemented himself as the rising star of Philadelphia’s contemporary/street art scene.

Needless to say, we are BEYOND thrilled to have these 3 incredible artists joining us for this project, and we can not wait to see the signs they create!

Isaiah, Gaia, and NoseGo will join a total of about 50 Philadelphia-area artists in creating signs for Next Stop: Democracy!

If you’re an artist interested in working on the project, submissions are open for only a few more days – closing Friday, June 19th. So be sure to click HERE to apply today!

Mural Arts Kicks Off #OpenSourcePHL with A Skate-able Sculpture by Jonathan Monk at Paine’s Park

June 15, 2015


LOVE this whole damn program, and SOOOO excited that Philly finally has something like this to call our own…

First, what’s Open Source? Open Source is an outdoor exhibition of temporary, site-specific art created by 14 of the world’s leading contemporary artists (serval from Philly, of course), including: SWOON, JRThe Dufala Brothers, Sam DurantMOMO, Michelle Angela OrtizHeeseop Yoon… See the full list HERE!

Overall, the artists’ practices vary widely, from sculpture to community muralism to street art. And over the next serval months, they will work with Mural Arts to create larger-scale installations, traversing art with social practice, culminating in a citywide exhibition this October! 

Before we go any further, FULL DISCLOSURE: I am on Open Source’s Advisory Committee. That means I have been apart of a handful of meetings over the last 7 months (or so) offering my opinions on different aspects of Open Source along with a number of amazingly passionate Philadelphians. Needless to say, I wouldn’t have joined such a committee if I was so truly impressed and excited not only by their plans for the project, but also by the amazing people they’ve pulled in to help them execute it, including curator Pedro Alonzo and project manager Monica Campana.

Mural Arts kicked off Open Source earlier this month with a skate-able sculpture by Jonathan Monk at Paine’s Park. Monk’s sculptures are based on concrete works by the minimalist master Sol LeWitt‘s Steps and Pyramid, which both sit across the street at The Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (And which both look like they belong in a skate park anyhow, haha.)

Stay tuned for more about Open Source over the coming months… Should be able to get a ton of great behind-the-scenes photos and shots of various installations around the city, really looking forward to it!

Philadelphia Inquire Write-up!

June 11, 2015

SO honored and truly touched by this article about Philly’s ever-burgeoning street art scene and my place in it as documentarian and cheerleader:

“For four years, Benner has tirelessly showcased Philly’s robust street art scene though his enormously popular blog and Instagram feed, Streets Dept… He has helped bring national respect to a Philadelphia art scene that deserves it.”

Read the full article online HERE!

Kensington CAPA Photo Students Create Inspiring Outdoor Exhibition

June 11, 2015

AMAZING work up right now around Kensington from some very talented young photographers!

This photo shows just one small piece of a neighborhood-wide outdoor exhibition from students at Kensington CAPA high school that tells their stories through text and photography.

SO impressed by the talent here (y’all have to check it out), and touched by the stories: “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna rob you.” No kid should EVER have this running through their mind.

Learn more about the exhibition and find maps of all 8 installation locations by clicking HERE!

WRDSMTH Visits Philly, Installs All Around Bella Vista and South Philly

June 11, 2015


LOVE this guy… LA-based artist, WRDSMTH, visited Philly this week to install all around Bella Vista and South Philly, including his largest piece in Philly yet!

You know, our public spaces are all FILLED with messages from advertisers trying to convince us that we’re less than. That we need to buy their products or services to make our hair look better/ our face look better/ to live a better life. That’s why it’s so refreshing to me when artists use the public space to communicate SUPER positive and motivating messages, like WRDSMTH’s, free from any monetary gain.

Check out WRDSMTH’s last visit to Philly here!


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