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Rooftop View of JR Installing A BEAUTIFUL New Piece for Mural Arts’ Open Source: A Portrait of Ibrahim

July 23, 2015

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Next time you walk down Chestnut street, between 15th and 16th streets look up to discover this FANTASTIC new piece – currently being installed – by internationally renowned French artist JR.

The installation is the 2nd of Mural Arts’ Open Source project, which will work with a total of 14 leading contemporary artists over the next several months to create a groundbreaking outdoor exhibition across the city of Philadelphia, culminating in October. (Check out my photos of the 1st Open Source installation, a skate-able sculpture by Jonathan Monk at Pain’s Park, HERE.)

JR’s installation, called “Migrants, Ibrahim, Mingora-Philadelphia,” is a portrait of Ibrahim, a Philadelphia resident who immigrated here from Pakistan. The piece continues JR’s exploration of immigration, and is meant to highlight the millions of anonymous immigrants who leave everything behind for a chance at a better life in this country.

Absolutely LOVE this! Can’t wait to see it finished… And yes, if you were wonder as I was, the hands will wrap around the side of the building. And to install that, someone (probably not JR himself, I would guess) will be repelling by themselves down the other side.

FREE Screening and Live Q&A This Thursday of JR’s ‘Women Are Heroes’

July 21, 2015

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(Courtesy Photo)

This seems like a really awesome opportunity, if you’re anything like me and been watch JR’s amazing work from the Internet for years… Tickets are NOW available for a free screening this Thursday of ‘Women Are Heroes,’ a film by JR.

JR will be in Philly a few times this year as one of the 14 artists participating in Open Source, Mural Arts’ upcoming citywide exhibition of new public artworks culminating in October.

After Thursday’s film screening, stick around for a live Q&A with JR, led by Open Source curator Pedro Alonzo!

Exploring Detroit, Part I: Abandoned in The Motor City

July 21, 2015

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Last month, I travelled to Detroit for Next Stop: Democracy, a Philly-based voter engagement project I’m working on that aims to excite Philly’s electorate – and increase voter turnout – by hiring 60 artists to create 60 “Vote Here” signs to be used in a citywide, pop-up Election Day art installation!

We travelled to Detroit because Next Stop is a Knight Cities Challenge winning project, and the Knight Foundation kindly invited all the 32 winning projects to come to Detroit, meet one another, learn some best practices from former grant winners, and then explore some of the great work currently taking place across the Motor City. Naturally, Lansie (Next Stop’s Project Director) and I stayed a few extra days to explore even further.

While my main takeaway after the visit was that Detroit is currently experiencing a RAPID reinvestment, it still has a ways to go. Before I went to Detroit I expected to be surprised by how vacant and abandoned the city was, but the opposite was really true. I left blown away by how much redevelopment there was, and by how much excitement there was in the city.

The Free Press building (photos above) that we got a little tour of, while vacant, sits in a downtown with a 99% occupancy rate. Hard to imagine it will remain vacant for much longer.

The city is going through a massive program of demolishing abandoned homes that can’t be restored, and many of these newly vacant spaces are becoming gardens where food is produced (there’s a photo of one such lot below). And the city is currently building its first light rail line to connect a number of neighborhoods to the city’s Midtown and Downtown districts. (Could you imagine if SEPTA was building a new Subway or El line right now?!)

Some more photos below, and even more photos to come… Parts II and III will explore more of the amazing architecture and redevelopment around Detroit, and then a TON of incredible street art and graffiti, respectively!  Read more…

New Le Josh Mural and “Left Unspoken” Pastes in Fishtown!

July 20, 2015

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It’s been too long since I’ve seen a new Le Josh piece… Simply perfection, as always!

And these new “Left Unspoken” pastes, which I’m sure a lot of you have seen around Fishtown and Northern Liberties, are by an as-yet anonymous artist.

It’s Your Time, Philadelphia… New Installation by Kid Hazo!

July 19, 2015

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LOVE this little Philly pride!

New Kid Hazo install today at Norris and Blair streets in Fishtown! Piece includes a working clock, which you can see in action on my Instagram here.

Old Broads Strips Down for Summer

July 9, 2015

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Can not say enough how much I love Old Broads work right now!

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

July 7, 2015

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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!

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