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Streets Dept Magazine, Issue #2 (2023)

January 13, 2023

Our second annual issue of the Streets Dept Magazine is now available for purchase: Click here to get yours now!

Former Art Teacher Uses Multimedia Street Art To Navigate Pandemic Career Transition

January 26, 2023

By Eric Dale, Streets Dept Contributor

A ton of unusual street art has popped up on Meredith Street between 24th and 25th Streets in Philly’s Art Museum Area/ Fairmount neighborhood in recent months (and years).

Nearly all of it was created by a Fairmount resident named Jodi, who is a performance artist, sculptor, art director, yoga teacher, and member of the artist collective Space 1026. But today’s story begins in 2020—so you might be able to guess where this is going.

For 17 years, Jodi worked as an art teacher. When the pandemic began, she continued teaching virtually for a while, experimenting with things like sidewalk chalk art to get her students outside again. In a way, she had been preparing students for something like the pandemic shutdown for years. “I studied art therapy and sculpture in college,” she told me. “I did a lot of movement-based art meditation with them.” But eventually, she realized that her time teaching art had to come to an end.

In the months that followed, Jodi found that the very same art projects she had made with her students were therapeutic for her, so she decided to continue making some of them. That body of work ended up leading to a group art show with two other former art teachers.

Read more…

Lisa Kelley Reveals New SEPTA Suburban Station Mural

January 23, 2023

In love with this colorful new mural from Philly-based artist, Lisa Kelley! Located inside SEPTA’s Suburban Station (nearest to the 17th Street and JFK Boulevard entrance), the mural was created with Mural Arts Philadelphia and a wonderful 2021-2022 grant from SEPTA to create projects on SEPTA properties.

Titled, My Art Gives Me A Voice, “the mural was inspired by the chirps of bluebirds, wrens, and chickadees that Lisa listens to when she walks in a park to clear her mind,” the project’s website reads. “Lisa hopes that the mural, which features suns, flowers, geometric shapes, and mandalas, is meant to evoke feelings of healing and growth and will uplift the spirits of people who see it.”

And just like 2020’s Lauren Cat West SEPTA system mural project, this mural was created with Mural Arts’ Color Me Back program, a same-day work and pay program in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services that combines participatory art-making and access to social services.

“I did printmaking workshops with participants before designing the mural,” Lisa texted me about the process. “All the shapes in the background are drawings people did in the workshops. The words are things participants said about the program.”

As someone who’s long questioned the value of advertising in our physical public space, one thing I particularly like about this mural and the ongoing collaboration between SEPTA and Mural Arts that created it is that it provides public art in places that might otherwise be used for advertising. And public art created by Philadelphia artists along with communities here in the city! Projects like this are far more valuable to everyday commuters than walls of ads that you can find in countless other parts of SEPTA’s infrastructure.

Congrats to everyone involved in this project! Excited to see more like it.

See previous projects by Lisa Kelley around Philly here and here!

Streets Dept Presents: Philly’s Top 13 Street Art Moments of 2022

December 28, 2022

Welcome back to Streets Dept‘s annual tradition looking back at some of Philly’s most notable street/public art moments of the past year!

First, a disclaimer: I’m using the term “street art” loosely here. What you’ll find on this list is a representation of this year through the eyes of this blog and you, our readers. That means you’ll find both large-scale and small-scale works of art on this list. Art that was commissioned (aka public art), as well as art that was not (aka street art). Art that responds to more universal experiences, as well as art that represents a more individualist expression. But all the artworks on this list were new and installed in Philly’s public space in 2022 and documented by Streets Dept.

In the past I used to divide this list into two separate lists: a street art list and a public art list. But, I find mixing them together like this is not only more interesting but also ultimately how we all experience art in the public space. You can find just as much connection to a singular street artist’s wheatpaste as you can a work of public art that took many more people, organizations, and funders to create.

Lastly, as always, this list is built by both you and me! The list is comprised of installations that I’ve documented and written about for this blog and/or Streets Dept’s social media in 2022. And since I can’t document or know about everything that happens, it is in a way curated by me. Its order, however, is largely chosen by you, our readers. Mostly by how much the articles and the social media posts about each project were viewed and shared by you. In short, you’re engagement with and excitement towards Streets Dept’s posts documenting these artworks helped to built this list and its order! (Note: if you’re an artist creating in Philly and you want to be documented by Streets Dept, please read here.)

So without further ado, here is Streets Dept’s list of the 13 most talked about works of art that we saw in Philly’s public space in 2022:

#13: Marianela Fuentes Makes A Monument

In June, a new monument was unveiled at Philly’s Navy Yard. Titled Alpha Sacred Beings (The Origin of Creation), the artwork was created by lead artist Marianela Fuentes along with public arts group, Group X and artists from the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. Designed as “a monument symbolizing a bridge between two Indigenous Nations,” you can view the artwork yourself at League Island Park (11th Street and Constitution Avenue).

See original post here.

Watch a short film about this artwork’s creation on Group X’s YouTube here.

#12: Klip Collective In The Gayborhood

Klip Collective make some of the most dynamic art projects coming out of Philly these days, and their artwork installed in March has created such a surprise-and-delight moment for folks walking past its Juniper and Sansom Streets location in the Gayborhood. Klip often does massive projects with awesome collaborators around the region and country–like what they currently have going on with Grounds For Sculpture outside of Trenton, New Jersey. So, it’s really nice when you can get a peek at their work in the city with an installation like this!

See original post here.

Read more…

Fishtown Gets Four New Murals From Four First-time Muralists

December 23, 2022

Four awesome new murals have gone up in Fishtown from four up-and-coming Philly muralists!

Located at Frankford and Delaware Avenues and created through Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Fellowship for Black Artists, the murals feature the work of four of the fellowship’s 2022 artists. From left to right in the photo above (and in order of the photos below,) they were created by: Kita Richardson, Dyymond Whipper-Young, Faysal Adger, and Jaz Morse.

For each of these artists, this is the first public mural they have ever created!

The murals are painted on The Fillmore Philadelphia, who was a supporter of the project. And this location inspired the general theme of the project, music and Philly. Each artist took their interpretations from there, and the results are a fantastic addition to this super busy intersection.

Love this project so much, and love opportunities like this where we are see and celebrate new muralists!

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