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Announcing ‘2nd Saturday Street Art Tours,’ Monthly Walking Tours Exploring Philly Street Art One Neighborhood at A Time

July 11, 2017

(New ‘Spring Arts’ mural by Glossblack.)

Excited to announce this!

Beginning this August, StreetsDept.com will begin offering monthly street art walking tours guided by me, Conrad Benner. I’m calling them 2nd Saturday Street Art Tours, because as the name suggests they’ll take place on the 2nd Saturday of the month. And each month I’ll explore street art, murals, graffiti, public art, and interesting architecture in a different neighborhood.

First up, the Spring Arts/Eraserhood neighborhood, where a TON of great street art and pop-up murals are happening right now!

Get your ticket(s) now HERE (tickets are limited.) I am charging a small ticket price because these walks take a lot of time and effort to plan, organize, promote, and execute. If you’re a fan of this blog and the work I’ve put into this blog over the last six and a half years, I hope you’ll understand. And trust me, I always make my tours entertaining, filled with all the insights into Philly’s street art world that I can tell you.

Hope you’ll join me!

Trans Lives Matter

July 26, 2017

Found this sticker at the Berks El Stop in Fishtown a number of weeks ago (it’s no longer there), but with Trump’s announcement today that trans people are now banned from serving in the military it unfortunately couldn’t be a more perfect day to post it.

Shout out to all the trans people in our military who put their lives on the line for this country. You deserve a better Commander-in-chief.

New Sean Aye Mural in Fishtown

July 25, 2017

New mural by Sean Aye this week in Fishtown!

The mural is the latest in Honeygrow‘s Front Street Walls series of rotating murals, on Front street between Columbia avenue and Oxford street along the back wall of Honeygrow’s headquarters.

Absolutely loving Aye’s work lately. You may remember his recent mural in Kensington from last November. Can’t wait to see what he works on next!

Read more…

This Friday: Philly Artists Unite for A Fundraiser in Support of Art in Philly Schools

July 24, 2017

Join dozens of Philly-area artists and creatives at Tatooed Mom (on South Street between 5th and 6th) this Friday, July 28 from 7pm-Midnight for We All Start Somewhere, a fundraiser and donation drop in support of art in Philly schools!

The event was organized by V.U.R.T., a new public art non-profit perhaps best known to-date as the creators of a pair of playful, animal themed murals, one featuring a squirrel eating a SEPTA token, the other a row of cats welcoming you to Fishtown. As they write on their website, “V.U.R.T. has a vision of collecting as many art supplies as we can to donate to local schools since funding for art programs is little to none. We are launching the stART’r Box Initiative by filling custom boxes with donated art supplies in an effort to promote and support the visual arts for generations to come. It can be a struggle for some to open the door and minds of creative people without access to the right tools.”

If you’re interested in supporting the event, there’s two ways you can help:

  1. You can purchase prints, buttons, tees, and artwork donated by dozens of Philly-area artists, including many you’ve seen on this blog before including Amberella, Kid Hazo, Blur, Joe BoruchowSeper, Bear215, FaithsFun, Glossblack, Evan Lovett, and more! I’ve donated a couple prints of my photos as well.
  2. You can donate art supplies!

All money raised and all donations collected will go to building what V.U.R.T. is calling “stART’r Boxes” of art supplies to be donated to Philly schools.

In an email response, V.U.R.T.’s Creative Director Evan Lovett mentioned that their hope is to do more of these events in the future, eventually expanding to include Camden, Trenton, and other towns and cities around our area.

Hope to see y’all on Friday!

Kid Hazo Installs ‘Filthadelphia’ Emoji Reaction Meters at Illegal Dumping Sites Around Philly

July 20, 2017

In an effort to call attention to illegal, hazardous trash dumping in lots and alleys around Philly neighborhoods, Philly’s resident comic street artist Kid Hazo yesterday installed temporary Filthadelphia emoji reaction meters at various locations.

Kid Hazo’s goal is to inspire action, as he explained to me over email: “Let’s act instead of just making reactions!” Adding, “It’s heartbreaking to see our beautiful neighborhoods riddled with trash, but we can do a lot to keep things cleaner. If you come across illegal dumping in the City of Philadelphia one solution is to download ‘Philly 311’ in the app store and take a pic and submit a request for cleanup. Additionally, you can report it online here.” (Note: 311 is also the service/app people use to get street art removed, which clearly I am not endorsing. So please, kind Philadelphian, use your 311 powers for good. The City only has so much money to spend on “beautification” efforts, and I for one would rather see that money used to clean up hazardous dumping rather than some wheatpastes or graffiti on an abandoned building.)

“You can also get involved with the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee that runs over 9,000 cleaning and beautification activities a year,” Kid Hazo concluded.

And this is not the first time Kid Hazo has tackled littering and illegal dumping, earlier this year the artist teamed up with Haha X Paradigm and the Queen Village Neighborhood Association to design a series of Quality of Life signs that are currently distributed in the area. (If you’re apart of a neighborhood association and would like to get Kid Hazo’s Quality of Life signs on your streets, they are available for purchase here.)

Read more…

New Lauren West and Charles Burwell Murals in Spring Arts

July 18, 2017

New pair of murals have recently popped up in the Spring Arts neighborhood. The murals were painted by Philly-based artists Lauren West (above) and Charles Burwell (below,) and are the latest in Mural Arts Philadelphia’s rotating series of murals in Spring Arts, which also include murals by Kid Hazo, Ryan Beck, Miriam Singer, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Hawk Krall, Martha Rich, and Glossblack, curated by Ryan Greenberg.

In fact, this neighborhood is so burgeoning with terrific new art, that I’ve deiced to make it the first neighborhood I explore in my new ‘2nd Saturday Street Art Tours‘ series, which you can learn more about here!

See photos of Glossblack’s new mural in Spring Arts here!

Philadelphia: You’re About to Get 21 New “Monuments,” Here’s the First One

July 17, 2017

Philadelphia, meet your first of 21 new, temporary monuments apart of Mural Arts Philadelphia‘s Monument Lab exhibition. (Full disclosure: I’m on the Monument Lab advisory committee, so I’m really quite excited for this project, as I hope you are too!)

Monument Lab, which will kick-off in full swing across Philadelphia from September 16 through November 19, is a public art and history project that’s inviting people to join a citywide conversation about history, memory, and our collective future. The nearly two month public exhibition will feature newly created “monuments” from 21 local and international artists who will address issues from representation and what histories we choose to remember in the public space, to completely rethinking what can serve as a monument. Artists invited to participate in Monument Lab include Mel Chin, Tyree Guyton, Sharon Hayes, KLIP Collective, Michelle Angela Ortiz, RAIR – Recycled Artist in Residency, Jamel Shabazz, Hank Willis Thomas, Zoe Strauss, King Britt, and Joshua Mays, among others. (See a full artist list here.) The exhibition, curated by Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum, picks up from a successful research and development phase undertaken in spring 2015.

This inaugural installation, titled Sample Philly, is by Philly-based artist Kara Crombie and it’s located in Franklin Square: “A sound bank of musical loops and samples drawn from Philadelphia’s rich musical history, artist Kara Crombie’s Sample Philly attempts to answer the question at the heart of Monument Lab: What is your vision for a monument that represents Philadelphia?” (MuralArts.com)

In describing her intent with Sample Philly, Kara goes on to say: “I know there are a lot of creative and talented young people in this city who don’t have access to the tools they need to express themselves, so I really hope that this project can serve as an outlet for creative expression for those children, as well as an educational doorway into a collective cultural history that could potentially inspire them.”

“An important part of this project, though, is to advocate for more permanent resources for these creative and marginalized kids who lack music and art in their public education. Because part of the concept is to give children in our community access to music production tools, I’ve been incorporating social outreach in the project with music production workshops. I’ve been working with these teenagers at The Advocate Center for Culture and Education for about a year now—I record them and help them produce their music. I’d like to expand this program into a more permanent and equipped studio that would provide free music education and production resources for children in Philadelphia. So ideally, Sample Philly would bring awareness to the larger goal of empowering our city’s children with the tools of self-expression.”

Read more…

Signs of Solidarity Drops ‘Resist’ Banner at Eastern State Penitentiary’s Bastille Day Festival

July 16, 2017

A 20 ft. x 20 ft. banner from Signs of Solidarity dropped at Eastern State Penitentiary yesterday in collaboration with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret‘s Bastille Day Festival performance!

Signs of Solidarity, you may remember, is an ongoing public art project in protest of hate and divisiveness, for which I am one of three co-organizers along with Aubrie Costello and Eric Preisendanz. We started Signs of Solidarity after the election of Donald Trump. Our first city-wide exhibition popped up around Philadelphia on January 20th, Trump’s Inauguration Day. We also hosted a series of free protest sign making workshops in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center this past spring. Future Signs of Solidarity events/exhibitions are in the works, so stay tuned!

To be exact, as you can see in the photos above, the banner we dropped yesterday read: “Liberté, égalité, fraternité: Resiste!” Which translates to “Liberty, equality, brotherhood: Resist!” in English.

The phrase “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” famously became the motto of the French Revolution. We added “Resist” in French to help make the motto a bit more contemporary and join the current protest movement.

Special thanks to Bearded Ladies Cabaret and Eastern State Penitentiary for inviting us to collaborate!

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