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Streets Dept Podcast – SN 2, EP 12: Listening and Curation, A Talk with Tyler School of Art’s Robert Blackson

May 23, 2019

**Sponsored Episode**

Very excited to sit down with today’s guest, Robert Blackson!

An Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellow who worked for many years as a curator in the UK, Robert Blackson moved back the U.S. in 2011 to spearhead the Tyler School of Art’s Department of Exhibitions and Public Programs, apart of Temple University.

Now an undeniable force in Philly’s art world working to organize such programs as Symphony for a Broken Orchestra and Funeral for a Home, today we talk with Robert about how his curatorial instincts have led to a series of bold, thought-provoking exhibitions. A mix of ongoing and temporary events and exhibitions created as responses to questions risen by an advisory council of Philadelphians from a range of backgrounds.

This episode is a sponsored episode, and I’m really excited that through Temple University (my Streets Dept Podcast Season 2 sponsor) I was able to connect with today’s guest! Check out my conversation with Robert Blackson below, or on any major podcast streaming platform by searching “Streets Dept Podcast”.


Be sure to subscribe to the Streets Dept Podcast on Apple Podcasts/ iTunesSpotify, Google PlayStitcher, or any major podcast streaming platform to receive new episodes as soon as they’re published, and please feel free to rate and write a review of the podcast on those platforms to help others find it. (Truly, rating and reviewing podcasts, particularly on Apple Podcasts, helps us so SO much, so thank you for doing that.)

Season 2 of the Streets Dept Podcast is brought to you by our brilliant sponsors at Temple University! Each episode is mixed and edited by our Producer Mike Mehalick and recorded at the legendary Indy Hall coworking space in Old City, Philadelphia.

JOIN ME: 2nd Saturday Philly Art Walks

March 30, 2019

Welcome to Streets Dept’s 2nd Saturday Philly Art Walk, a new kind of guided tour that aims to explore the art around Philadelphia’s public spaces one neighborhood at a time. Each month, join us for a two-hour walk around different parts of the city in search of some of Philly’s most inspiring murals, street art, independent galleries, exciting exhibitions – and more! Each tour is hosted and led by’s founder Conrad Benner.

Get your tickets for one of our next tours now at the links below…

April 13 – Center City West
May 11 – Spring Arts/ Eraserhood
June 8 – Queen Village/ South Philly
July 13 – Fishtown
September 14 – South Broad
October 12 – Gayborhood
November 9 – West Philly/ University City

Hope to see y’all soon!

New Anna Mraz Mural in Queen Village

May 24, 2019

Beautiful new mural from Philly-based artist Anna Mraz created this past month at 4th and Bainbridge streets in Queen Village, outside Sweet Eden!

Y’all might remember that for the last few years this wall was the location of Brooks Bell’s Bernie Sander’s mural, created in 2015. And as many of you commented on that Bernie mural post, before that it was a mural tribute to a late Philadelphian by the name of John Weir. After reading your comments in 2015 and asking around, I remember never coming to understand how or why that memorial was removed. But in our “City of Murals,” if John’s family and loved ones did want to remember him in Philly’s public space again, I can’t imagine that we couldn’t find the right help to make that happen. And for what it’s worth I’d offer any help or connections I have. So please feel free to reach out if you’re reading this.

“Prove Yourself Right” Two New Sign Installations from Typograff.e in Fishtown

May 23, 2019

Two new sign installations this month in Fishtown by newer Philly street artist Typograff.e!

The first (photographed above) is located at Cedar street and Susquehanna avenue and reads, “Prove yourself right.” The second (photographed below) is located at Wildey street and Frankford avenue and reads, “Fuck next, I got now.”

Took these photos about three weeks ago (you might notice that the trees weren’t yet as fully green as they are now,) but as far as I’ve seen both these installation are still there. Love both of these and really hope to continue to see more from Typograff.e!

Streets Dept’s 2019 Philly Primary Endorsements

May 20, 2019

Election day is tomorrow, Philadelphia: Tuesday, May 21st, 2019. The polls are open from 7am-8pm. You can find out where you vote here… But do you know who you’ll be voting for or what will be on the ballet? Read more…

Amy Sherald Completes New 5-Story Mural in Philly’s Gayborhood

May 20, 2019

Absolutely love this! Hand painted over the last several weeks, it now appears that Amy Sherald’s new Philly mural is complete.

Amy Sherald is, of course, the Baltimore-based artist who famously painted First Lady Michelle Obama’s official portrait that’s displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

“I paint everyday people and want the images to be recognized as universal,” Amy wrote in a 2018 Time magazine article about her work. “For black viewers, it’s a place of rest and a place to receive love, to walk into a space like a museum and see an image of a person that looks like you looking back at you. People take for granted that not seeing yourself can lead you to not loving yourself.”

Amy’s new mural, created with Mural Arts Philadelphia, is located on Sansom street between 11th and 12th streets in the Gayborhood!

Philly Street Art Interviews: Kidding Around with Kid Hazo

May 8, 2019

(Photos by Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale)

Welcome to Season 2 of Streets Dept’s newest series of street artist interviews, created in partnership with Philadelphia’s own unofficial official street art museum, Tattooed Mom. Each month, Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale will sit down with one local street artist to ask them about their work. Together, we’ll learn more about the incredible artists getting up around Philly.

Toward the end of the first season of this series, we asked which artist you most wanted to be interviewed. And we heard you loud and clear: Kid Hazo!

This boisterous comedian hardly needs an introduction. After exploding onto the scene in 2013 with a series of funny, location-based street signs, Kid Hazo diversified into all sorts of comedic installations, interventions, and performative pieces. He quickly amassed a huge following on Instagram, and eventually began working with arts organizations and community groups on various projects.

But from day one, through all the jokes and hijinks, Kid Hazo has been about one end goal. Read on to learn about the past, present, and future of this enigmatic comedian!

Streets Dept’s Eric Dale: Let’s start with the basics. When and why did you start making street art?
Kid Hazo: Back in 2013, I remember I was following Streets Dept. I was always a big fan of street art, and in the city it seemed like all of my favorite street artists were either doing legal commissions or outside walls. I thought the scene was missing a little something. It was sort of a lull in the Philly scene. And I just decided, you know, I shouldn’t sit around and wait for somebody to make some fun street art; I should try it myself. And I was inspired by Leon Reid IV from New York City and TrustoCorp because they made these really crazy street signs. [Reid had been doing it for a long time] and TrustoCorp made it very popular in the modern day. And they sort of disappeared! So I wanted to take that idea and put my own spin on it by adding not just the street signs but also props, because I’m really into prop street art and sort of interacting with urban spaces. So my perfect definition of ideal street art is something that works with a preexisting space. That’s why a lot of my stuff is location-based.

I used to walk to work in Center City a lot, and so I would just sort of come up with these really ridiculous ideas of what I would rather put there, instead of what was actually there; and how I could play off of these signs that are just kind of boring. So I started jotting down notes and coming up with these things, doing research, looking at the graphic design… I have a little bit of history with graphic design—nothing official—it’s very amateur design. If you look at my work, it’s not complicated at all; it’s very simple! But also that’s sort of my aesthetic—it’s very minimalist and pop art inspired. So I thought it would be fun to take the ideas I’ve seen before and then add my twist by adding a prop or something else to it, so it wasn’t just a complete copycat.

I put the first street sign up next to Fluid Nightclub, right off of 4th Street between South Street and Bainbridge. I put it up there, and I took a picture, and I sent it to Conrad. I said, hey, I’m starting this persona. If you like this, would you mind sharing it? And he just loved it. He was like, yes, this is awesome! Super cool. Thank you! And let me know when you’re going install. From there, we became really good friends. And I work with him because I trust him; we’ve had a good relationship over the years. So it’s been fun to install pieces and have him document a lot of the work that I’ve been doing. Read more…

Why Are All The Sidewalk Poles in Fishtown Slowly Turning Into Number 2 Pencils?

May 8, 2019

The title of this post is the question I asked on Instagram today. And thanks to y’all, I got the answer very quickly!

In short, Fishtown artist and after-school art teacher Nate Walker saw the sidewalk poles (those poles installed to prevent people from parking on the sidewalk, many of which have gotten old and rusty over the years) as blank canvases in need of some love. And as NBC 10 reported this week on the story, after some community input Nate landed on the idea: “I really thought this was something everybody could relate to. Everyone had to use a No. 2 pencil as a kid, whether they wanted to or not.”

If my Instagram post alone is any indication, people are LOVING these newly painted poles!

I wonder if Nate and/or other artists will continue painting more of the neighborhood’s poles and/or repaint them with a new design in a year or so when these start to get rusty again? It’d be great if some (of the many new) local businesses moving into the neighborhood wanted to contact Nate to help fund this effort!

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