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Announcing Streets Dept’s “10 Years Photo Show”

March 2, 2021

What better way to celebrate 10 years of my photo-blog StreetsDept.com than with a photo show! Over the next two months I’m thrilled to be hosting an open exhibition at BOK‘s new Workshop space, a new commercial, food, and artistic corridor that’s now open to the public and currently home to Two Persons coffee, Miles Table restaurant, and DNA Flora!

Streets Dept’s 10 Years Photo Show celebrates a decade of art on the streets of Philadelphia. Started in 2011 by photographer and curator Conrad Benner (that’s me), StreetsDept.com is an award-winning website that documents and celebrates Philly’s street art and public art. 10 Years Photo Show offers a visual look back at some of the most memorable moments from the blog’s history. From photographing artist Ishnikts yarnbombing the former Frank Rizzo monument in 2012 to commissioning artist Loveis Wise’s beloved temporary “Your Voice Has Power” mural during the 2018 midterm elections, this photography exhibition will recall fond memories for longtime Streets Dept followers and offer new folks a glimpse at the ephemeral side of Philly’s walls.

10 Years, 68 Photos

UPDATED 3/4: 10 Years Photo Show now opens March 11 through April 25, 2021; open hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 5pmSaturdays from 9am to 6pm, and Sundays from 9am to 2pm; enter BOK’s Workshop spaces through the entrance at 821 Dudley Street

Please note that BOK is following all current COVID safety guidelines, and that the exhibition space for Streets Dept’s 10 Years Photo Show will only allow a limited number of people in at a time. That just means you may need to wait for a few minutes before entering the exhibition. And as always, masks are required at all times inside BOK and this exhibition.  

Excited to share these photos and memories with you all, hope you’re able to make time for it over the next number of weeks! 

First 100 Days: Artist-created Posters Demanding Action from Biden/Harris

January 24, 2021

So excited to launch First 100 Days today​, a new art project designed to engage the public around policy issues that could be addressed in the new presidential administration!

I’ve created/curated this project with 13 Philly artists and support from Mural Arts Philadelphia because the first 100 days of a new administration are crucial. The first three months set the tone for the next four years and show us where the priorities lie for our new president and vice president. It’s exactly the time that our united voices can work to push change.

Why posters? It’s simple: messages in the public space can work to influence the discussion. That’s why we have commercial outdoor advertising. And in a city as walkable and densely populated as Philly, our home windows can also work as a quasi-public billboard space. I’m sure you’ve also noticed the uptick in folks using their windows to display campaign and protest signs.

#First100Days offers you free artist-created and community-inspired posters to display in your windows for the first 100 days of the Biden/Harris administration to talk about your policy hopes. Each poster highlights a priority that our artists think President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should address during the first three months in office.

Click here to go to our Mural Arts page where you can not only get the free files to download and print any of these 13 posters, but there you’ll also find information on how to stay in contact with your representatives in DC to keep inquiring about action on the issues you care about.

Before you go though, hear from the artists themselves about why they choose their policy issues:

Read more…

Center City Wall Gets Egged by Playful New Yarnbomb Installation

April 17, 2021

New yarnbomb installation yesterday by Nicole Nikolich (aka Lace in the Moon) invites you to “take it (over) easy.” Featuring a roughly 6′ by 5′ yarned egg art, the installation can be found now on Walnut Street between 22nd and 23rd Streets in Center City.

On her Instagram, the artist adds: “Before you troll me, yes, I know this is actually a sunny side up egg – but just go with it! I have been having so much fun playing with my [artwork] lately, so I thought I’d try something new. This piece is more 3D than my usual work. The yolk pops off the wall (it’s stuffed with recycled bags.) I’m literally obsessed and excited to continue to play with my medium in new fun ways.”

I love this so damn much, Nicole! I hope you continue playing with your medium like this too, because this brought me so much joy today and I’m sure it’s doing the same for some many more folks just randomly running into it.

See past works of art from Nicole Nikolich around Philly here, and read our 2019 interview with the artist here!

Baltimore Artist Reed Bmore Installs New Work in Philly Also Shaming Minor Figures

April 17, 2021

Today Baltimore-based street artist Reed Bmore came to Philly to join many others in questions the really terrible marketing tactics of oat milk brand Minor Figures, who destroyed a bunch of local art in Philly this week. Reed’s installation lives at 12th Street and Washington Avenue in South Philly. It’s really nice to see neighboring city artists come to our defense too!

See past works of art from Reed Bmore around Philly here, and read our 2020 interview with the artist here!

Kid Hazo Clowns “Woke” Oat Milk Company Minor Figures for Destroying Local Art

April 15, 2021

This morning, Philly’s own street art legend Kid Hazo installed Major Failures, a new wheatpaste calling out the London-based oat milk brand Minor Figures for destroying the work of local street artists and muralists around Philly this past weekend.

Kid Hazo installed at 7th and Bainbridge Streets, one of several locations around Philly that this poorly-thought-out marketing camping tried to co-opt for their advertising. For the wheatpaste, Hazo mocked the oat milk company’s branding, replacing their questionable logo with a clown’s head sporting a crossed out “woke” tattoo above its left eye. Under this clown head Hazo has in text, “Major Failures, Clown M*lk”.

While the kind of “guerilla marketing” that Minor Figures is implementing here in Philly and around the US is not uncommon, this by far is the worst example I’ve ever seen of a brand seeming to not care at all about local art. Minor Figures offered a sort of apology on their Instagram yesterday in which they tried to place the blame on the local company they hired to install their marketing concept. But soon after posting that, more artists from other cities including Los Angeles, Portland, and New York (so far) started commenting that they also destroyed local art where they live. So that excuse seems to not be the full story. From my point of view, this isn’t the fault of anyone they hired in any of the cities affected, this is clearly the result of their terrible marketing strategy at the top.

To get the full story of what Minor Figures did here in Philly, please check out the great reporting this week in both WHYY’s Billy Penn and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

See past artwork from Kid Hazo around Philly here, and read our 2019 interview with the artist here!

New Asian Arts Initiative Exhibition Celebrates Queer and Trans Artists

March 25, 2021

Y’all I am absolutely in love with this new exhibition at the Asian Arts Initiative, Unity at the Initiative. Open now through May 1, 2021, Unity is a multi-site multimedia visual exhibition and in-home experience centered on the work of artist and skater Jeffrey Cheung and their UNITY initiative out of Oakland, CA.

Unity at the Initiative was envisioned as a means to increase representation of queer and trans artists of color; to embellish the gathering spaces of queer – community centers, city parks, art galleries – with more diverse representations of queer and trans bodies. In light of the Pandemic and in response to the nation’s reckoning with racial equity, Cheung and Asian Arts Initiative have re-imagined the project as a pathway to the artistic integrity and freedom of queer and trans Philadelphians of color. Unity at the Initiative endeavors to protect continuity for a creative sector whose ‘2020 troubles’ are compounded by under-representation and outright injustices.”

In addition to showing new site-specific work by Cheung, Unity at the Initiative also showcases the work of over twenty Philadelphia-based artists around the themes of racial and queer identity, physical movement, and resistance. Anchored by an immersive indoor-outdoor exhibition at Asian Arts Initiative, Unity at the Initiative features:

The 1223 Skate Park & Wheatpaste Gallery featured in many of the photos above allows visitors to skate inside an art gallery, collect some free prints from the exhibition, and learn to wheatpaste! This room is available by appointment only though, so please click here to learn how to make that appointment.

And y’all, don’t miss Unity at the Initiative Artist Town Hall taking place virtually this Monday, March 26 at 7pm! Event is free, and you can RSVP here for the Zoom link.

Tiny Rowhome Installation in South Philly is Just Plain Adorable

March 16, 2021

Loving this tiny rowhome installation by Klapaucius Frink (and friends?), located on Percy Street in South Philly. According to Klapaucius the tiny house was “built by the tiny alley gnome people.” And I take Klapaucius at their word.

By the way, the one small sticker in the window that a lot of folks think looks like Anne Frank is not Anne Frank, it’s a sticker promoting a clothing line by a group calling themselves the Anti Flower Show Movement.

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