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Subscribe to Streets Dept’s Patreon Now for Access to Extra Content and Events!

May 12, 2021

So excited to announce that Streets Dept will be creating extra content and hosting new events all exclusively for our new Patreon subscribers! 

Why Patreon? Using Patreon to earn support directly from you, our readers, allows us the freedom to focus on the content. We have a lot we want to create for you, and your direct support will help us to sustain that effort. 

What do you get? Oh boy, a lot! We’ve thought a lot about this. We even surveyed y’all a few months ago to sense check our intuitions. Depending on which level you support, you’ll gain access to a new monthly newsletter with local art histories, tips on what Philly gallery shows to check out that month, and new helpful public art walking maps that you can use to give yourself and your friends a tour of some of the city’s most exciting permanent public artworks! We’re also developing a new kind of talk show just for our Patreon subscribers that’ll host freewheeling monthly chats with local artists (think more fun talk show vibes than art lectures). Not to mention a longer-form Local Tourist photo guide to cool spots around Philly, our first-ever year-end magazine to be created with local artists, Streets Dept Excursions (formerly tours) and more.

Check out our Patreon page now to see all the benefits!

Artist Tiff Urquhart Paints Lovely New Floral Mural in the Heart of Bella Vista

July 21, 2021

Lovely new mural by Philly-based artist Tiff Urquhart painted this past weekend at 9th and Catharine Streets in Bella Vista!

The mural was supported by a commission from the owner of Kalaya, a restaurant opened in 2019 by chef Nok Suntaranon that serves authentic Thai food from family recipes. Painted on the restaurant’s expanded outdoor dining area, for the mural Tiff freehanded Thai flowers and foliage.

Murals, food, and a place for gathering is a WAY better use for this little slice of outdoor space than parking for a few cars, in my opinion. Love it! And shout out to the local restaurant owners like Nok who are hiring local artists to paint murals on their newly created walls.

Streets Dept-Curated Murals Created by Four Local Artists Displayed at City Hall

July 21, 2021

It’s official! The murals created by four Philly-based artists over the last several weeks have been installed on the North Apron of City Hall where they’ll remain for an as-yet indefinite amount of time!

Designed and painted by artists Ash Ryan, Alloyius Mcilwaine, Manuela Guillén, and Jeffy Thomas, these murals were created with Wawa Welcome America and Mural Arts Philadelphia. So excited to have curated and managed this project, and beyond thrilled that these murals will have an extended life at City Hall for viewing. That’s not something we expected when we started this project, but as the murals were created the opportunity came up and we took it.

We’re also excited to learn this week that while the original plan was to display the murals there just for the summer, we’ve been invited to keep them there indefinitely (basically until new art is curated for the space they’re currently in, so probably something like a full year.)

You can click on the following names of each artist to watch a short TikTok video from each of them talking about their new mural for this project: Ash, Alloyius, Manuela, and Jeffy. And definitely go check out the murals when you can to see them in real life and to read the full artists’ statements!

New Tim McFarlane Mural Shows Us the Importance of Abstract Public Art

July 20, 2021

Awesome new mural from Philadelphia-based artist Tim McFarlane, located at 10th and Callowhill Streets! The mural was created with curator Ryan Strand Greenberg and Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Over email, I asked Tim to tell us more about his new public artwork: “The piece alludes to the natural origins of the intersection of 10th Street, Callowhill Street, and Ridge Avenue, as that area was once considered a suburb before railroads, factories, and large-scale immigration began to change the landscape. On another level, I was drawn to the present-day diversity of people who call the Callowhill neighborhood home, the Chinese community and those who use this area as a conduit to other parts of the city. I was interested in giving some sense of movement and changing perspectives of the area through color and form, while using changing overhead views of the intersection to anchor the other forms in the murals three panels.”

In our city of murals, most of which tends to be figurative or representational, I asked Tim about the importance of creating abstract art in our public space:

“Abstract art in the public space is very important to me because it’s something that can make people rethink relationships to their immediate environments in a different way than representational art. Humans are wired to see themselves or some reflection of their ‘reality’ projected onto the world around them. But if well executed, non-representational work can reflect that reality back in ways that can make people reconsider the spaces around them especially in how they use and move through public spaces. Abstraction in the public realm can force people to actually stop and ponder what they are looking at before moving on. Representational art in the public space is much more expected and can do a good job of reminding us of historical events, politics, and other present concerns that many people care about. However, public abstraction can also tap into issues, desires, and histories in unexpected and interesting ways that go beyond the recognizable.”

See past artwork from Tim McFarlane here!

“Where’d Ya Go?” New Philly Street Art Collaboration Calls Out Ghosting Culture

July 14, 2021

Love this new installation calling out ghosting culture by Philly/LA-based artist Amberella and Philly-based artist Nicole Nikolich (aka Lace in the Moon), installed this morning on Frankford Avenue at Norris Street in Fishtown!

The collaboration features a yarnbombed pizza slice with playful toppings by Nicole Nikolich next to an Amberella heart that says “Where’d Ya Go” with a Haiku under it from her that reads: “You sucked my melons, We ate meat lovers pizza, Did you get too full?”

“I wrote this Haiku for a man that I was dating in December,” explained Amberella. “We met on Hinge. Our first date was a Christmas beach sunset. He came in hot, we had a few great dates together and then I felt a shift and didn’t hear from him.” (Read more on Amberella’s Instagram post here.)

“About a year ago, Amber and I collaborated on a piece that was inspired by a poem I wrote about falling in love,” Nicole added (and you can see that pervious collaboration here). “This time, we took inspiration from a poem Amber recently wrote about a courtship that was going well until she got ghosted. This piece is about taking your heart and turning it into art, about finding ways to make art out of any and all things that life has thrown your way.”

Nicole continued: “Ghosting, what a common term these days. Not only in romantic relationships (not gonna lie, I have for sure been both the ghoster and the ghostee in the past), but in other areas as well. I’m sure other creatives can relate to sending out drafts or submitting your budget or making a sketch for a client you have been in contact with and then just pooF! It’s truly wild. This piece is meant to be playful and cheeky and hope it reminds you to treat one another a little better next time you would rather just ghost.”

P.s. It deserves to be mentioned that as the artists were working on this installation for what turned out to be roughly three hours, local pizza shop Pizza Brain made and delivered two delicious free pizzas for the artists, me, and those admiring the work. God bless the people of Pizza Brain!

See past work from Amberella around Philly here; and past work from Nicole Nikolich here!

Streets Dept Podcast Sidebar: A New View – Camden, “Mechan 11: The Collector” (Ep 2)

July 6, 2021

Welcome to the second episode of our Streets Dept Podcast Sidebar series, Sidebar: A New View – Camden!

A New View – Camden is a project launched this past April to bring temporary public art and public space to creatively address the $4 million problem of illegal dumping in Camden, New Jersey. This six-month-long exhibition features six, one-of-a-kind and family-friendly public art projects. It was created with a partnership between the City of Camden, Camden Community Partnership (formerly Coopers Ferry Partnership), and the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, and is funded by a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge grant. And as I noted in the first episode of this series, A New View – Camden are partially supporting this Sidebar series.

In this episode of the series we talk with artists Tyler Fuqua and Jason Hutchinson of Tyler Fuqua Creations about their giant roadside robot (as seen in the photo above!) We also hear from Associate Director for Education at Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts Noreen Scott Garrity to learn more about the curatorial process and need for a project that combines temporary public art and public space to advocate for a crucial municipal issue.

Check out the episode below, or on any major podcast streaming platform by searching “Streets Dept Podcast”!

Be sure to subscribe to the Streets Dept Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, 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 much, so thank you for doing that.)

The Streets Dept Podcast is part of the RADIOKISMET family of podcasts. Each episode is mixed and edited by our brilliant audio engineer, Mike Mehalick!

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