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

New Germantown Mural Features Poet Ursula Rucker And Proclaims “We Still Here!”

December 8, 2021

Absolutely in love with this (relatively) new mural honoring legendary poet, Ursula Rucker and the words of local youth and community members. Titled We Still Here!, the mural was created this past summer by artists Chip Thomas (aka “Jetsonorama”), Ursula Rucker, and Gaia with Sarah Kolker and her Mural Arts’ Art Education Program summer school students! It sits at the intersection of Germantown Avenue and West Armat Street at Maplewood Mall.

“Emanating from a megaphone, Ursula Rucker’s call that We Still Here! amplifies the community voices that have long championed the diversity and brilliance of this historic community,” Mural Arts wrote on Instagram. “So much hard work. So much LOVE. So much community effort and engagement,” Ursula added on her Instagram post. She also goes on to tag the many more individuals that helped to bring this mural to life, and you can see that post here.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to listen to my 2018 interview with Ursula Rucker for Season 2, Episode 3 of my Streets Dept Podcast. There’s hardly a more deserving person for a Philly mural!

Percy Street Get A Furry New (Mural) Mascot

December 2, 2021

New mural this week by artist Frank Chappell III on South Philly’s Percy Street has created what I am calling the block’s newest (or perhaps first?) mascot: a tuckered out raccoon!

The mural depicts said raccoon laying in a window with a view of the Philly skyline at sunset wearing a “PA” baseball hat surrounded by cans of spray paint. The raccoon, we can assume, had a productive day! Fitting too, as the artist titled the piece “Self Portrait” as he wrote about on his Instagram. Perhaps this is how the artist celebrated the completion of his latest mural!

See past work from Frank Chappell III (previously “Bear215”) here and here! And see other works of art on Percy Street here!

New Mural Invites Viewers to Challenge Their Own Stigma Towards Formerly Incarcerated People

December 1, 2021

New mural, titled Point of Triangulation: Intersection of Identity, invites viewers to challenge their own stigma towards formerly incarcerated people. Located at 21st Street and JFK Boulevard, the mural was created by artists Michelle Jones and Deborah Willis with support from Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Here’s more about this artwork from the project’s website: “The piece is designed to visually depict a choice that an observer has to make. The choice is whether or not to stigmatize a person based on the fact that they are formerly incarcerated. It is a visual examination of how stigma may be weaponized. The medium of photography and the platform of the public mural are used to investigate and interrogate the production of stigma upon the justice-involved, by juxtaposing the perception of the formerly incarcerated person with the individual’s greater identity. The viewer should complete the point of triangulation and understand how the imputation and weaponization of carceral stigma require their participation. The artists, Michelle Jones and Deborah Willis, were part of the 2019 cohort of Reimagining Reentry, a 20-month fellowship designed to support formerly incarcerated artists who are applying their creative practices to address critical issues of mass incarceration in Philadelphia.”

Incredible work! And I have to encourage you to hear more about this project from the artists themselves in Episode 8 (Season 1) of the Art Ignites Change Podcast that I produce and host for Mural Arts. In the episode, I talk with the artists about this work and its resulting mural. You won’t want to miss it, if you haven’t heard it yet!

New Campfire Yarnbomb Installation Warms Up A Chilly Philly Fall

December 1, 2021

Philly street artist Nicole Nikolich (aka Lace in the Moon) has just installed her latest yarnbomb that’s warming Philadelphians spirits during what feels like an unusually frigid late fall! Installed this week on Pine Street at Broad Street, the artist’s campfire inspired artwork also has a fun secret for anyone who follows her on social media.

And that is: not only is the artwork absolutely perfect for this weather, but it’s also part of Nicole’s application to the legendary tv reality show, Survivor. The artist teased that fact on her Instagram: “Did I create an 8 foot yarn campfire as a supplement to my Survivor audition tape? Yes.”

Created for an audition tape or not, for me it’s really exciting to see Nicole throw herself into large-scale, pop art-ish yarnbombs like this and her recent egg installation. They’re really fun to see on the street, and there’s no one doing anything quite like it!

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

Artist Josh Cochran Paints Incredible New Mural with Philly’s Asian Arts Initiative

November 29, 2021

New mural this month by Brooklyn-based artist Josh Cochran located on Pearl Street between 12th and 13th Streets! Created with the Asian Arts Initiative, this mural, titled Strobe Lights, is Josh’s second in Philly and the largest mural he’s done anywhere. (His other Philly mural is on the Henry C. Lea Elementary in West Philly, by the way.)

“I strongly believe in the goals and mission of the Asian Arts Initiative,” Josh replied over email about why it was important for him to take on this project. “They are doing such good work for the community in Philly and the Asian community at large. That and the physical challenge to create something unique and at that scale were just too tantalizing to pass up.”

When I asked what inspired the mural, Josh responded: “I was going through my sketchbook and found some drawings I did over Zoom. I teach a sophomore drawing class and used the drawings from one particular session as a basis for the figures in the mural. I was really inspired by the poses which contained a lot of movement as well as moments when the figure was at rest. I wanted to convey both of these things in a dynamic composition to represent the community in and around Pearl Street. There was a beautiful quiet and also defiant tone I wanted to capture in the piece. For me, this was a visceral response to a very difficult year the Asian American community has experienced.”

The mural was painted by the artist, with support from Asian Arts staff, and through community paint days, which Josh tells us more about: “The community paint day was so amazing! I left some shapes open on the ground level as well as traffic posts on the sidewalk blank for people to fill in however they wanted. Some people really kept it neat but I was especially into the sidewalk posts that got quite messy and drippy. Halfway through the painting day it started to rain so some of the colors are gently bleeding into other colors to create beautiful, chaotic moments to look at. When I am making my art, I try to incorporate moments like this, where I’m still able to be surprised by the outcome. Everyone was really supportive and complimentary. I’m looking forward to seeing how this wall ages and how it really settles into the neighborhood of Philly’s Chinatown.”

The scale and fluidity of those figures on that small street, Josh’s color choices, and the message that’s behind it–I absolutely love this mural!

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