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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!

‘My Existence is Resistance,’ New Symone Salib Mural Honors Late LGBTQ Leader Gloria Casarez

September 14, 2021

Beautiful new mural by Philly-based artist Symone Salib honors the late LGBTQ+ leader and activist, Gloria Casarez at GALAEI on Fontain Street at Howard Street in Norris Square!

Serving the Latinx community while widening their embrace, GALAEI provides services, support, and advocacy for all queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (QTBIPOC) communities. GALAEI fights for access, opportunity, sexual empowerment, and economic justice while fighting systemic oppression, structural racism, discrimination, and white supremacy. Learn how to get involved with GALAEI here.

To learn more about this mural, I reached out to artist, Symone Salib, who sent the following:

“I was asked to create this mural honoring Gloria Casarez in collaboration with the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, Afro Taino Productions, and Mural Arts. The mural is located in Norris square at GALAEI, where Gloria was an executive director from 1999-2008.”

“The project was part of a series murals created by latinx artists including Betsy Casanas, Calo Rosa, Dan One/DNA/MAD, The Tiana Sisters, Celso Gonzalez, and myself. The goal being to create murals in the public space celebrating the Norris Square neighborhood and organizations in the community, in my case GALAEI.”

“I was so incredibly honored to render a mural of Gloria Casarez, especially after Michelle Angela Ortiz’ mural was so sadly erased in the Gayborhood, which I believe was such a disservice to the community.”

“The words and title of the the mural were created in collaboration with GALAEI and read, ‘My Existence is Resistance.’ The mural visually displays Gloria holding a the Philly pride flag. The flowers in the background of the mural metaphorically display the seeds she planted in her lifetime that continue to bloom for the community today. These beautiful red flowers bloom on a tree called royal poinciana or in Spanish the flamboyan tree (flamboyant tree). This tree grows in the Caribbean islands including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. I also wanted to pay homage to the neighborhood and her latinx identity with this detail.”

“As a queer person latinx woman myself, it was truly an honor to create a mural celebrating Gloria and what she has done for the queer community. While working on the mural I was able to talk with people who first handedly knew Gloria. Person after person I spoke to about her would unanimously say how she was light in the community. That she had so much drive. That she was a role model to the work they wanted to accomplish themselves. That she created a ripple effect for change. I could see the warmth in people’s eyes as they kept her spirit alive through their stories. That is something I will truly never forget and was such a special experience.”

See previous work by Symone Salib around Philly here!

Forming A Philadelphia Museum of Art Union: Where The Fight Stands Today

September 9, 2021

The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) is among the largest and most important art museums in the United States. The museum attracts about 800,000 visitors each year and houses over 225,000 objects in their collection. And in August of 2020, workers at the PMA voted in a historic 89% vote to unionize. One year later, the negotiations between the union and the museum are still ongoing.  

Today, I invite the President of the PMA Union, Adam Rizzo (not at all related to the former mayor) to talk with us about where things stand one year later. And how their union fight might create ripple effects on Philly’s art world.

Artist Kyle Confehr Paints in West Philly

September 8, 2021

Love this playful new mural from Philly-based artist, Kyle Confehr located at 49th Street and Baltimore Avenue in West Philly!

I’m so used to seeing Kyle work in black and white, like he did for our Streets Dept Walls – Year 2 murals at the Fashion District, that seeing his style in color really surprised me. And I think it’s fantastic! Hope you work with color more, Kyle.

See past work from Kyle Confehr around Philly here!

In-progress: New Fishtown Mural by Kah Yangni Celebrates Trans And Non-binary Philadelphians

September 6, 2021

(Photos by Conrad Benner and Streets Dept Contributor, Eric Dale)

New mural going up in Fishtown right now by Philly-based artist, Kah Yangni celebrates trans and non-binary Philadelphians! Located at Frankford Avenue and Thompson Street, Kah created the mural with Morris Home and Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light program, along with assisting artists Sammy Kovnat and De’von Downes.

Morris Home, if you didn’t know, is the only residential recovery program in the country to offer comprehensive services specifically for the transgender community. So before you scroll any further, please click here to learn more about how you can support them.

The mural says, “We’re trans/ we’re survivors/ we are joyful/ we feel rage/ we are universal!” And it features two large-scale portraits of two residents of Morris Home, Tazmere Stephens (left) and Jourdyn Carter (right) surrounded by blooming floral imagery and a butterfly in flight.

As you see in the photos of this post, the artwork was first painted on parachute cloth in-studio. It’s now being installed on-site. Some final painting was taking place when I went to go photograph the mural’s progress today. The artist estimates the mural should be completed in a week or so (weather always plays a role in determining that exactly.) Creating a mural parachute cloth like this, and finishing it with a final coat of a protective clear layer, allows a mural to age its best protecting it better from rain, wind, sun, and snow damage.

Read more…

Artist Quinha Installs A “Portal” of Celebratory Streamers in Philly to Lift Your Spirits

September 1, 2021

Beautiful new installation this week from Philly-area artist, Quinha (Érica Mukai Faria) along the pedestrian-only Chestnut Walk at East Market! The artwork features mixed use of colorful streamers and draws from the artist’s love of working with the sky.

“When I first moved from Brazil to New Jersey as a child, I loved to watch tall grasses swaying beside the highway, clouds billowing past tall buildings, and car lot streamers rippling in the wind,” Quinha wrote over email. “Streamers are used around the world from Carnaval to family birthday parties to huge seasonal sales—they are celebratory and inviting. In a plaza of metal, glass, sirens and honking, I wanted to offer Philadelphians a portal to something else.”

Quinha used more than 120,000 feet of car lot streamers—a material that has been important in her practice since 2016. Project is supported by East Market with Mural Arts Philadelphia and curator Andréa Grasso, created with assistance from Michael-Rhian TJader. Absolutely love this!

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