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The View From Above the New Comcast Building, Part I

September 17, 2017

Excited today to release my September #PhillyMinute collaboration with WeFilmPhilly, going up and over the Comcast Technology Center and exploring the heights of Philly’s growing skyline!

As I announced in August, over the next year Streets Dept will be partnering with WeFilmPhilly to explore and document Philly’s public art and architecture from new angles using aerial drone footage and sound recorded from the ground. A new video will be released monthly – with the exception of this month. That’s because we shot two Comcast Technology Center-themed videos for September that we love so much that we’re just going to share both… So stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!

Philly Just Installed an Afro Pick Next to the Rizzo Statue

September 12, 2017

Y’all, I freaking LOVE this!

Today, artist Hank Willis Thomas installed an Afro pick sculpture that stands eight feet tall and weighs close to 800 pounds in Center City’s Thomas Paine Plaza, mere feet from the disputed Frank Rizzo statue. Hank’s installation was created for Monument Lab, a city-wide exhibition opening this Saturday, September 16th, that will display 20 temporary, artist-created “prototype monuments” across Philly. The exhibition’s goal is to explore how and why we build the monuments that we do, and how we can make the process of creating monuments more democratic and include the multitude of voices and histories our cities truly comprise. And as I announced this week, I believe so deeply in this exhibition that I’ve just joined its Curatorial Team.

Hank Willis Thomas’ installation is a public art intervention around identity and representation in Philadelphia. Titled All Power to All People, its placement is symbolic, the artist adds, “to highlight ideas related to community, strength, perseverance, comradeship, and resistance to oppression.”

Over the years, a handful of Philly street artists, including Ishknits in 2012 and Joe Boruchow in 2016, have created work that criticizes the fact that we even have a monument to Frank Rizzo, easily the most divisive local politician in Philadelphia’s modern history. Let alone the fact that we have a statue to Rizzo in the heart of our city, just steps away from City Hall.

While today’s installation is not a direct call for its removal, Hank Willis Thomas’ temporary monument can stand as a resistance to the oppression that the Rizzo statue represents to so many Philadelphians.

Philly’s ‘Monument Lab’ Exhibition Kicks Off This Week, Here Are The Two Events You Can’t Miss

September 10, 2017

(‘The Battle Is Joined,’ a Monument Lab installation by artist Karyn Olivier at Vernon Park; photos courtesy of Mural Arts Philadelphia)

Philly is about to host a two month, city-wide exhibition that’s focused on the question that every city in the U.S. (and likely many around the world) are asking themselves right now: what are appropriate monuments for our cities? The exhibition is called Monument Lab, it kicks-off on September 16th, and there’s two kick-off events this week that you will not want to miss! But first, a little related announcement…

I’m so excited to tell y’all, today, that I’ve joined the Monument Lab Curatorial Team! I will be working with the Monument Lab team through the entirety of the exhibition as their Social Media Lead to tell the stories and goals of this much-needed exhibition through social media. So, if you’re not already, I strongly encourage you to like/follow Monument Lab’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram now to follow along!

Monument Lab is a public art and history project by curators Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum, produced with Mural Arts Philadelphia, that’s inviting Philadelphians and visitors to join a city-wide conversation about history, memory, and our collective future. Starting September 16th and through November 19th, Monument Lab will exhibit 20 new temporary monuments from 20 emerging and world-renown artists at 10 public spaces across Philadelphia. Over the two months of the exhibition, there will be regular events, panel discussions, tours, and conversations as well as interactive pop-up “laboratories” at each of the 10 sites where you will be asked to tell us what you think is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia for a report that will be delivered to The City in 2018. There will also be a central hub at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where you can explore the exhibition in its entirety.

This exhibition is asking how and why we build the monuments we do, and how we can make the process of creating monuments more democratic and include the multitude of voices and histories our cities truly comprise. Current events have, of course, made this exhibition even more timely. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that Philadelphia can lead a conversation that every city in the country should be having right now.

If you are as exited about this exhibition as I am, there are two kick-off events that you can not miss this week: The first, How to Make a Monument, where you can hear from world-renowned participating Monument Lab artists Mel Chin, Tania Bruguera, and Emeka Ogboh, plus the curators Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum, Mural Arts’ Jane Golden, and Mayor Jim Kenney. The second, Monument Lab’s kick-off day at City Hall Courtyard.

Hope to see y’all out this week!

Philly Street Artist Ephemeroh Releases Limited-Edition Clothing Line with Strictly Featured

September 7, 2017

(Photos courtesy of Strictly Featured)

This Sunday, Philly’s own Ephemeroh will be releasing a limited-edition clothing line with Strictly Featured!

Strictly Featured is a new, Philadelphia-based clothing company that’s looking to collaborate with local visual artists as a way of supporting and bringing exposure to emerging talent. “Every collection we produce will be done with a new artist. Our collaborators are able to gain revenue and broaden their reach through our merchandising, product development, sales, and marketing,” Strictly Featured writes on their website.

For their first apparel collaboration, Strictly Featured has teamed up with Philadelphia street artist Ephemeroh. Together, they’ll be hosting a pop-up shop this Sunday (9/10) from 7-10pm upstarts at Tattooed Mom (530 South Street) to celebrate and debut the limited-edition collection! Read more…

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh Installs ‘Questioning Whiteness’ on South Broad Street

September 5, 2017

A new installation from artist/activist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh outside the University of the Arts on South Broad street in Center City asks white people to think about their role in addressing/dismantling racism.

Questioning Whiteness is a public installation that is asking a white audience to find its role in the workings of racism and white supremacy. The questions posed here are attempting to point out whiteness, to name it, to look at, to see how it is complicit.” The artist, Tatyana, wrote in an Instagram post.

The installation is apart of a new series titled We The People from curator RJ Rushmore and commissioned by Mural Arts Philadelphia. “This series reflects the concerns and celebrates the best of the United States right now. Each mural is a seed of hope and a celebration of the people that make up this country. Themes include immigration, education, food justice, and the environment,” Mural Arts wrote describing the new series.

In his own Instagram post about Questioning Whiteness, curator RJ Rushmore writes, “Tatyana’s work starts conversations and creates opportunities for all of us to think more deeply. This piece asks the viewer (particularly the white viewer) to do some work, work that I know I’m not always doing enough of. So I appreciate the reminder. Thanks Tatyana.”

See pervious work from Tatyana Fazlalizadeh around Philly here!

Streets Dept Explores the East Market Neighborhood with The Ludlow

September 3, 2017

So excited to announce today that for the next week I’ve partnered with The Ludlow to take over @TheLudlowPhilly’s Instagram account to highlight my favorite parts of the East Market neighborhood!

This is a neighborhood I know well, because I worked here for over 10 years. I had my first job at Old Navy at The Gallery when I was in high school (which I worked at for 3 years.) And my last two jobs before I was able to pursue Streets Dept full-time, Capogiro Gelato then Quaker City Mercantile, were both near 13th and Sansom streets (both I worked at for four years each.) So, suffice it to say I’ve spent a LOT of time in this neighborhood, and I’m excited to show you some of my favorite spots… Hope you’ll follow along at @TheLudlowPhilly!

Philly: Have You Seen This Deer Jawn Around Town Yet?

August 30, 2017

Over the last month (since late-July to be precise), mysterious “Deer Jawn” street signs have started popping up around Philly. The signs, which are installed as wheatpastes, stickers, and even a few realistic street signs, read either “Deer Jawn Crossing” or “Slow: Deer Jawn.” Some have even reported sightings of, well, a deer jawn walking the streets of Philadelphia. So, what is this all about?

Curious and eager to know more, I posed the question to my Instagram last night asking if anyone knew more about this “Deer Jawn.” Nearly immediately, my brilliant followers led me to the Instagram account of said Deer Jawn, to whom I sent a message requesting an interview. The Deer Jawn, who I later found out was a graduate from Penn State with a degree in graphic design, kindly accepted.

(Photos courtesy of Deer Jawn’s Instagram)

“This project is constantly evolving. It is both street art and performance art,” Deer Jawn replied to me in an email. “The idea behind the Deer Jawn street signs was simply a mysterious way for me to introduce this character to the community.”

So how/why did this all get started, you may be wondering? I asked the artist: “I am always experimenting with new ways to express my creativity. I love making music, pop art, costumes, etc. Originally, Deer Jawn was an idea that I had for a solo music act. It then evolved into more of an art project, although I may still take it in a musical direction. (Any electro musicians out there please hit me up.) Philly has a really strong street art scene, which I love, so I thought what better way to share this idea than by offering it up to everyone through wheatpastes, stickers, and street signs.”

“I want to create art that people can find fun and entertaining, but if I can use it to help propel a message and touch people in a deep and meaningful way, then I think that’s cooler still. Whether Deer Jawn accomplishes that remains to be seen,” Deer Jawn responded when I asked about his “Nazi Punk Buck Off” tee shirt Instagram post and whether he saw himself as an activist as well as an artist.

So what’s next? “[My] plan is to expand into interactive art and possibly more. The direction might depend upon how people react to this jawn. For example, in my head I envision people engaging me on Twitter in a Dear John or Dear Abby way… I have some other ideas for Deer Jawn too that will start to pop up around Philly that will give people another peek into who he is. Keep your eyes peeled!”

Thanks so much for the interview, Deer Jawn!

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