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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!

Playful New Public Art Installation at Philly’s Navy Yard Invites Us to Daydream

October 20, 2021

A new installation from London-based artist Morag Myerscough is now located at the Marine Parade Grounds at Broad Street and Constitution Avenue at Philly’s Navy Yard! Created with anonymous Philly-based curatorial Group X, Morag Myerscough initially created the artwork, titled Magical Fantasy, for AEG and the 2021 Firefly Music Festival, a four-day music festival in Dover, Delaware. Through the artist and AEG’s dedication to reuse it has been relocated to the Navy Yard for the public to enjoy for one year: now through the end of October 2022! The Navy Yard is free and open to all to access everyday from sunrise to sunset.

Magical Fantasy is totally about escapism,” Morag elaborated in a press release about the project. “A place to be alone or to share with others. An embracing arch to draw you through into another world and a place where you can let your imagination take over. Three dwelling structures to spend time in to dream, dance, sing–what ever it makes you feel. They are deliberately small to have a feeling of intensity. The colours and patterns are intense to stimulate the brain. The work is there for people to enjoy and embrace. It was so important to me that the work found the perfect permanent home. As an artist I am very aware that making temporary work that is only up for a few days can be very bad for the environment and we must take responsibility for the work we put into the world, to be aware what materials use their sources and how important giving work as long a life as possible, and then at the end of it that it can be recycled and put back into the system not in landfill.”

Magical Fantasy follows the popular Sea Monsters HERE inflatable art installation with artists Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas in 2018, the interactive tape sculpture Tape Philadelphia: Enter the Cocoon with experimental European arts collective Numen/For Use in 2019, and a series of six installations from seven world-renowned artists in 2020 for a project called M.I.M.O.S.A.

Absolutely love this artwork, and could see so many people from the area spending an afternoon exploring the Navy Yard and this installation with their friends, families, (and maybe a little wine, haha)!

New Center City Mural Celebrates LGBTQ+ Joy

October 8, 2021

New mural this week by a collaborative group of local LGBTQ+ creatives Nilé Livingston, Nicole Nikolich, Marisa Velázquez-Rivas, and myself (Conrad Benner) celebrates queer joy in Center City! Titled Finding Our Happy, the new mural will be up for one year outside of Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room at 12th and Pine Streets, created with support from Mural Arts Philadelphia.

In a world that for too long has solely centered cisgender heteronormativity, LGBTQ+ people have had to go to extra lengths to discover stories, histories, objects, people, and spaces that can reflect and celebrate our truths. From the entertainment that permeates mass culture to, more often than not, the families we grow up in, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming individuals have had to work to discover the people, spaces, and things that offer us confidence, affirmation, and joy. With Finding Our Happy, we’re celebrating those mundane and monumental discoveries. And we invite you to look closely and see how many references you can find/relate to!

Join us virtually this Wednesday, October 13 (6-7pm, FREE with RSVP) to hear from me and the artists about the mural, its inspiration, and our hopes for future public arts projects centering LGBTQ+ artists, stories, and histories here in Philadelphia: RSVP now here!

See past work from each of these artists by clicking their name: Nilé Livingston, Nicole Nikolich, Marisa Velázquez-Rivas!

Streets Dept Podcast: Miguel Antonio Horn and Sculpting For Our Public Space

September 21, 2021

Earlier this month, a new work of public art from Philly-based artist Miguel Antonio Horn titled “Contrafuerte” went viral and earned international attention. On this episode of the Streets Dept Podcast, we talk with the artist about the work, its wild reception, and the possibility of public art in the 21st Century.

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 SpotifyStitcher, Apple Podcasts, 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. Graphics created by Eric Dale, and podcast logo by Linette Messina Kielinski (photographer) and Janelle Munro (stylist)!

‘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.

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