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The Year in Photos: Streets Dept’s Top 13 Posts of 2015

December 28, 2015

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(Photo by Kendall Whitehouse)

What a damn year! The photo above, I think, does a great job of showing just how far Philly “street” artists (aka, just artists) and this blog have come.

In May, Streets Dept (aka, me, I’m just one person named Conrad) hosted and moderated a street art panel discussion to a standing-fucking-room-only crowd at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The artists: Gaia, Joe Boruchow, Ishknits, Harlequinade, and Kid Hazo. Something I never, honestly, would have imagined 5 years ago when I started this blog and started creating relationships with some of the most talented and inspiring artists our city has to offer… We live in such a collaborative and supportive city, I just want to say a quick THANK YOU to the artists and organizations that have helped push this blog forward this past year. I am so grateful.

This year’s top posts are reflective not only of the most read/viewed posts of 2015, but of the people, places, and things I was most excited about this year. I hope you enjoy (and please don’t ask why “13” and not “10” or “15,” I’ve got no good answer :p)…

13) The Year of Old Broads

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Without a doubt one of my FAVORITE new Philly artists, the sticker and wheatpaste genius, Old Broads, has blown up this year. And thank God for it!

These are just two of her pieces that I particularly love; check out many more from the last year here.

12) The INCREDIBLE Views from FMC Tower

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Soon to be one of Philadelphia’s tallest skyscrapers, and by and far the tallest skyscraper in West Philly, the FMC Tower is currently rising next to the Schuylkill river in University City. And just a few weeks ago, I was THRILLED to get a peek at their already unmatched views thanks to Brandywine Realty Trust… See ALLLLL the photos here!

11) Kid Hazo and South Fellini Announce ‘Queen of Jeans’

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For better or worse, you may remember that 2015 is the year that the ‘King of Jeans’ sign was no more… Fret not, however, as the ever-brilliant Kid Hazo joined forces with South Fellini soon after the classic South Philly sign was taken down and its building demolished last February to install a (perhaps) more gender fluid, modern take of the denim duo! Shall we never forget.

10) New Gaia Mural in Fishtown Asks, ‘What Is The Aesthetic of Reinvestment/ Gentrification?

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Titled Frontiers, Gaia introduced a new mural in Fishtown last June that asked the question: What is the aesthetic of reinvestment/ gentrification?

Check out the full blog post here to read the artist’s thoughts… Very interesting question to ask ourselves right now as many Philly neighborhoods continue to change fairly rapidly.

9) AMAZING Ice Sculpture Found in Fairmount Park!

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An INCREDIBLE ice sculpture was mysteriously found beneath the Columbia Bridge in Fairmount Park last February after a snow storm. The sculpture, as it was quickly discovered, was created over the course of many hours the night before by Don R. Harrison! (Photo by Matty Lucas)

8) Joe Boruchow Finishes His LARGEST Installation To-Date

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Joe Boruchow‘s BIGGEST installation/mural to-date went up this past summer on 33rd street (between Girard and Oxford) in Strawberry Mansion, with the help of Mural Arts!

The mural pays tribute to the history of the communities surrounding it, including an homage to American jazz saxophonist and composer, and perhaps one of the neighborhood’s most iconic figures, John Coltrane.

7) Divine Lorraine Hotel Pop-Up with Surprise NoseGo Mural

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Perhaps one of the most talked about pop-up events in Philly this year was when Najeeb Sheikh and Brooks Bell revealed their Divine Lorraine Hotel Collection II INSIDE the lobby of the actual Divine Lorraine, easily one of Philadelphia’s most cherished pieces of architecture. And without a doubt THE most enchanting abandoned space in the city.

The one day pop-up offered Philadelphians not only the chance to see inside this beloved building, which included a surprise NoseGo mural, but to get their hands on the limited Divine Lorraine Hotel Collection II, a beautifully created line of modern-day hotel gift shop gear (in the spirit of, say, the Ace Hotel’s gift shop). Unfortnutely, however, (according to reports) the pop-up had to end much earlier than planned, with still more than a block-long line waiting to get in, due to L&I.

6) Inside Bok: Way More Than A Roof with A View

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This year, while many saw the roof (and the amazing views it offered) of the former Bok technical high school with the opening of the Le Bok Fin pop-up, few saw the rest of the gigantic building.

In this photo-essay, I explore every inch of Building Bok as I found it in the summer of 2015, and I discuss my thoughts on building and its future… Way too much to try to condense into any kind of cohesive summery, but feel free to read the full post HERE!

5) On the Streets of Popeadelphia

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The Pope was in town. The city shut down. And the result was waaaaaaaaayyyyyy more interesting than I think anyone expected… Check out all the photos here and see for yourself why thousands are now begging for more #OpenStreetsPHL!

4) Presenting “💩” by Kid Hazo

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For one day only (April 1st, 2015), Kid Hazo premiered a new piece of artwork outside the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts… Can you guess which Emoji it looked like? More photos here!

3) Inside Fishtown’s Abandoned Power Plant

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In one of the first photo-essays I posted this year, I talk about my hopes for making a spectacular abandoned space in my home neighborhood of Fishtown open to the public… Read (and see) it all here!

2) Uncovering A 100-Year-Old ‘Ghost Sign’ in Port Richmond

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This was just simply a remarkable find, and I’m so grateful I was invited to photograph/document it.

A magnificently preserved, 100-year-old “ghost sign” was uncovered in Port Richmond last March, revealing some history to the old neighborhood… Check out the full story and see more photos here!

1) Philly Loves Bernie

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This year, the #1 and #2 most read/viewed posts on StreetsDept.com were:
#1) Bernie Sanders Mural Pops Up in Philly
#2) Bernie (Fucking) Sanders Posters Cover-Up Trump Posters Around Philly

Both the work of Brooks Bell and paid for by the people at Sweettooth. Both with some controversy associated with them. (The nature of which can be found in their individual posts/post’s comments.)

I’ve just decide to call them both number 1 to make it easier, but just to be clear, for anyone curious: they were both more read/viewed individually than any other post this whole year! And I think that’s incredibly interesting as we enter an extremely passionate election year where the Democratic National Convention will be held right here in Philadelphia.

Perhaps this is only the beginning of a slightly more politically focused year for Philly artists, or perhaps Philly just LOVES Bernie. I kind of hope it’s both!

Check out some of the “top” lists from previous years:
Top Posts of 2014
Top 10 Street Art Moments of 2013
Top 10 Urban Explorations of 2013
Top 10 Street Art Moments of 2012
Top 10 Street Art Moments of 2011

And BE SURE to come out to my 5th Anniversary show at Paradigm Gallery on January 22, 2016… More details here!

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