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“Speak Your Truth:” The Story Behind A New Mural in Fishtown

November 18, 2018

At the end of September, an awesome new mural by one of my favorite Philly artist Blur went up in Fishtown outside The Common Room, located on Front street between Jefferson and Oxford streets. I love when local businesses hire artists to create public art on their buildings, so I wanted to reach out to learn more!

I emailed The Common Room’s owner Chelsey Eiel, who began by explaining more about the space itself: “The Common Room is a gallery and workshop space featuring fine art and functional wares by womxn and nonbinary artists. It aims to provide safe, inclusive space for those who feel unrepresented in more traditional public spaces. The gallery’s salon-style atmosphere seeks to spark critical dialogue around social justice and progressive change, while the meditation studio below the gallery offers an intimate environment for respite and self-care. No artist, activist, seeker, or change-maker can go at it alone; we need community in order to thrive. The Common Room celebrates our individuality, while also bringing us together in our shared experience. In a time of political divisiveness and moral apathy, I believe we need these spaces to feel seen, heard, and supported – to know we are worthy because we exist. More than ever, women are feeling a deep urge to gather in circles, to share their wisdom, and to help each other heal. I don’t think this is a mistake; it’s a reclamation, and I’m here to make space for it.”

Then I asked Chelsey about working with Blur for this mural: “I was introduced to Blur through a mutual friend who had a hunch we’d hit it off. I already loved her work and its powerful feminist message for advocacy and agency, but meeting her, I was blown away by her resilience and poise. We shared our stories and some ideas for collaborating on a permanent installation, and when I received the mock-up for ‘Speak Your Truth,’ I knew she got what I was trying to accomplish with The Common Room from a visceral level. I hope that people who see it have that same gut understanding: that this is a space dedicated to the expression of all voices, and the amplification of voices that have historically and systematically been silenced. That when you walk through the doors here, you’re safe to speak your truth, and there is a community here anxiously waiting to hear it.”

“‘Speak Your Truth,’ is the largest mural I’ve done in Philly, and one of currently only two total in the city,” Blur added when I emailed her for comment. “When I approached Chelsey about creating this mural, I was completely inspired by her story of the gallery space. Her goals and dreams for the space and the power it had were big inspirations for the design. I played with a new perspective of my Mouth Design and made sure to make it bright and colorful. I decided to not have any writing in the piece like I normally do because I didn’t want to influence what that viewers felt. My goal for this mural was to empower the viewers to say what needs to be said and to inspire people to spread love and kindness.”

See more work from Blur around Philly here!

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 18, 2018 11:07 pm


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