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Philly Artist Jim Houser Paints New Mural On Historic Frank Furness Building

July 8, 2019

Awesome new mural completed last week by artist and muralist Jim Houser at 6th and Spring Garden streets! A reflection on the life and career of the self-taught Philly-bred artist, according to its curator Ryan Strand Greenberg, the mural has a pretty uniquely Philly location too in that it’s on the side of Frank Furness’ historic Northern Savings Fund Society Building.

Frank Furness, called “Philadelphia’s Architect” by Architect Magazine in 2012, is a truly prolific Victorian era architect: “[Furness] embraced the materials and vocabulary of the Industrial Age, designing hundreds of buildings in the Philadelphia region,” Architect Magazine’s Eric Wills goes on to say. Frank Furness’ influence on architecture is hard to sum up, so I won’t. But if you’ve never heard of Furness before now then I encourage you to do some Googling. A great place to start is this article by Curbed Philly.

Now I hear you asking, If this is a historic building how did a mural get painted on it? Well, the answer is kind of simple: it wasn’t. While the Philadelphia Historical Commission did approve Jim’s mural being painted at this location as Ryan Greenberg mentioned in this Instagram post, the mural is actually painted on a more recently built fire staircase wall. For those interested, Hidden City explores a lot more of the history of Furness’ Northern Savings Fund Society Building here, including that the western end of the building was partly demolished and at some later point this fire stairwell was added.

Jim’s new mural is brought to you by support from Mural Arts Philadelphia and Arts & Crafts Holdings. And the mural has a lot of little details, so feel free to click on any of the images in this post to see and explore more!

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