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Artist Jason Andrew Turner Creates Mural with Lutheran Settlement House to the Women Who Helped Build Fishtown

August 20, 2019

UPDATE (8/21): A few people on social media were asking why a woman artist wasn’t hired for this mural, so to offer as much info as possible I just want to add at the top of this post that the artist (Jason Andrew Turner) was hired to paint a mural portrait on that wall and he chose the idea/concept. To put that another way, it’s not that the idea was created, and then an artist was hired to execute that idea. The idea came from the artist. Hope that clears things up for people wondering!

Artist Jason Andrew Turner honors the past, present, and future women of Fishtown’s Lutheran Settlement House with gigantic new mural, titled Persistence, created with Mural Arts Philadelphia and located on Frankford avenue at Master street!

“Persistence​ is an imagined portrait by artist Jason Andrew Turner that was created in collaboration with women at the Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) in 2019,” project curator Ryan Strand Greenberg explained over email. “The portrait does not portray an existing person in the present, but rather one deeply inspired by the oral history of long-time community members and the history of LSH. In 1902, LSH was started by women in service to women and families through social, advocacy, and educational services.”

“The portrait does not depict an existing individual but rather one that is inspired by the community of the neighborhood and the history that gave it light,” Jason chatted with me about his new mural over text. “The figure is central to the wall, looking over her shoulder to engage with the past and moving forward to embrace the future. Her expression is firm and hopeful; she has helped build this community with dignity and determination. As the neighborhood grows and evolves, it is important to acknowledge what came before and to carry the rich history of our past forward.”

Over email, curator Ryan Strand Greenberg added more context for the project:

“Early in the 20th century, the Kensington neighborhood was considered one of the prominent industrial areas in America. This section of Philadelphia was crowded with mills, factories, breweries, and machine shops. As a result, this area of the city became the first stop for thousands of immigrants who used their trades from their home countries to make a new life in America. Lutheran Settlement House became a ‘home away from home’ for thousands of immigrants, assisting women and families through the provision of food and shelter, education, employment counseling and training, and social activities.”

“Lutheran Settlement House has stood as a pillar for this ever-evolving community since its inception, looking after individuals and engaging in a multigenerational dialogue. It is this quality that ​Persistence hopes to embody: honoring the past by looking back, and moving forward to embrace the future with dignity and determination.”

You know, Mural Arts has a lot of figurative murals in Philly neighborhoods, many quite stunning. And Jason’s style of bold line work with equally bold color choice adds to that city-wide collection in a stand out way. Now to be as transparent as possible, Jason is an old friend (and former roommate) of mine, so I’m a little bias. But I’m really excited to have this mural in my home neighborhood. And I absolutely love what it represents and that it was created from conversations with women from the Lutheran Settlement House!

What an exciting year for Mural Arts. This year they’ve created brilliant new murals with the likes of Jim Houser, Jessie and Katey (both those murals also curated by Ryan Strand Greenberg) and Amy Sherald, to name a few. It’s so refreshing to see different artists’ styles on the street and to see new artists work with Mural Arts for the first time. I hope this trend continues!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2019 10:25 am

    So excited about the new Jason Andrew Turner mural next to our garden! The mural was inspired by the oral histories of women in our senior center, and honors past, present, and future women!


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