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Everything You Need to Know About “Streets Dept Walls,” On View Now at Fashion District

October 10, 2019

Streets Dept Walls
A Public Gallery

WHEN: Sept 19, 2019 – tbd, 2020
WHERE: Fashion District Philadelphia

Streets Dept Walls is a celebration of art, our beloved city of Philadelphia, and ourselves! Featuring a collection of 10 new temporary murals by 11 Philly artists, our project works to honor Philly’s status as an arts capitol and a place for creatives.

#StreetsDeptWalls are located in not one but two different areas of Fashion District. Our West Wall is located on the Concourse Level by 11th Street near Oath Pizza; and our East Wall is located on the Concourse Level by 9th Street near the As Seen On TV store.

Project created by curator Conrad Benner (founder of with support from Fashion District Philadelphia.

Curatorial Statement from Conrad Benner:
“Philly, as far as I’m concerned, is the arts capital of the United States. We have some of the country’s best art schools, museums, and institutions. We have more public art and murals than any other city in the country. And we have an incredible community of artists living and thriving here that make it all happen. This project celebrates 11 of those artists and brings their work to one of Philadelphia’s most exciting new quasi-public spaces.”

“It’s undeniable, art is such a powerful tool. Art can connect us to ourselves, our communities, and our world in ways that few other things can. And art in the public space is a tool that’s well used when it reflects our humanity in all its beauty and complexity.”

“These are Philly artists. And these are our walls!”



Marian Bailey

Artist Statement: “Self-assured is a bold declaration of confidence. This self-portrait aims to reject the years of being made to feel less than and overlooked. It’s big, colorful, and present, which are all pieces of me that I was afraid to fully be. The striking pose, casual smirk, and twinkle of the eyes says everything that I was previously too meek to utter. I’m here to be taken seriously and to be seen. This piece is for all of people who have felt the need to shrink themselves in order to get by. It’s for the people that have felt undesirable, disregarded, and forgotten. This piece is for the people that have been made to feel vain and shallow. Loving yourself is a radical act. Allowing yourself to fully be whomever you want to be is a radical act. Being present enough to want to capture your current state should not be discouraged or frowned upon. So take a selfie, or ten, and walk in your truth.”

Uriah Bussey
Shanel, Doin’ Hair

Artist Statement: “This mural is a study based off of a drawing that happening in my living room. In my culture doing hair is a ritual, it is an act of self care and a radical bonding experience with one another. This mural represents queer kinship and the observations of patience of doing one another’s hair. Styling our hair in our culture is similar to a meditative practice. It is sacred, it is historically important for us. In history our ancestors braided rice into their kin’s hair before they were taken off to the states, so that they could survive and have grains to plant when arriving. Our hair has helped our survival for our entire lives, this mural is an observation of that sacred act of braiding hair in my living room.”

Dora Cuenca
Beneath our feet

Artist Statement: “The forest floor cracked open. A giant gap kept us apart. Fear showed up to guide us but we reached for hope. We belong together, the forest knows that. I’ll keep reminding each and every leaf until that gap fills up again.”

Manuela Guillén
Set Them Free, Let Them Be

Artist Statement: “I created a painting of una mujer freeing birds and butterflies unto the sky. The moon and sun are filled with landscapes to represent migration from one home to another home. The style of the birds were influenced by my culture’s Salvadoran folk art. I wanted the painting to feel soft and peaceful by using different shades of pink, purple, and blues. Using these colors and subjects can evoke an emotion of hope and healing for my latinx community.”

“I added plants to represent personal growth because she is centered in the middle but she is not alone. She surrounded by the moon, the sun, the birds, and the butterflies and she is calm. When personal growth starts with self love we then begin recognizing our shared humanity.”

Tim McFarlane
GFDP (Variant Shift)

Artist Statement: “GFDP (Variant Shift) is centered on themes of memory and transmission of information and asks the viewer to interpret context and specific meanings for themselves. It is heavily influenced by observations of what I refer to as the “anonymous art m king” in the streets; of graffiti that’s buffed out, replaced, covered with posters, stickers and various ephemera, that’s then affected by weather and other conditions in public spaces. These unintentional, often anonymous and continual actions of declared existence and then erasure, form a collective a kind of communication; bits of personal histories co-mingled and evolving into something altogether new, reminding us of the presence of others around us in unexpected ways.”

A’Driane Nieves

Artist Statement: “My work is not representative of the external; rather about the impact of the external on our identities. It is about our Black bodies, experiences, traumas & triumphs, healing, & identities from an internal perspective. Each piece is a part of the body, psyche, and soul turned inside out; the intimate recesses, fault lines, eroded sediment, gravity wells, multitudes, & universes we contain as we navigate a society that judges us by what can be seen with the eye.”

“If figurative, portrait, & other representative visual works of art are the organs, muscles & bones…then abstract is the marrow, the synovial fluid, the neural pathways, the central nervous system, the vitreous body through which we view and process experience. I use raw emotions, expressive marks, gestural lines, and abstract form to give name to time and place as well as the ‘how’ and ‘what’. Doing so allows for an intimate, vulnerable, and honest examination of what shapes our identities over the course of our lives and drives our behaviors; conditioned and otherwise. It all comes from an intuitive, spiritual place that draws upon my own experiences from childhood to present. I have known displacement, disembodiment, and disassociation intimately as an individual, and our collective experience with each across the diaspora is encoded in my DNA.”

“As a survivor of abuse, painting is an excavation of everything I hid in my mind and body for survival during childhood. Part of healing from trauma is allowing it to move to the surface of our consciousness and being so it can be released; using expressive marks and gestures along with striking and moving across the surface of a canvas while painting enables my body to accomplish this. I rely on abstract, figurative forms and composition to communicate how the biological and emotional processes of adaptation, recovery, and transformation exist within us as we experience living. I examine pain and investigate its impact within the body & psyche, but also celebrate the resiliency, joy, and transformation that can occur in spite of it in my paintings because I believe we are far more than just our sufferings.”

Nicole Nikolich
I Change

Artist Statement: “I created this piece to focus on normalizing mental health, specifically seasonal depression. Instead of attempting to run away from the impending depressive doom I face in the darker months, learning to embrace and mold with my depression has proven to be a helpful way for me to prevent destructive tendencies and to rewrite my own story. Depression used to be a force that knocked me down hard, but with each year I am learning what my depression looks and feels like. I now slow dance with depression, no longer letting it lead, but acknowledging its presence and guiding it along. Through color and repetition, this work explores how crocheting has become my meditative practice that helps me overcome my internal depressive battles.”

Symone Salib with Quinn Rodriguez
The Summer Of Self Reflection

Artist Statement: “This is mural is of poet Quinn Rodriguez who is a 26 year old nonbinary poet from the suburbs of South Jersey. They have been writing for as long as they can remember. Poetry has always been a source of healing and personal growth for Quinn. Their work has been progressing, whether that be online or through local poetry readings at local bars and art galleries. This process has aligned with their forever journey in understanding their authentic self. The poem The Summer of Self Reflection part of which can be found in the background of the mural, is just a glimpse into a lifelong fight into discovering your most honest self.” (Watch a reading of Quinn’s full poem here!)

Chad States
You Deserve It!

Artist Statement: “Do you deserve it? What do you think you deserve? Why do you think that you deserve it? Does everyone deserve it? Or do you deserve it more than other people? How much has your life background affected what you think you deserve? Do you deserve praise? What for? Do you deserve shame? What for? Who decides what you deserve? Who is able to give you what you deserve? Do you deserve all the good that has happened to you? Do you deserve all the bad? Do you deserve anything at all?”

Meg Wolensky
Winged Victory (Work in Progress)

Artist Statement: “I’m a still life painter pulling together weird little clusters of objects that I’m thinking about, creating cross-sections of the everyday and intense fragments of personal narrative. I was initially inspired by Philadelphia as a much adored work in progress and an ever-growing construction zone. History is rising and falling all around me as my city grows above and underground, despite many potholes (that we’re all groaning over in Lyfts together) embedded in the layer between. I’m thinking about the ‘work in progress’ of queer experience, how queer people are subjects of national progress and debate at the dinner table, navigating and disrupting, sometimes visibly and other times not. We’re moving thoughtfully, strategically, and joyfully through old systems and structures designed to hold us. There’s victory, celebration, and sorting through some unlivable memories too. I’m out and living life to the fullest, joy un-squashed, and healing in leaps and bounds from what aims to keep me hidden. This piece features the Winged Victory of Samothrace from the cast collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Nike, the goddess represented in the original sculpture, personifies victory.”

Learn more about other art currently at Fashion District here!

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