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City-wide Street Art Project is Filling Walls with Hopes for Our Post-COVID Future

May 7, 2020

Over the last several weeks a new multi-artist street art project called Fill the Walls with Hope has emerged on walls and temporarily boarded up windows across Philadelphia. Organized by Mark Strandquist and created with submissions by dozens of artists, the project features a series of thoughtfully collaged artworks wheatpasted together, the individual artworks each containing messages related to our COVID-19 moment. Those messages are a mix of public health information, like reminding people to remain 6ft. apart with a diagram of what that looks like. As well as messages of thanks for the essential workers leading us through this moment and hopes for the society we rebuild moving forward.

You know, it’s been widely refreshing to see so many artists use what they have to thank essential workers in this moment, and you just have to go look at the last number of weeks of this blog to see examples of that. But with this project I find it equally inspiring to see messages that also speak to the systemic issues COVID-19 has put a magnifying glass on. Messages around deincarceration, confronting racism, valuing all immigrants, housing and healthcare as human rights, and the fight for trans, queer, and femme futures, among other messages standing together calling for a more just and equitable future for all.

Any artist, poet, or activist can submit to the project, and right now those include: Monica Trinidad, Molly Crabapple, Aryanna Tischler, Kayan Cheung-Miaw, Symone Salib, Julia Terry, Bunnie Reiss, Mark Strandquist, Jennifer Prough, Divya Seshadri, Brian Herrera, Nile Livingston, Micah Bazant, Melanie Cervantes, Prentis Hemphill, Nicole Marie, Emily Bader, Jeni Jenkins, Carlos Jose Perez Samano, Cesar Viveros, Irving Viveros, Blur, Laura Chow Reeve, Katie Kaplan, Erik Ruin, Marissa Shea, Alice Thompson, Rachel Gordon, Shira Walinksy, Jason Killinger, Wendi Anderson, Kevin Caplicki, Alec Dunn, Monica Johnson, Paul Kjelland, Josh MacPhee, Colin Matthes, the Olympia Commune, Roger Peet, Pete Railand, Caits Meissner, Sue Simensky-Bietila, Chris Stain, Meredith Stern, Rachel Speck, Lisa Kelley, Carlos José Pérez Sámano, Kate DeCiccio, Courtney Penzato, Theresa Rose, Bryan Bradley, SKOVeS, Nicole Rodrigues, Meg Potoma, Amelia Klein, Meg Potoma, Michael Miller, Julie Headland, Emily Gold, Kate Fowler, Shoshona Gordon, and the more likely will be added after this post is live and the project continues!

Amazingly, the project started with just the open artist submissions and Mark and other artists paying for printing out of their own pockets. But interest and love for the project has since grown that other arts partners have chipped in like, Color Reflections, Asian Arts Initiative, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and the Village of Arts and Humanities. As well, the project has a GoFundMe, which has raised nearly $3,000 in roughly 6 weeks.

Talking with Mark yesterday, he said the project currently has no end date and will likely continue and hopefully even grow as we move through this election year!

Thanks to all the artists who pulled this together. I’m so in love with this project!

One Comment leave one →
  1. sabrinar11x permalink
    May 18, 2020 6:08 pm

    Wow, very powerful messages through art. Love!! Right now is definitely the time that we can use artwork to heal and empower one another. I really appreciate this beautiful way that art and awareness are being spread simultaneously. Thanks for sharing!

    – Sabrina ♡

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