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Lisa Kelley Reveals New SEPTA Suburban Station Mural

January 23, 2023

In love with this colorful new mural from Philly-based artist, Lisa Kelley! Located inside SEPTA’s Suburban Station (nearest to the 17th Street and JFK Boulevard entrance), the mural was created with Mural Arts Philadelphia and a wonderful 2021-2022 grant from SEPTA to create projects on SEPTA properties.

Titled, My Art Gives Me A Voice, “the mural was inspired by the chirps of bluebirds, wrens, and chickadees that Lisa listens to when she walks in a park to clear her mind,” the project’s website reads. “Lisa hopes that the mural, which features suns, flowers, geometric shapes, and mandalas, is meant to evoke feelings of healing and growth and will uplift the spirits of people who see it.”

And just like 2020’s Lauren Cat West SEPTA system mural project, this mural was created with Mural Arts’ Color Me Back program, a same-day work and pay program in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services that combines participatory art-making and access to social services.

“I did printmaking workshops with participants before designing the mural,” Lisa texted me about the process. “All the shapes in the background are drawings people did in the workshops. The words are things participants said about the program.”

As someone who’s long questioned the value of advertising in our physical public space, one thing I particularly like about this mural and the ongoing collaboration between SEPTA and Mural Arts that created it is that it provides public art in places that might otherwise be used for advertising. And public art created by Philadelphia artists along with communities here in the city! Projects like this are far more valuable to everyday commuters than walls of ads that you can find in countless other parts of SEPTA’s infrastructure.

Congrats to everyone involved in this project! Excited to see more like it.

See previous projects by Lisa Kelley around Philly here and here!

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