Skip to content

VURT Creative Paints A Cardinal In Pennsport

November 2, 2021

Photos and post by Streets Dept Contributor, Eric Dale

There’s a new animal mural by V.U.R.T. Creative in Pennsport this month, unofficially titled Cardinal Chonk! Painted by Evan Lovett and Frank Chappell, this portrait of a northern cardinal is part of their ongoing Local Critters series, which depicts local animals that we share the city with. See previous murals from the series here, here, and here.

As usual, Evan and Frank painted this mural very quickly, completing it in under two days. They start by using standard paint rollers to apply the base colors, then use a lift to spray paint all of the details on top. Love that drop shadow making it pop off the wall!

New Philly Mural Highlights The Truths And Contradictions Embedded In The Declaration of Independence

October 24, 2021

Incredible new mural this month from Mural Arts Philadelphia asks its viewers to hold truth to power and examine the spoken and unspoken truths in one of the United States’ founding documents. Conceived by artists Reginald Dwayne Betts and Titus Kaphar as their contribution as fellows with Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Reimagining Re Entry Fellowship, the mural is titled Declaration and it is located at 15th and Race Streets in Center City. To create the mural, Reginald and Titus chose to work with men and women from Mural Arts’ Guild Program, a reentry program for men and women returning from prison, as well as men from the Mural Arts mural program at SCI Phoenix.

“The general idea of this project is that the Declaration of Independence is both a revolutionary document but one that brings to life the many contradictions of America,” the project’s website reads. “The idea of redaction is that the most poignant of documents always reveal something of their truths and contradictions, and that by redacting text from those documents, you can have some control over what is seen more, the truth or the contradiction. Declaration shows the truths and contradictions embedded in the Declaration of Independence. While it states that ‘all men are created equal’ a short time later during the writing of the Constitution the 3/5 clause rewrote that to determine that for the purposes of representation in Congress enslaved African Americans would be counted as 3/5 of the number of white inhabitants of each state. This equation has been guiding the United States for nearly 250 years and only in light of the recent racial reckoning brought about by the deaths of young Black men and women by police has there begun to be a shift in public perception.”

In a city that attracts so many tourists, many whom come to our city to emerse themselves in a generally unchecked patriotic lore of our nation’s founding, I find work like this incredibly valuable to have in Philly’s public space. In fact, I’d really like to see more installations like this around Independence Mall itself, but this location at 15th and Race Streets is also a super busy area with many travelers passing it daily commuting from I-676 into Center City. I hope folks see it and want to learn more about it and its creators, because it’s an important thing that we constantly reflect our full history to connect the dots of power and oppression today and work to build a more equitable future. And artworks like this in our shared spaces can play a role in igniting that.

Playful New Public Art Installation at Philly’s Navy Yard Invites Us to Daydream

October 20, 2021

A new installation from London-based artist Morag Myerscough is now located at the Marine Parade Grounds at Broad Street and Constitution Avenue at Philly’s Navy Yard! Created with anonymous Philly-based curatorial Group X, Morag Myerscough initially created the artwork, titled Magical Fantasy, for AEG and the 2021 Firefly Music Festival, a four-day music festival in Dover, Delaware. Through the artist and AEG’s dedication to reuse it has been relocated to the Navy Yard for the public to enjoy for one year: now through the end of October 2022! The Navy Yard is free and open to all to access everyday from sunrise to sunset.

Magical Fantasy is totally about escapism,” Morag elaborated in a press release about the project. “A place to be alone or to share with others. An embracing arch to draw you through into another world and a place where you can let your imagination take over. Three dwelling structures to spend time in to dream, dance, sing–what ever it makes you feel. They are deliberately small to have a feeling of intensity. The colours and patterns are intense to stimulate the brain. The work is there for people to enjoy and embrace. It was so important to me that the work found the perfect permanent home. As an artist I am very aware that making temporary work that is only up for a few days can be very bad for the environment and we must take responsibility for the work we put into the world, to be aware what materials use their sources and how important giving work as long a life as possible, and then at the end of it that it can be recycled and put back into the system not in landfill.”

Magical Fantasy follows the popular Sea Monsters HERE inflatable art installation with artists Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas in 2018, the interactive tape sculpture Tape Philadelphia: Enter the Cocoon with experimental European arts collective Numen/For Use in 2019, and a series of six installations from seven world-renowned artists in 2020 for a project called M.I.M.O.S.A.

Absolutely love this artwork, and could see so many people from the area spending an afternoon exploring the Navy Yard and this installation with their friends, families, (and maybe a little wine, haha)!

New Center City Mural Celebrates LGBTQ+ Joy

October 8, 2021

New mural this week by a collaborative group of local LGBTQ+ creatives Nilé Livingston, Nicole Nikolich, Marisa Velázquez-Rivas, and myself (Conrad Benner) celebrates queer joy in Center City! Titled Finding Our Happy, the new mural will be up for one year outside of Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room at 12th and Pine Streets, created with support from Mural Arts Philadelphia.

In a world that for too long has solely centered cisgender heteronormativity, LGBTQ+ people have had to go to extra lengths to discover stories, histories, objects, people, and spaces that can reflect and celebrate our truths. From the entertainment that permeates mass culture to, more often than not, the families we grow up in, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming individuals have had to work to discover the people, spaces, and things that offer us confidence, affirmation, and joy. With Finding Our Happy, we’re celebrating those mundane and monumental discoveries. And we invite you to look closely and see how many references you can find/relate to!

Join us virtually this Wednesday, October 13 (6-7pm, FREE with RSVP) to hear from me and the artists about the mural, its inspiration, and our hopes for future public arts projects centering LGBTQ+ artists, stories, and histories here in Philadelphia: RSVP now here!

See past work from each of these artists by clicking their name: Nilé Livingston, Nicole Nikolich, Marisa Velázquez-Rivas!

Streets Dept Podcast: Miguel Antonio Horn and Sculpting For Our Public Space

September 21, 2021

Earlier this month, a new work of public art from Philly-based artist Miguel Antonio Horn titled “Contrafuerte” went viral and earned international attention. On this episode of the Streets Dept Podcast, we talk with the artist about the work, its wild reception, and the possibility of public art in the 21st Century.

Check out the episode below, or on any major podcast streaming platform by searching “Streets Dept Podcast”!

Be sure to subscribe to the Streets Dept Podcast on SpotifyStitcher, Apple Podcasts, or any major podcast streaming platform to receive new episodes as soon as they’re published, and please feel free to rate and write a review of the podcast on those platforms to help others find it. (Truly, rating and reviewing podcasts, particularly on Apple Podcasts, helps us so much, so thank you for doing that.)

The Streets Dept Podcast is part of the RADIOKISMET family of podcasts. Each episode is mixed and edited by our brilliant audio engineer, Mike Mehalick. Graphics created by Eric Dale, and podcast logo by Linette Messina Kielinski (photographer) and Janelle Munro (stylist)!

%d bloggers like this: