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Now Underway: Tiny Room For Elephants 2022

July 16, 2022
(Artist: TAME)

Words and photos by Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale.

Philly, it’s time to get your butt down to Cherry Street Pier, because Tiny Room For Elephants 2022 is in full swing!

Since its inception in 2014, TRFE has grown from a small, underground art and music event into a large and spectacular festival—as well as an artist collective, agency, and creative consultancy. This year, 43 visual artists and dozens of DJs and music producers are participating, and each is bringing the huge energy and passion that we’ve come to expect from TRFE.

(Artist: Philly Custom Rugs)
(Artist: Adam Crawford)

This week, I had the pleasure of visiting the space and chatting with some of the artists, who are currently working on painting/installing/creating their pieces. This is something you can and should go see for yourself—part of the excitement of this festival is getting the chance to see some of Philly’s most talented artists painting live! You can walk right up and talk to them, even—just remember that they’re there to create, so be respectful of their time.

Read more…

New Queen Village Mural Honors Philadelphia Black Trans Women 

July 14, 2022

My heart swells so much for this beautiful new mural, titled All At Once, that honors Philly’s Black trans women in a big way at the almost-always-busy intersection of 5th and Bainbridge Streets on Philly Aids Thrift  in Queen Village. Created by lead artist Ali M Williams in collaboration with RHD Morris Home and Mural Arts Philadelphia, along with a small army of artists that Ali mentions in this Instagram post.  

“Been in my feels after this was dedicated last Wednesday,” Ali M Williams wrote about the project coming to completion. “This was such an incredible project to be a part of. I’m so honored to have partnered with RHD Morris Home to memorialize these beautiful local Black trans women, celebrate their lives, and the lives of others departed from our trans and gender nonconforming community. I hope that this mural also speaks to love, and joy, and pride, and the present moment, and the future, and feels celebratory … all at once.”

Honored in the mural, pictured left to right, are: Kyra Cordova, Charlene Arcila, Niza Morris, Michelle Tamika Washington, Shantee Tucker, London Kiki Chanel, and Dominique Rem’mie Fells. And through these images reads the words: “We are the past, the present, and the future. All at once.”

Irregular Sean Installs Awesome Mirrored Street Art Installation In Center City

July 14, 2022

I am obsessed with this creative new street art installation by Philly-based artist, Irregular Sean! Located at the intersection of 11th and Sansom Streets, the artwork is made with spray paint (stencil) and mirror. And it’s that mirror part that you really never see in non-commissioned street art. I love it!

Such an original concept and a risk, I really hope to see more of these from Sean in the future. As well as possibly more commissioned public artwork in his style.

Irregular Sean recently worked with Streets Dept Walls for one of our Wawa Welcome America 2022 mini-murals (also in this mirrored style) that’s now currently located at The Oval for the summer. Learn more about that artwork here.

Streets Dept Walls: Wawa Welcome America Mini-murals Are Now On Display At The Oval

July 12, 2022

For the second year in a row, this summer Streets Dept Walls has teamed up with Wawa Welcome America and Mural Arts Philadelphia to showcase the work of four up-and-coming Philly muralists! Streets Dept Walls is an experimental public arts initiative that works with emerging Philly-based artists to design and create inspired artworks around Philadelphia. Founded by me, curator and Editor of StreetsDept.com, Conrad Benner. 

For this year’s project we worked with four incredible Philly-based artistic talents: Irregular Sean, Armoni Gilbert, Matthew Raghunauth, and Bobby Hunter, who each live-paited their 4′ x 8′ mini-murals at four different Wawa Welcome America events over the last number of weeks.

And as of today, you can find these four artworks together in one place for the rest of the summer! The mini-murals have been installed at The Oval, which is free and open to the public (check for open hours).

Here’s more about their artworks:

infinite medium by Irregular Sean

Artist Statement: “irregular is a infinite flow of reflections on what has come before and what will follow. Dancing in the echoes of imagination of our times. A celebration of you, the individual that reflects a web of community. Mirror captures the light, leading the way to endless inspiration. In self we create the realm of infinity, we are the medium that explores the abyss.” (Written with inspiration by @dreampoetforhire.)

Emancipation by Armoni Gilbert

Artist Statement: “‘Emancipation’ is an iteration of a portrait that mimics the likeness of some of our ‘Founding Fathers.’ As an artist, the goal is for me to bring emancipation through placing the figure in the same hierarchy as these historical figures were placed in. While also speaking on the meaning of emancipation.”

Stars Blazing Like Rebel Diamonds by Matthew Raghunauth

Artist Statement: “With this mural, I’m hoping to highlight some of the tenderness and togetherness in what it means to be queer. Often times, people have this conception of queer art being very explicit, when there are also very sweet subtle moments that deserve to be represented. This moment captured is inspired by a few people in my life, they represent our community. And as an Indo-Caribbean person, the colors and patterns from my culture animate this scene.”

Primary Party by Bobby Hunter

Artist Statement: “‘Primary Party’ is simply a few friends hanging out. This work features the primary colors because any color can be made from some combination of the three. This can also be applied to life. Sometimes really cool things happen with just a few basic ingredients. Pull up a chair and join the party.”

See Streets Dept Walls 2021 exhibition at the Wawa Welcome America here! And be sure you’re following the Streets Dept Walls Instagram account for regular updates on our various projects.

Streets Dept Walls: Flower Show 2022 (Exhibition Archive)

July 12, 2022

For the second year in a row, Streets Dept Walls curated an exhibition for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Flower Show! Streets Dept Walls is an experimental public arts initiative that works with emerging Philly-based artists to design and create inspired artworks around Philadelphia. Founded by me, curator and Editor of StreetsDept.com, Conrad Benner. 

For this year’s collaboration with the Flower Show, we worked with two local artists to create two of their most ambitious projects to-date. Cindy Lozito, who’s painted her very first mural with assistance by Sammy Kovnat. And Nicole Nikolich (AKA Lace In The Moon), who’s created her largest artwork and first sculptural installation with assistance by Frank Chappell III.

Here’s more about their artworks:

From The City Cracks by Nicole Nikolich, AKA Lace In The Moon

Materials: Crochet yarn, welded steel wire, wood 

Assisted by: Frank Chappell III 

Artist Statement: “Inspired by weeds and flowers that persevere in unexpected places, From The City Cracks is a visual reminder to look for beauty nestled in the mundane and the power of perseverance in unusual circumstances. This piece is a nod to Lace In The Moon’s beginnings as a street artist. The work also serves as a love note to Philadelphia’s street art community–to those who have come out of the literal woodworks to make space for themselves. Through extreme scale, these flowers represent how the smallest of change or act of courage can compile into greatness. From The City Cracks is Lace In The Moon’s first sculptural installation and largest work to-date.”

Celebrating Growth by Cindy Lozito

Materials: Acrylic latex paint, plywood 

Assisted by: Sammy Kovnat 

Artist Statement: “Who gets access to green spaces in a city? My mural imagines South Philadelphia residents gathering and cultivating a greener environment together, for one another. Since moving to South Philly, I’ve relished seeing every pocket park, community garden, and flower box; I’m inspired by how residents find a way to make space for greenery even in a densely urban environment. We are so much more vibrant as a group when we work together and invite others to beautify our city as a collective. My mural’s characters invite you, the viewer, to come join them in celebrating growth, nature, and the joy of witnessing a lush landscape.”

See Streets Dept Walls 2021 exhibition at the Flower Show here! And be sure you’re following the Streets Dept Walls Instagram account for regular updates on our various projects.

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