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Philadelphia Murals

January 2, 2006

The Washington Post had a nice article a few days back on Philadelphia’s extraordinary public murals:

White-haired Marian Custus peers out her door where a row of elegant townhouses once stood. The owners fled, and crack and arson crept in. All became rubble. Two years ago the artists arrived and enlisted neighborhood kids and painted two radiant murals on the sides of rowhouses, known collectively as “Holding Grandmother’s Quilt.”
“Do you know how lucky I am?” Custus confides to a visitor. “It’s like waking up every morning and having a museum painting in your neighborhood. I feel so lucky to live here.”
No city in America has so much mural art, a brick wall poetry that reflects every mood in Philadelphia. There are portraits of Dr. J and Frank Sinatra and a brilliant mural of Jackie Robinson sliding home. But as touching are murals of neighborhood children and a beloved cop who died in Iraq, a “Healing Wall” that stretches 300 feet along the railway tracks and a 50-foot Brobdingnagian garden mural that dominates a now-drug blasted corner in the Mantua neighborhood.

Full article here. Many of Philadelphia’s public murals were initiated and funded as an anti-graffiti program. Here’s a program that actually defines quality of life positively, cultivating beauty on the city’s walls. NYC’s politicians could take a lesson in constructive thinking from Philly!
Photo at top from Fivefity_Tom’s flickr photostream.

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