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Winning city-wide mural unveiled

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The people have spoken, and they have elected a mural to represent them. After months of community discussions all over Philadelphia, two teams of artists submitted designs to the Mural Arts Program for an image that represents the whole city. The winning design was determined by more than 4500 voters.


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One evening last March Monique Qualles attended a community forum at WHYY to share her feelings about Philadelphia.

Qualles: My Grandmom sits there in Cherry Hill and says, “I hate Philadelphia!” But she loves to eat in Reading Terminal, she loves to walk South Street. She loves to shop in West Philadelphia.

Kien Nguyen, Eric Okdeh & Michelle Ortiz

Winning design by Kien Nguyen, Eric Okdeh & Michelle Ortiz (click to enlarge)

Artists from the Mural Arts Program sat in on a half-dozen community forums to glean design ideas from what they heard about the city’s history, industry, and neighborhoods.

The winning design is a 2700 square foot mural made up of 7 panels moving through the spectrum of color. It layers drawings, poetry, and reproductions of photos and woodcut engravings to show the city’s proud Colonial history and industrial heritage, and to reflect both optimism and ability to overcome hardship.

Here are the dates for the public painting sessions

Sunday, June 21 at the Allens Lane Art Center, 601 W. Allens Lane, 10 am – 1 pm.

Saturday, June 27 at the John Perzel Community Center, 2990 St. Vincent Street, 10 am – 1 pm.

Sunday, June 28 at Wall St. International, 1431-39 N. 52nd Street, 10 am – 1 pm.

Wednesday, July 1 during Sunoco Welcome America! in all four city squares simultaneously from 1 – 3 pm:

*Rittenhouse Square, 18th and Walnut Street
*Logan Circle, 19th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
*Washington Square, 7th and Walnut Streets
*Franklin Square, 6th and Race Streets

Saturday, July 18 at Colombus Square, 12th and Wharton, 10 am – 1 pm.

Saturday, July 11 at The ARC/PDDC, 2350 West Westmoreland Street, 10 am – 1 pm.

Additional paint days will be scheduled in Southwest Philadelphia.

For more information on the paint days please visit

www.muralarts.org/thiswebelieve or call 215-685-0729.

The entire mural is scheduled to be finished and on display in September.

See our previous coverage

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