One of the largest murals in the world is being installed at the Philadelphia airport. A 55,000-square-foot photo-collage called “How Philly Moves” and depicting city residents dancing will wrap around four of the airport’s parking garages.
“Just the scale of it is mind-boggling,” said photographer J.J. Tiziou, who designed the mural. “When I came across the bridge this morning, right off the peak of the George C. Platt bridge, you see a swath of black. In three months, it’s going to be a swatch of white and blue and yellow. That will be the first part of the mural, and you’ll be able to see it unfold as you come down 95.”
Dancing is, by definition, movement. But the place where you park you car is not. Karmen Fails, a wedding choreographer, is shown with a twisted torso and her arm poised behind her.
“I was about to do a battement kick. A quick rev-up into something bigger,” said Fails, a former professional dancer. “If you catch any of the other pictures, I really did do some amazing stuff.”
Another dancer, Cristin Van Horn, is honored to be part of the landmark mural. She is shown with her brilliant red hair splayed in the air. “As a dancer, I was, like, ‘I was jumping–why aren’t my legs in the picture?’ “
Tiziou chose the 26 images based on the way the figures harmonized visually rather than any particularly spectacular dance step.
“Basic two-dimensional composition of positive and negative space, the colors, one figure reaching out and making a curve here and another fitting in,” he said.
Most of the dancers depicted on the mural are not professional, just enthusiastic. Tiziou said the point is to show the diversity and exuberance of the people of Philadelphia.