West Philadelphia’s new “Tree of Life” sculpture and accompanying mural add a splash of color to 40th Street between Spring Garden and Baring streets thanks to collaboration between the People’s Emergency Center, Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, and local artists.
“Tree of Life” is a steel structure and glass mosaic sculpture with a towering metal trunk and limb system holding nine round, green glass mosaic orbs that form a one-of-a-kind West Philadelphia tree.
Philadelphia-based artists Emilie Ledieu and Bill Capizolli created the tree as part of a PEC 40th Street corridor beautification project, funded through a Preservation Alliance grant.
While the duo was building the sculpture, a friend visiting from Brazil offered to paint an intricate mural on the adjacent fence.
“That was a total surprise,” James Wright, PEC’s commercial corridor manager, said. “The fence was just going to be maybe painted nice colors to match the sculpture.”
Wright said projects like these “help to really set the tone in a different way.”
He said such projects get residents to see their neighborhood in a new light and help attract positive attention from outsiders who may be passing through the community.
PEC plans to continue supporting art and beautification projects along Lancaster Avenue and the 40th Street corridor.