Art project tackles issue of poverty

    A dozen young people are lying on their backs in Philadelphia’s Logan Square.

    A dozen young people are lying on their backs in Philadelphia’s Logan Square. What is it? An impromptu protest? A mid-day siesta? No, it’s a public art project newly installed in front of the Family Court building on the Square.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090506pcexplode.mp3]

    There are twelve light boxes laid out in horizontal rows display full-body photographias of Philadelphia teenagers. They all come from tough neighborhoods, broken homes, or poverty. A tape played through speakers tells the stories of where they come from, what they dream of, and what keeps them down.

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    Because the speakers are at your ankles it’s difficult to pick out any one voice, but Brooklyn-based artist Dread Scott says collectively they represent a “dream deferred.” Inspired by a Langston Hughes poem, the installations is, Scott says, part lament, part indictment, and part cry of hope.

    Scott: Hopefulness in the faces of the kids and their ideas and their voices, a lament for the squandered potential, and an indictment of a society that refuses to do better.

    Scott created the lightboxes with the Mural Arts Program. They will remain planted in the ground in front of Family Court all summer.

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