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    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.

    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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