Murals in Philadelphia are nothing new, there has never been one put up in Chestnut Hill. But at a meeting last night, plans for the neighborhood’s first mural cleared another hurdle.
Chestnut Hill Community Associations (CHCA) Land Use and Zoning committee endorsed a mural planned for the side of Bredenbeck’s Bakery, 8126 Germantown Ave.
The mural raises questions for CHCA of what should be done in the future when it comes to murals.
Larry McEwen, a member of the zoning committee, said night that the committee had never before seen requests for murals.
“Nobody had ever done a mural in Chestnut Hill before,” he said. “We opened up the guidelines and said there’s nothing here for murals.’ “
A particular concern is whether limits should be placed on painting on the sides of historic buildings and ensuring proper maintenance of the murals. The committee did agree that the content of an artistic piece should not be limited.
The Bredenbeck’s mural
The mural is part of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and will be painted by artist Anne Northrup.
The painting will be on the side of Bredenbeck’s Bakery depicting a natural scene on the Wissahickon. The piece is meant to blend a natural scene into an urban environment, using landscaping around the wall.
Karen Boyd Rhode, owner of Bredenbeck’s, said she chose that mural over several other ones because she feels it’s best suited for the community. Another runner-up was a mural extending the look of the bakery to the side of the building. But that was not community-oriented enough for Rhode.
“It was great but inside my heard I thought if I did that I was being too commercial and advertising Bredenbeck’s too much,”she said. I was thinking of the whole Hill of everybody here in Chestnut Hill with this mural.”
Irvin Boyd, Rhode’s son, said painting for the mural will likely start next month. But first the wall must first be both deemed suitable for a painting and funds must be raised for upkeep. The mural will cost about $25,000 and so far, he said, fundraising is going well.
Murals are about inspiration
Jane Golden, executive director of the Mural Arts Program, said at the meeting she hopes it’ll keep Chestnut Hill inspired. “It’s about beauty, it’s about hope, it’s about bringing inspiration to the city,”she said.
Although the mural project does not need CHCA approval, Golden wants the community behind the mural before it is painted. The CHCA Board will vote on the plan at a future meeting.