DePaul Catholic mural highlights education and Germantown’s history

After three years of painting — with a whole lot of teamwork mixed in — a bright, vibrant mural called “St. Vincent’s Orchard” has been completed on the outer walls of Germantown’s DePaul Catholic School, located at 44 W. Logan Street.

A dedication ceremony was held Thursday for staff, students, parents and neighbors to celebrate the project’s completion.

“The mural embraces our identity,” said Steve Janczewski, vice principal of DePaul. “There are images of books in treetops and children taking down the books. There are quilted squares, which represents our place here in Germantown where part of the Underground Railroad was. … We have a rich history here.”

The mural itself

The 80-by-40 foot mural, which was painted on parachute cloth, covers the entire front, and some of the side, of the building.

Brother Mark Elder, muralist for the project, traveled from DePaul University in Chicago over the last three summers to work on the project.

“He even gave the students some art projects to work on in class,” said Delia Spellman, teacher at DePaul, noting the mural’s design incorporates some student artwork.

The mural features images of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Martin de Porres, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Louise de Marillac. Spellman explained that they represent the values of the school.

“We hope it encourages people to live by their message,” said Spellman.

Team effort

She said that over the last three years, more than 150 community members pitched in to help with the project, with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program providing a number of the materials.

“I see people driving by slow down to look at it,” said Spellman. “I think it sends a good message to the community.”

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