Mural Arts project will try to engage Philadelphians with site-specific art

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This year the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program embarks on a nine-month project inviting contemporary artists from around the world to create outdoor, temporary, site-specific installations in Philadelphia.

“Open Source: Engaging Audiences in Public Space” is meant to engage city residents and institutions in the political and social issues of the day, and position Philly as a culturally innovative city.

Pedro Alonzo, the curator of the project, will help 14 participating artists pick and produce their projects in a way that pairs their interests with the concerns of Philadelphians.

“Curating is like matchmaking, really. It’s like setting up your friend on a date,” said Alonzo.

“It’s really about taking the artist, and looking at what they’re interested in, and finding the best site to express that.”

Alonzo says the pieces will range from murals to sculptures to interactive pieces.

Many of the “Open Source” projects will take months to finish, but they’ll all be completed by October, which is traditionally Mural Arts Month.

Five of the 14 artists are locals, including Michelle Angela Ortiz and the Dufala Brothers.

Alonzo, who’s based in Boston, says his experience in Philadelphia justifies the moniker, “City of Brotherly Love.”

“What has impressed me most,” said Alonzo, “is the cooperation. The openness and eagerness for other institutions to participate in this has been staggering.”

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