Mural Arts Program launches public art project in Manayunk

The Mural Arts Program has chosen Manayunk as a “public arts district,” where a large amount of works, which could include murals, light and sound pieces, and sculptures, will be displayed there starting this summer. One goal of the project is to utilize public art to encourage neighborhood growth.

“It will be a vehicle for economic and community development, a tool to re-brand Manayunk,” says Jane Golden, founder of the Mural Arts Program. “We want to draw people into the neighborhood to see art.”

The project, which is a collaboration between the Manayunk Special Services District, the Manayunk Development Corporation and the Mural Arts Program, has been in the works for some time, but hasn’t been announced until now.

The Manayunk Special Services District has set aside $100,000 for the first phase of the project. 

Though Golden says she can’t provide details yet about the artwork, she promises that they will capture the voice of Manayunk, and be “really emblematic of a sense of place.”

Jane Lipton, executive director of the Manayunk Development Corporation, also expressed enthusiasm about the project.

“I’m really excited about bringing public art to Manayunk,” Lipton said. “It’s just going to add another texture to an already vibrant community.”

Golden did disclose that murals likely won’t be the only medium displayed throughout Manayunk. She explained that “LIGHT DRIFT,” the Mural Arts Program project along the Schuylkill Banks that took place in October 2010, is an example of the type of art that might come to Manayunk.

In that project, the artist J. Meejin Yoon temporarily placed a lighting installation in the water, which consisted of floating, interactive orbs that changed color in response to people’s actions.

“Art can create community. Hundreds of people were there,” says Golden of the Schuylkill Banks project. “It was packed with every age, every race.”

Golden says the first part of the Manayunk project will be unveiled this summer.

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