On Netflix, orange is the new black. Along the Philadelphia’s Schuylkill Expressway, orange is the new “what the heck is that?”
A huge, and I do mean huge, splash of orange paint now looms above passing drivers on a wall just north of 30th Street Station.
If you were wondering what that is all about, it’s one of seven paint installations along the Amtrak corridor through West and North Philadelphia done this spring as part of Psychylustro, a bold public art experiment organized by the Mural Arts Program and designed by German artist Katharina Gross.
My colleagues Peter Crimmins and Lindsay Lazarski have put together a great account, in video, audio and text, of how the seven installations came to be.
If you’re wondering why they came to be, you might want to stop by the Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch. St., in Philadelphia this Wednesday at about 6 p.m.
I’ll be moderating a panel discussion inspired by the Psychylustro projected called “Great Gateways, and the Cities That Make Them.”
Jane Golden, the inexhaustible head of the Mural Arts Program, will explain how this project was an attempt to get Philadelphia to see both the current state and the potential of one of the key gateways by which new visitors are introduced to the city and begin to judge it.
Marily Jordon Taylor, dean of Penn’s School of Design, will talk about what other cities have done to improve key gateways, while Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for commerce, will talk about Philadelphia’s plans for its gateways.
Drew Galloway, an Amtrak executive, will talk about why the rail company green-lighted the project and what it took to pull it off.
Darin Rowland, a member of the project crew, will talk about what it was like to make art on this massive a scale under difficult conditions, and Darlene Marcus of Glenwood Green Acres will talk about community reaction to the dramatic and unusual work of art.
I hope you can join us in talking through how a gateway is a terrible thing to waste.