•December 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Here are sources from which I pulled some history and culture (as seen in my website), as well as foundational research for myself:

In addition, here is another picture from a place other than the Mural Arts Program gallery, used for background:




Art is Universal

•December 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

See my recent post on the Personal Notes page for how my project diverges from existing work. As to the audience, the growth of my project has widened the likely audience. Now, it’s moved from art enthusiasts to Philadelphia natives to visitors to history buffs to anthropologists. It’s a multifaceted work with sections to interest a wide swath of people.

What These Explorations Taught Me

•December 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment



It took me a while to connect these jaunts to my final project. At this stage in the project, my final idea was still amorphous. Finally, I realized that my observations of DC reflect my experiences of Philadelphia very closely. My adventures in DC, from the food bank to the fancy theater, showcase totally different sides of the city. They stood out in my memory because they were so distinctly different from each other, yet still part of the same identity.

With my murals, I got to understand how such different parts of the city coexist and identify with one another. A homogenous city does not exist – all cities have different shades and layers, and figuring out how all of these strands come together (whether it be through a tightrope walker or a mural) gives the key to understanding the heart of the city.

What I Can Add

•December 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment


I am, first and foremost, a person of words. They make me feel and respond more deeply than images or sounds or smells. I had to find a way to insert words into this highly visual representation, a way to make these murals mine and to set apart what I’m doing from what already exists.

I figured this problem out by emphasizing the importance of connections. I used the murals as my entry point, the first glimpse through the peephole into a bright and vibrant world. From there, I searched. I used the information I gleaned about the murals to delve deeper into the group, time period, or movement they represented. If my mural focused on issues of insecure housing, I looked into homelessness in Philadelphia and learned about its history and present condition. If the mural was about sobriety and survival, I looked into drug abuse in Philadelphia, stumbling upon “the Badlands,” and learning about the lives and experiences of a section of the city of which I’d never even heard, much less to which I’ve been.

In this way, my project does work that other mural collections do not. I wanted my project to be more than art collection – I wanted it to be insight and emotion and history and intimacy. By connecting the art to the lives it represents, the murals become so much more than things of beauty. They become dynamic expressions of the city, a realtime record of what people feel and care about.

Final Mural Selections

•December 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

After sifting through hundreds of murals, I chose the following thirteen. These artworks pulled at my heart or interest. After looking into them more deeply, I discovered historical and cultural background that gave insight into the city or added another voice or perspective. Some murals, like Ghosts of Philadelphia Industry, capture the historical element of Philadelphia, an integral foundation to its present incarnation. Some, like Reaching for Your Star, struck me because they captured the heart of the city through colloquial stories. Some, like Aqui y Alla connect Philadelphia to other places in the world, giving it a global context. All of these murals add some information and value to an examination of the city, and contribute an evocative voice and perspective.



Print coghead duo_0 GF_Philly33 haring_1 j2hh4 mhead4 npbp reaching sshead2 trauma wmofs


Source: all photos from extensive gallery at

Existing Representations

•October 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Here, on this draft website, are some of the representations I’ll be looking at. These murals grew out of graffiti, out of a longstanding desire to be heard and be expressed. They show what’s important to the artists and the constituents who clamor for certain people and situations to be represented. Personal expression painted directly onto the organic canvas of the city – this is the heartbeat of Philadelphia. The murals provide a forum to express pride and grief, to find community and to air loneliness in the most public way. It’s a way to connect with those who feel worlds apart. It’s accessible to all. It’s an ongoing, mutating conversation and reveals the true soul of Philadelphia. I’m looking to organize, connect, and interpret them in a way that translates this raw emotion and shows the communal spirit of Philadelphia.

Boy With Raised Arm – Sidney Goodman, 1990

•October 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment


“I am large, I contain multitudes”

The Phillies Mural – David McShane, 2015

•October 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment


We The Youth – Keith Haring, 2013

•October 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment


Frequencies – Benjamin Volta, 2015

•October 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment