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Students Design for Mural Arts Program

July 18, 2011

student designed muralThe Mural Arts Program has created over 3000 murals in Philadelphia since it began under the leadership of Jane Golden in 1984.  The powerful grassroots approach to mural making brings members of Philadelphia’s communities together with artists and the Mural Arts Program to formalize ideas and approve design concepts that come to life in the form of massive murals on city streets. While these murals are being created, the artists, painters and members of the community work out of small gallery-type spaces that serve as staging areas until the murals are ready to be installed.  These staging areas can be an unoccupied store in a neighborhood, an underused room in a community center or vacant space in schools. With the help of our Graphic Design program, through a winter course in exhibition design taught by professor Amy Rees, a group of students set out to create temporary pop-up exhibit spaces that inform visitors of the history of the mural arts program.  The idea is that while the mural arts program is working on a mural and using an empty space as a staging area, visitors to these sites can learn more about the mural arts program and the important work it does in the community.

The students conducted research on the history of the mural arts program, interviewed artists and representatives from mural arts, and toured the space that would serve as the staging area for How Philly Moves, a 50,000 square ft. mural being installed at the Philadelphia International Airport by artist and photographer Jacques-Jean “JJ” Tiziou.  How Philly Moves will serve as the visually stunning gateway to Philadelphia.  To construct a 50,000 square foot mural, the mural arts program took over 3rd floor space at the Gallery Mall at 9th and Market Streets and it is for this space that our students designed pop-up exhibitions.

In mid-March the graphic design students presented their concepts to our faculty and mural arts staff, including founder Jane Golden. The two final concepts chosen were created by junior, Randi Dean and senior, Emily Kleimo and Randi’s work will be on display when the mural arts opens an exhibition on the 3rd floor of the Gallery Mall, later this fall.  Mural Arts will use this new space as a gallery to support its touring and merchandising operations along with other Mural Arts programs.