Contemporary artist Shepard Fairey’s mural Lotus Diamond occupies a soaring wall in Fishtown, and the artist will be one of 14 to participate in the Mural Arts Program’s innovative public project, Open Source.
(Photo by Steve Weinik for City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program)
In Philadelphia, buildings, rooftops, bridges and even parking garages serve as canvases for the more than 3,000 murals produced by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the largest public art program in the country.
Born in 1984 as the Anti-Graffiti Network to provide constructive projects for young artists, the Mural Arts Program has grown into a public art powerhouse that continues to push its scope with visionary projects that move beyond visual public arts to the world of participatory, social and experimental art in a public space.
And the organization just keeps on innovating.
This spring, the Mural Arts Program will launch Philadelphia’s largest and most ambitious site-specific art exhibition to date: Open Source: Engaging Audiences in Public Space.
With a goal to create a redefinition of what artistic practice can look like, Open Source has tapped internationally renowned curator Pedro Alonzo and 14 talented and diverse artists to produce large-scale, temporary public artworks all across the city.
The stellar roster of participating artists includes JR, Shepard Fairey, Odili Donald Odita, Sterling Ruby, SWOON, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Sam Durant, The Dufala Brothers and 6 other artists, including a total of five Philadelphia-area artists.
Before molding once ounce of clay or lifting a brush, though, each artist or artistic team will collaborate with a specific Philadelphia community to develop inspiration for their works.
The artists have been asked to produce pieces of public art that not only stretch personal artistic boundaries, but also examine a Philadelphia social issue such as recycling and reuse, youth empowerment, criminal justice, behavioral health, immigration and more.
Culminating in a citywide festival in the fall of 2015, a wide variety of programs and events will engage the public in the Open Source process beginning in late-spring 2015.
A full list of programs and projects is coming this spring, so stay tuned for much, much more on this unprecedented Mural Arts Program citywide event.
Open Source: Engaging Audiences in Public Space
When: Spring 2015-Fall 2015
Where: Multiple locations citywide
More info: www.opensourcephl.com
Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston debuted this Mural Arts work, The Color of Your Voice, in 2012 at 2417 Ridge Avenue right here in Philadelphia. (Photo by Steve Weinik)
Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston, founding members of AMBER Art & Design and participants in Open Source, created this installation Corner Store (Take-Out Stories) in 2014 for Philadelphia’s Asian Arts Initiative. (Photo courtesy of Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston)