The first words encountered set the scene: change, value, place.
Mural Arts @ 30, the latest publication from the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, explores the contemporary identity of the organization as it examines itself. The book highlights the program’s 21 projects completed since 2009, using their concepts, partnerships, and imagery as ways to talk critically about mural painting, public art, and social change. As Mural Arts celebrates its 30th anniversary with a year-long season of opening receptions, continued trolley tours, and a large-scale exhibition at PAFA, Mural Arts @ 30 offers an important dose of criticality.
“There are very skilled artists who think they could make a great statement if only they had a big wall. What they miss is that a lot of work happens off the wall to provide the context and connections that allow the murals to have greater meaning for the communities that host them. This is the role that Mural Arts has embraced, and which it continues to explore and extend in its evolving practice.”
–Rick Lowe, founder of Project Row Houses
In the book’s foreword, Lowe sets the parameters for how to explore Mural Arts and its evolving identity. The challenge for any organization, he explains, is to focus its culture on change; Lowe suggests that Mural Arts’ acceptance of this challenge is central to its longevity, success, and innovation. He also emphasizes the constant need to reexamine the stories already told– empowering the book to be the catalyst to do so.