Neighbors, politicians, and mural artist Felix St. Fort come together to celebrate a bright new corner of Allegheny West.
The July 9th mural dedication ceremony at 35th and Allegheny had ended and Felix St. Fort stood across the street, studying his creation.
“What was most satisfying part about creating the mural?” St. Fort paused before answering the question. “The colors,” he said. “I wanted something vibrant and lively. I wanted something that would affect people in a positive way, and that required lots of bright color. I’m happy with the way they turned out.”
What was the biggest challenge? “The wall is definitely not level,” he said, pointing out several pipes and wires along its length. “Luckily the mural image is actually a designed, stretchable fabric. Still, it took some modifying in places and hand painting.”
Given the challenges, Rose Cooper (President, RAH Civic Association) and Mark Green (38th Ward Leader) were amazed at how well the mural turned out and praised St. Fort for his patience in working with the community to get just the right blend of color and images. “We agreed that the mural should be about paradise, but we all had different ideas of what that was,” said Cooper.
Green gave credit to Jane Golden and Cathy Harris of the Mural Arts Program for bringing the project to life. He also thanked several politicians, including Bill Greenlee and Curtis Jones. Cooper made sure that Green got credit as well. “He did a lot to keep people focused on this project. He really pushed to make it happen.”
The brilliantly colorful mural, at 35th and Allegheny, is over 30 feet long and features images of children and flowers.
St. Fort is a veteran of Philly Mural Arts Project and has created murals all over Philly, but is best known for the “Fairhill” project: an impressive transformation of nearly 50 storefronts on Germantown Avenue.
For that project, St. Fort teamed with the Dutch artist team Haas & Hahn — artists who slam their vibrant art in massive doses all around the globe.
As with that project, the goal of the Allegheny mural was to develop a work of art so big, so bold, so eye-popping that it might kick-start positive change in the area.
By so dynamically changing streetscapes, St. Fort is hoping to continue nurturing revitalization thru neighborhood pride and good old fashioned hope. (And some help from Cooper and Green, who’ve been dynamic at getting several improvements to the area, including investment for proposed new condos near Laurel Hill cemetery and lighting along Scotts Lane.)
Here’s to sprucing up our local streetscapes with art! We’re thrilled for our friends in RAH and are looking forward to another mural planned for the bridge at Fox and Westmoreland streets.