"Beyond the Paint" at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

December 20, 2013 1:37:55 PM PST
Philadelphia has been praised worldwide as "The City of Murals" and now a new exhibition at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts exhibit celebrates the 30 year anniversary of the Mural Arts program. The exhibition, called Beyond the Paint, looks at the close to 4000 murals that have transformed the city's landscape but also at the impact the art has had on communities.

When Mural Arts started in 1984, it was called the anti-graffiti network, formed by the Wilson Goode administration.

"They realized if we were going to get rid of graffiti, it was like a social epidemic, we have to think in non-traditional ways," says Jane Golden, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, " So they set up this program where they offered young people opportunities to help clean up the city."

Thousands of young people got involved, and art became the vehicle to lift up and inspire the city.

"One of the most important concepts in the art world right now is social practice, the idea of artists working within communities to try to not only make works of art but to bring about change," says PAFA Museum Director Harry Philbrick, "and Mural Arts has been doing that for many, many years."

"By extension, I think there's a huge impact on the civic life of our city in that we've turned Philadelphia into an outdoor gallery but one that has meaning," adds Golden.

Along with photographs of murals, the exhibition includes three artists' installations and a studio space where visitors can see Mural Arts artists at work creating new murals.

"What it documents is where we've been but it also talks about where we're going and that is really critical," says Golden.

Beyond the Paint runs through April 6th. Admission on Sundays is free.

For tickets, go to www.TheArtsinPhilly.org.

Or you can visit 6abc.com's Entertainment Channel to find out about other area events.


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