New Philly mural 'In Full Bloom' celebrates West Oak Lane neighborhood

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, February 2, 2024
New mural celebrates West Oak Lane neighborhood
New mural celebrates West Oak Lane neighborhood

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The first day of Black History Month was the perfect time to unveil a new piece of art in Philadelphia's West Oak Lane section. It makes a powerful statement on the neighborhood's past and future.

"It's amazing to be able to have something such as this," said Kimberly Lloyd, president and CEO of the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation.

The organization commissioned a new mural on the side of a building at 7152 Ogontz Avenue. The mural is full of vibrant colors and flowers. It's titled "In Full Bloom" and was done by artist LaToya Peoples.

"It's sort of a grey, drab concrete urban area," Peoples said of the location. "This is sort of a light in the area."

Peoples painted the mural by herself during perhaps the hardest time to paint a mural outside

"18 days of painting in December," she said with a smile, adding that she was encouraged to keep going by the people in the neighborhood.

"People (were) walking by yelling great comments to me," she said.

Her other motivation is the fact that the neighborhood is also the place she once called home.

"I'm a native of this community, grew up here, went to school here," she said.

"In Full Bloom" celebrates the residents of West Oak Lane and Northwest Philadelphia, many of whom have been in the area for generations.

"From grandmother to grandfather to parents," said Lloyd.

The families are reflected alongside flowers. It's significant to that part of town.

"The one stabilized item is the flowers that bloom on the front yard of every home in this community," said Lloyd.

The flowers are also a hidden message from the muralist.

"They're often symbolic of the growth, the rebirth, the strength of the community," said Peoples.

Now living in Baltimore, Peoples looks forward to seeing her mural every time she comes home. She hopes it gives others the same feeling it gives her.

"They can sort of see a reflection of themselves and their community and their history," she said.

A smaller version of the mural will be for sale at Jason's restaurant, which shares a parking lot with the mural in the 7100 block of Ogontz Ave.