6abc Loves the Arts - Mural for Fathers

Artists from the Philadelphia Mural Arts program worked with inmates at Graterford Prison and their children to creat the mural that depicts the bond between father and child.

"This mural in particular is a very important project in that the men inside Graterford and another artist all collaborated in designing it. So it's really a group effort," says Ernel Martinez, an artist with the Mural Arts Program.

The mural, at 35th Street and Woodland Avenue, is made up of over 60 separately painted panels.

"Because it's mobile it can go inside Graterford and go in different communities and have a lot of different hands from all over the city, and they're all involved in the actual painting of the mural," says Martinez who worked with the prison's Fathers & Children Together program to bring the panels into Graterford so inmates could paint with their kids.

"To be able to sit down with your child and do that in a closed setting environment is something that really can't be explained," says Dawan Williams, who worked on the project while an inmate at Graterford.

He says the quality one-on-one time with his son helped them bond, "this program helped open my eyes to the effects of a fatherless household."

Now a free man, Williams says he's excited to celebrate Father's Day with his son, "to be able to just walk down the street, and my son be able to say me and my dad is a part of that, it's just so profound."

Martinez agrees.

"The two children inside the mural are actually my own kids so it's a very personal connection that way symbolically and it's also the people involved in the process."

The Mural Arts Program offers trolley tours every Saturday, where you can learn the story behind dozens of murals in the city. The trolley leaves from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. You can find the tour schedule at www.muralarts.org

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