In a Distressed Philadelphia Neighborhood, Art Brings Hope

Kia Gregory reports on a mural program implemented in the West Philadelphia neighborhood of Mantua over the last year, that has transformed the area into a work of art.

While many of the problems (drug dealing, violence) that afflict the neighborhood have not gone away entirely, the recent mural project, which ended in January of this year, has brought hope, new residents, and the rumblings of redevelopment to the area.

Led by the Mural Arts Program, the largest public art program in the United States, the project in Mantua featured the brightly colored painting of houses in the neighborhood, the clean-up of trash-covered lots, and the conversion of a former drug house into an "art house".

During the project, "Dozens of youths worked alongside the artists and were linked to social services, with some moving from shelters into permanent housing. The art house also served as an information hub for housing, legal aid, health care, and employment," writes Gregory.

The project galvanized the local neighborhood, changing its image both to outsiders and to itself. "Such efforts create 'a subtle shift,' said Jane Golden, executive director of the Mural Arts Program, 'as people start really seeing their neighborhood not as a forgotten place. They talk about it in terms of its potential.'"

Full Story: Mural program brings a tinge of hope to Mantua

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
$50.00