With the support of the Added Velocity Fund and in collaboration with Mural Arts Education and artist Michael Konrad, we we worked on a 6 week summer program with Philadelphia-based students. We shared activities and creative experiences and reflect on light, public space and their role in creating places for the community. We worked together to enact change in a neighborhood through a long term installation in an underused and unsafe public corridor.
More than half of Philadelphia residents do not feel safe in their neighborhoods at night. People prefer staying at home, emptying the streets and creating a favorable environment for crime.
To improve this reality we worked with young people in Philadelphia to activate a public space that is impassable at night due to insecurity. These young people were participants in Mural Arts' summer arts and education program.
It was decided that the corridor on Mt Vernon Street, which is normally perceived as unsafe and unusable at night, would be the perfect spot to transform into a community gathering place. It is a 120 meter concrete pedestrian corridor with two long fences, one adjoining Roberto Clemente Park and the other on the side of Laura Wheeler Waring Public School.
The Mural Arts Education summer program consists of sharing practical experiences to approach the work of an artist. In the 2022 edition, together with Michael Konrad, a visual artist whose practice is an exploration between the urban landscape and reused waste elements, the Alumbra team and the participants of the program, we met three days a week for six weeks to carry out creative explorations around artistic light, everyday materials, and natural and artificial light.
During these weeks, we also did research, sketches, prototyping, site visits and met with community members to receive their feedback. The group also co-developed a concept for our final creation.
And near the end, we worked hard for several days in an outdoor workshop to realize the vision of the youth participants in the artistic and lighting intervention in the corridor.