PHA Partners with Philadelphia Mural Arts Program at Wilson Park and Beyond

PHILADELPHIA, PA (May 25, 2004) - The Philadelphia Housing Authority today unveiled a series of murals at the agency's Wilson Park development in South Philadelphia and announced plans for several more murals at other PHA sites. PHA Executive Director Carl Greene said the artwork is a natural extension of PHA's Building Beyond Expectations motto. "PHA is building more and better quality affordable housing than anyone thought possible. Now we are enhancing the image of our communities even further by joining with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program," said Greene.

Mural Arts Director Jane Golden called the arrangement a "groundbreaking partnership." "It's another way to allow us to bring beautiful public arts to more citizens," she said. Eight of the nine murals unveiled today depict the cycle of life, from birth to old age. The community at Wilson Park selected the theme, reflecting the development's population, which ranges from very young families to the seniors who live in Wilson Park's four high-rise buildings. Drivers can see the murals as they pass Wilson Park along the Schuylkill Expressway.

Most of the walls were painted last year. The ninth and final wall, completed today with the help of students from the Vare Middle School, includes the PHA logo and slogan. Carl Greene said there was a time not too many years ago when living at a PHA site carried a stigma. "Graffiti was once the "art" of the day at those locations," Greene said. "You don't see graffiti at PHA properties now. Instead, you see the finest affordable housing, and soon you will also see mural art at these sites too." The murals were designed and painted by artist David McShane. As it usually does, the Mural Arts Program consulted with community members to learn what idea they wanted depicted.

PHA and the Mural Arts Program are developing plans for the next two projects - a large mural at the beautiful new Richard Allen Homes and "bookend" murals at PHA housing at 13rd and York Streets.

Students from Vare Middle School put the finishing touches on a mural at Wilson Park.

Mural Arts Director Jane Golden called their arrangement with PHA a groundbreaking partnership. PHA Exec. Director Carl Greene says the program will further enhance neighborhoods served by the agency.

PHA Sr. Deputy Exec. Director Michael Leithead, Commr. Nellie Reynolds and Exec. Director Carl Greene beam with pride in front of the new mural at Wilson Park.

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Young artists from Vare Middle School pay close attention to detail as they finish the mural at Wilson Park.