Memorial Mural, Philadelphia, May 2007, full image

Memorial Mural, Philadelphia, May 2007, detail image

Here is a look at the completed memorial mural I recently painted in Philadelphia.  Click on the images for more detail, and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments!

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Mural, Philadelphia, Work-in-Progress

Let me know what you think!


March 2007, Work-in-progress, DetailMarch 2007 Work-in-progress Worksite

Check it out!  Here are a couple images of the mural I’m currently working on (it’s a memorial painting).

Remember you can click on the images to enlarge.


You’ve heard my thoughts in response to Blake’s article about the murals in Philadelphia.  Check out this sampling of letters to the editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and read what others have to say.


They visit 3 Murals (out of 2600) and One is the Anti-Smoking Mural at  Temple University!!
kyw.com – Philadelphia’s Murals To Receive Royal Visit


Anti-Smoking Mural, Warren Rice

Below you will find my response to Joseph P. Blake’s article, “Murals: Insipid, not inspiring,” in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday, January 26, 2007.

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Warren Rice
Jan 28,2007

To the editors at the Philadelphia Inquirer

This is in response to the piece about the value Murals and the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia written by Mr. Joseph Blake. I am one of the artists who painted the anti-smoking mural off Montgomery Ave. across from the Temple University practice field a few years ago. It was one of the best experiences of my life for many reasons:

  -First, I was apprenticing with one of Philadelphia’s most talented and prolific muralists -John Lewis I learned quite a bit from working with him, not only techniques in large -scale painting, but in teamwork and how good a person could feel in brightening up a person’s world, namely the owner of the building, Mary (now in her mid 80’s). The homes connected to the south of her were torn down and she was fighting a battle to save her own home. Unscrupulous people looking to put a parking lot for profit were trying to bully their way into her life, trying to convince her that she had no right to her home anymore and hers was next to go. Obviously, her home is still there, but the bullying (by a well-known politician, I understand) continues.

  -Secondly, I learned, even as an adult (now 39yrs old) lessons about humbleness, dedication and strength of character from working with John Lewis. John, having painted around 20 murals in this city, (including “The Salvation Army” on Broad St. and “Wilt Chamberlain”) has accomplished a body of work that anyone would be fiercely proud and boastful of, yet he is very humble and modest crediting his great work to his higher power’s inspiration.

  -Furthermore, this was a true community effort from beginning to end. John had photographed all the models posed in the mural directly from the neighborhood. They all participated in their roles. Why? Because this is a subject that the community voted on and chose themselves to be there! At the end, the Murals Arts Program had a wonderful neighborhood dedication, hosted by Jane Golden, the Director of MAP. This included a barbecue, cakes, and refreshments free for the neighborhood to consume and share in. That was a wonderful event. Easily, over 100ppl. Joined in on the festivities. Those represented, as characters in the mural were all very proud to attend and show themselves off.

  The fact that British royalty was interested and willing to tour our city and focus on murals makes myself, as a local Philly artist and muralist, indescribably proud. This city has always had a lot to be proud of and has had many “Firsts,” impacting positively the growth of our nation both culturally and socially. MAP is certainly one of those many things that make our city wonderful! To question, let alone defame, the virtue and good works of the Mural Arts Program is the epitome of ignorance and heartlessness.

Perhaps, Mr. Blake did not realize the evolution of the MAP program here in Philly. Jane Golden, after years of working in Los Angeles with artists and youths creating gorgeous mural on the West Coast, came here and began, what was known as the “Anti-Graffiti Network.” This gave young taggers and graffiti artists the opportunity to learn how to hone their skills towards something better. Over the years, and through fortunate city, corporate, and private funding, Jane Golden was able to hire professional artists to create more sophisticated (yet still positive) mural imagery for our city. MAP (via Jane Golden) did not stop at merely creating amazing scenes by well known artists like Meg Saligman, Dave McShane, Josh Sarantitis etc. The community has been reaping the benefits of the hard work of MAP for years, including involving volunteers, high school art programs, troubled children art programs, artwork in the prisons, positive art programs in Philadelphia women centers. Every week children are taught on various levels free of cost in art classes at the Mt Vernon St. headquarters.

  MAP is, literally one of the most positively impacting organizations ever to have been created in our city. I have yet, (until this article) to hear anything but praise for the good works that MAP, the artist, teachers and Jane Golden have given this city. I am grateful and proud to have participated as an artist and teacher. It’s certainly made my life better, Mr. Blake.

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Please feel welcome to share your thoughts.


Be sure to hop over and check out my interview at the Brainripples blog discussing my art!

Cheers,
Warren