October 7, 2018 Philadelphia Mural Arts Restored Spaces

Shari Hersh, Senior Project Manager and Founder, Restored Spaces at Mural Arts Philadelphia, Basurama artist Monica Gutierrez, and Philadelphia community activist Lizeth Morales, discussed the Restored Spaces projects in Lizeth’s community, the park at Southwark School.    We first discussed Mural Arts Philadelphia and its beginning as the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Project, looking to improve blighted areas, how it has transformed neighborhoods and how it has returned to its origins with Restored Spaces.  Sheri described their work, looking to create neglected spaces and generate community involvement.  To develop the Southwark project Restored Spaces hosted role-playing games to generate ideas on how Lizeth’s community wanted to use the space, then brought in Basurama, ‘trash loving,’ a Madrid based artist collective who use ‘found’ items – trash – as materials in their spaces.  Monica described her work with the Southwark community as ‘tranformative’ for both the artists and the local residents.  Lizeth, speaking in her first language, Spanish, described her community which boast eleven different languages at the school. She spoke on the pride the mothers especially felt in participating in the process, as a learning experience for them and a teachable moment for their children.   The project, two years in already, will be completed by 2020, and include play space, quiet areas, seating and greenspace, and a mural designed by the commnity.