Bold public artwork. Events and tours with internationally known artists and thinkers. A space dedicated to creative conversation and idea generation. Welcome to Open Source.
Inspired by the co-creative principles of open source platforms, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s Open Source was a month-long, citywide celebration of innovation. A response to major public art events like Miami’s Wynwood Walls, Prospect New Orleans, Germany’s documenta, and the myriad street festivals injecting creative energy into cities around the globe, Open Source advanced worldwide recognition of Philadelphia as a culturally innovative and global city.
Curated by Pedro Alonzo, the 13 projects of Open Source reveal aspects of Philadelphia’s unique urban identity. Open Source encouraged artists to engage in community-centered explorations, addressing a variety of topics, including immigration, recycling, mass incarceration, the environment, community reinvestment, and displacement—all of which inform Mural Arts’ long-term artistic and social practice.
Unexpected and profound, these collaborations ignited conversations about innovation, social change, and public space. It’s a response to the incredible outpouring of thought and creativity generated by Philadelphians, a response to the depth of feeling and pride that we have in seeing our city grow and excel.
In 2015, the City of Philadelphia became an Open Source space, including:
An EXHIBITION of 14 new public artworks, created and on display throughout Philadelphia
A CENTRAL VENUE, open for dialogue with staff, participating artists, and the curator, featuring photo and video documentation of the project, plus interactive displays for the public
A variety of TOURS, including docent-led trolley and walking tours between sites, as well as audio guides and maps for self-guided visitors
Months of PROGRAMMING, leading up to and throughout October 2015, including a major launch party, artist and curator Q&As, lectures, talks, film screenings, hands-on workshops for families, and other exciting events co-led with partnering organizations around Philadelphia
13 extraordinary artists from Philadelphia and around the world:
The Dufala Brothers (Philadelphia, PA): With projects like Funeral For a Home and their infamous Toilet Tricycle Race, the Dufala Brothers have made a name for themselves as two of the most exciting young artists in Philadelphia.
Sam Durant (Los Angeles, CA): Los Angeles based artist Sam Durant explores culture and politics through artistic innovation. Engaging subjects as diverse as the civil rights movement, southern rock music, and modernism, Durant’s work is thought-provoking, focusing our attention on the challenges facing contemporary society.
Shepard Fairey (Los Angeles, CA): Celebrated as the creator of the OBEY GIANT art campaign and clothing company, the Andre the Giant has a Posse sticker, and the Obama HOPE poster, Shepard Fairey's work has become some of the most ubiquitous iconography of any living artist.
JR (Paris, France): For 15 years, JR has wheatpasted his distinctive black and white photographs on streets from Paris to Rio de Janeiro. Since winning the TED Prize in 2011, he has become an international icon for the next generation of street art, muralism, and social advocacy through art.
Ernel Martinez & Keir Johnston (Philadelphia, PA): As members of Amber Art & Design, Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston have left their mark on Philadelphia through a series of beloved murals and public art installations. If you know Philadelphia, chances are you know a mural by Martinez or Johnston too.
MOMO (New Orleans, LA): Widely regarded as the standard-bearer for abstraction in street art, MOMO has since transitioned into creating large-scale murals in countries all over the world, including as a perennial participant in Italy's legendary FAME Festival.
Jonathan Monk (England, UK): British artist Jonathan Monk’s conceptual practice simultaneously challenges and pays homage to the greats of contemporary art through wit, ingenuity, and irreverence. Using wall paintings, ephemeral sculpture, and photography, Monk reflects on trends of contemporary art while demystifying its processes.
Odili Donald Odita (Philadelphia, PA): Nigerian born, Philadelphia-based artist Odili Donald Odita's murals and installations are recognized the world over for exploring color both in the figurative art historical context and in the sociopolitical sense.
Michelle Angela Ortiz (Philadelphia, PA): Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist, muralist, and community arts educator based in Philadelphia. Her richly crafted, emotive imagery claims and transforms “blighted” spaces, producing visual affirmations that reveal the strength and spirit of the community.
Jennie Shanker (Philadelphia, PA): Jennie Shanker, a founding member of Philadelphia’s Vox Populi Gallery and a professor at the Tyler School of Art, is known throughout Pennsylvania for using art to bring nuanced conversations to tough issues like fracking, the criminal justice system, and now urban development.
Shinique Smith (Catskills, NY): Shinique Smith has built an international reputation for bridging the gaps between art education and contemporary art, art and craft, painting and fashion, and public art and canvases.
Swoon (New York, NY): From her start as a young activist and street artist in New York City, Swoon has found her way into major museums such as MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum, all while developing a unique model to combine her public art, activism, charity work, and studio practice.
Heeseop Yoon (New York, NY): Heeseop Yoon is best known for her unique style of working with black tape like it is paint or ink.
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (Mural Arts) is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For 30 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts engages communities in 50–100 public art projects each year, and maintains its growing collection through a restoration initiative. Core Mural Arts programs such as Art Education, Restorative Justice, and Porch Light yield unique, project-based learning opportunities for thousands of youth and adults. Each year, 12,000 residents and visitors tour Mural Arts’ outdoor art gallery, which has become part of the city’s civic landscape and a source of pride and inspiration, earning Philadelphia international recognition as the “City of Murals.”
For further information, call 215-685-0750 or visit muralarts.org. Follow along on social media: @muralarts on Twitter and Instagram, phillymuralarts on YouTube, and MuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook.
Pedro Alonzo is a Boston-based independent curator. Currently an adjunct curator at Dallas Contemporary, he was formerly an adjunct curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (2011–13) and the Institute of Visual Arts, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (1996–2002). Since 2006, he has specialized in producing exhibitions that transcend the boundaries of the museum walls and spill out onto the urban landscape. In 2013, Alonzo organized the first solo museum exhibition for the French artist JR, winner of the 2011 Ted Prize, at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati and Dallas Contemporary. At the ICA/Boston, he curated Os Gêmeos (2012), Shepard Fairey: Supply and Demand (2009) and Dr. Lakra (2010). He also curated Viva la Revolución: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape (2010) at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and Generations UsA (2007) at the Pinchuk Arte Centre in Kiev, Ukraine.
Hospitality Sponsor: Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown
Hub Sponsors: The Graham Building at Dilworth Park, Pipeline Philadelphia, Grasso Holdings, LP
Media Partner: Philadelphia Magazine
Click here for a complete list of sponsors and to learn more about individual and corporate sponsorships.
Josh Goldblum, Bluecadet, Co-chair
Tiffany Tavarez, PECO, Co-chair
Conrad Benner, Streets Dept Blog
Jaime J. Brunson, First Person Arts
Nancy Chen, Asian Arts Initiative
James Claiborne, Visit Philadelphia
Emaleigh Doley, TEDxPhiladelphia
Aya Fraser, Thomas Jefferson University
Sean Kelley, Eastern State Penitentiary
Diana Lind, Philly.com
Bridgette Mayer, Bridgette Mayer Gallery
Desiree Peterkin Bell, City of Philadelphia
Harry Philbrick, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Nel Roch, Hersha Hospitality Management
Jawad H. Salah, Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP
Max Tuttleman, The Tuttleman Family Foundation
Ben Volta, Artist
Mural Arts Center
Thomas Eakins House
1727-29 Mt. Vernon Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130