La Frontera, Ernel Martinez & Keir Johnston's Open Source project, was open from 11-2 p.m., every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in October, at the intersection of N 8th Street and Susquehanna Avenue.
To learn more about this project, and to share your feedback, leave us a message at (267) 329-9615.
The Philadelphia-based artists converted a warehouse on 8th Street and Susquehanna into a community center dedicated to capturing stories of migration and immigration into Philadelphia. Information from the captured histories were rendered visually inside and outside the building. The goal of the center was to bridge the African American and Hispanic communities that are divided by the 5th Street corridor through sharing of personal histories. The community was brought together through a series of lively events highlighting the culture of both groups such as music, food, and art.
Ernel Martinez was born in Belize and was raised in South Central Los Angeles and Detroit. He holds a BFA from Kutztown University and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2003, Martinez has been producing public art in the city of Philadelphia, and has worked with various nonprofits and social services to provide art to disenfranchised youth. In 2011, Martinez helped to found AMBER Art & Design, a collective of five Philadelphia-based public artists. His practice focuses on creative methods that give urban communities the tools to tell their stories through art making. Martinez uses their stories as a framework to produce social practice artwork that engages and builds dialogue.
Keir Johnston studied fine art at California State University at Northridge, and painted his first mural at the age of 18. He has been involved in the production of over 30 large-scale murals throughout the country, and is a founding member of AMBER Art & Design, a collective of five Philadelphia-based public artists. He has worked collaboratively in the production of murals with life inmates at state penitentiaries, the elderly, students, youth at detention centers, the mentally and physically disabled, and the general public. Through his art practice, Johnston acts as an advocate for social issues and community groups.
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La Frontera © 2015, Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston. 2200 North 8th St. Photos by Steve Weinik.
Hemmed Up © 2013–14, Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston. National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, PA. Courtesy of Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston.
The Color of Your Voice © 2012, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston. 2417 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA. Photo by Steve Weinik.