You and the World: Us and the Art Around Us

​Hello again, readers and listeners! As a freshman at Science Leadership Academy, for a long-running English project, I have been called upon to enact change in my community. I have been called upon to be an agent of this change and to see it through. 

In my first blog post, I came to you with facts. I came to you with the basis of my project; I planned to go into the city and look at the art, the story, that has been captured in murals and paintings, wheat-pastings and sculptures. Now, with a bit of my own research, I have more information and ideas at my benevolent disposal. 

As Philadelphians, many of us are incredibly privileged. With 32 museums, it is one of few American cities with a number as high as this. But, perhaps art isn’t just classical. Perhaps art isn’t just what we find in museums. As I thought and thought, I noticed that most of the art we find in Philadelphia isn’t by Van Gogh or Monet, but it’s been made by the hands of people today; those living and breathing in our city now are those making art the most with the most influence. 

​(above, Van Gogh's infamous Starry Night)

Understand that I don’t mean to disdain or put any blemish on the concept of classical art. Having classical works hanging on my walls and having a middle name with roots in the word Renaissance itself (Reneé...), I have absolutely no reason to believe that urban art and contemporary art has a greater place in this world, this city, than the classics. 

However, it got me to thinking: Is it possible that, in this time, urban art means more? It is my belief that it does mean more. I believe that urban art has a major influence on the children today, and especially on our city. For this research, I conducted a small survey which consisted of 9 questions all referring to the current state of urban art in Philadelphia.

Entitled, “What is Art in Philadelphia,” my survey’s first and second questions referred to the Mural Arts Programs which I had hoped to get in contact with before posting this blog. However, I was not able to contact the MAP for an interview due to run-ins with a lack of time and other responsibilities (I have especially learned in this project that it is a major mistake to bite off more than you can chew!). However, my first two questions did address the idea of the MAP and City Government funding. 

88% of those who took the survey knew about the MAP, though 100% of those surveyed agreed completely that the Program should receive City Government funding. Results corresponded well with my beliefs; I believe this shows the vast influence that urban art has had on our community. Though most of my answers were completely anonymous, for those that I specifically reached out to, the answerers were spread throughout the city; this is a clear representation of how widespread our urban art is- just within the city of Philadelphia. 

Out of 9 questions, I found three particularly interesting. When I spoke with my brother about what questions I should add onto my survey, he shot out “Ask what they think about graffiti!” At that, I typed up the following questions:

  • What is an artist? 
  • Is graffiti a form of art?
  • Can those who graffiti, then, be qualified as artists?

The answers were widespread and the following picture is the results of this question:

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 2.35.50 PM
Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 2.35.50 PM
With this new knowledge and an understanding that isn’t much different from mine, it sparked an idea- multiple, rather- for my ‘Agent of Change’. 

The climax. 

The culmination.

The consummation. 

As an agent of change, I will be sending out another survey to students around the city; college students, high school students, learners of all sorts. I hope to facilitate the beautification of my school, Science Leadership Academy. Being downtown and in the heart of Philadelphia, each advisory will carefully select a wall to decorate and make wondrous with a motif or main topic that is seen in and around Philadelphian culture. I'll be sending out yet another survey across the inter-webs and around my school to prepare for this. With blog #3, I plan to have photographs and news of SLA's beautification!

Again, refer to my first blog for more information!
Here is my annotated bibliography for a reputable record of my sources. 

Below is one final treat; a video of many people who see street art as art and not vandalism from Artist "Banksy" (courtesy of CBS)

Comments (3)

Soledad Alfaro-Allah (Student 2016)
Soledad Alfaro-Allah

I love the fact that you are talking about the liberal arts in the community. I feel like people don't respect the liberal arts and they are not as apprecitated and often considered vadalism. I love this project and it applies more to the youth aswell.