Open Source lets top artists worldwide engage with the Philly public

Sam Durant in his 'Labyrinth' at Thomas Paine Plaza. Photo by Steve Weinik for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

The City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program is sponsoring a citywide celebration of public art, Open Source. During October, 14 projects will be taking shape around the city, with tours, studio visits, and conversations providing the public the opportunity to interact with both art and artists.

Developed in response to major public art events both in the United States (Miami, New Orleans) and abroad, Open Source is curated by Pedro Alonzo, who has spent the last decade producing exhibits of contemporary art in public spaces. Alonzo has chosen artists based in Philly (the Dufala Brothers, Odili Donald Odita, and Jennie Shanker) and elsewhere (MOMO from New Orleans, JR from Paris, and Shepard Fairey, best known for the Obama “Hope” image, from Los Angeles).

The artists are developing site-specific works based on input from the neighborhoods and communities in which they will be placed. Individual projects serve to illuminate issues like mass incarceration (Sam Durant’s chain link maze next to the Municipal Services Building) and the conflicts between Philly’s black and Hispanic communities (Ernel Martinez and Keir Johnston’s community center at 8th and Susquehanna). (Full descriptions of all of the works can be found by clicking on artist photos on this page.)

Events, including tours of the artwork and panel discussions, have been scheduled for just about every day in October. In addition, an Open Source Hub, across from City Hall, will be open to drop-in visitors Wednesday through Sunday.

Open Source is happening throughout the city through October 2015. Map of the 14 projects here. Complete list of events here. The Open Source Hub at the Graham Building, 30 South 15th Street, Philadelphia, is open Wednesdays through Saturdays: 10am–6pm; Sundays: 11am–4pm; Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.