Philadelphia Murals: Peace Wall

Essay by kclw1111College, UndergraduateA-, March 2006

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The "Peace Wall" in South Philadelphia was painted to show a sense of unity in the community of Grays Ferry. The painting depicts eleven interlocking, interracial hand and a peace dove carrying the message, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God". The goal of this mural was to show the people of the struggling community that people of different races and ages can all live together in peace (Halpern).

The Designer of this mural is Jane Golden, the director of the Mural Arts Program. Before supervising the Mural Arts Program, Jane worked eleven years with the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, working with the graffiti artists and introducing them to painting. Since then Jane had supervised over two thousand murals with the city wide Mural Arts Program, yet she still remains committed to art education. She has been an instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and at the University of Pennsylvania (Steelcase Inc).

Golden chose this area for her mural because of the racial tension in the past and the present. The community was separated by the conflict of the tight-knit, blue-collar Irish Catholics living in the neighborhood's modest row homes and the poor blacks living in the deteriorating Tasker Housing Project. The riots, beatings, and killings eventually caused the whites to start leaving. The tenants from the Tasker housing Project moved into the row homes and the Tasker project was left to deteriorate. This caused the housing values to fall and the crime rates and drug use to rise. The Philadelphia Housing Authority forced tenants to leave with plans to rebuild all of the public housing (Newall).

Recently, a new 554 home, 40-acre development has been built over the old Tasker Housing Project. The new development, the Greater...