Happy Monday friends!
Today I thought I’d share with you the wonderful talents of my older brother, Jim. Jim is an art teacher for Philly’s Mural Arts Education Program, in which he is assigned different sites throughout the city each year to teach art to students after school and over the summer. With his instruction and guidance, he and his students design, create, and install beautiful murals all over the city.
^^ Jim and I working on another set of his murals in Harrisburg, PA^^
My big brother is one of the most passionate people I know, and I was lucky enough over the summer, to get to see him interact with a few of his students at one of their art shows. They love him, and he loves them; and it’s apparent in their interactions — there is a mutual respect there. It was so cool to finally see my brother in his Teacher Role, and to watch him thrive. He brings so much more than art to his classes — he brings both education as well as life lessons, and the amount of thought that has gone into each project before it’s assigned is very apparent. It has been so much fun following along on his lessons via his instagram account, and I always enjoy hearing about the driving force behind each project.
photo credit: Steve Weinik
Today, though, I am extra proud to be sharing with you all, this incredible set of murals that he and his students created and installed at Southwark Elementary on 9th & Mifflin in South Philadelphia. I think this mural especially resonates with me because it’s all about weaving — one of my own passions. Instead of trying to explain to you all what exactly the message behind this colorful and beautiful masterpiece is, I thought I’d share with you Jim’s words instead:
“Through community meetings organized by Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Restored Spaces, a central theme of sharing culture emerged amongst participants. In collaboration with students in the art education department a design was created to weave together the diverse cultures represented within the community. The act of weaving serves as both a visual and utilitarian art form and is found in cultures throughout the world. In weaving, the vertical warp threads serve as the base, much like the Southwark School, teachers, and staff help to create a foundation for the community to gather. This is built upon by the horizontal weft threads. In weaving, the weft is created by intertwining thread through your warp in repetitive patterns to create intricate designs. In this mural we envision the weft representing individuals throughout the community. Each person brings with them their own unique life and cultural experiences that are interwoven within the Southwark. As the weft builds up, the intricacies of each person’s journey come together with their neighbors to create a collaborative weaving of ideas, culture, and shared experience that helps to tell the story of South Philadelphia. Various weaving techniques are highlighted throughout the different sections of the weaving. Students drew symbols from weavings found in cultures throughout the neighborhood and categorized them based on similarities within the weft threads. Some weft threads are left loose to symbolize a continuation of the neighborhood story being woven together.”
If you’re in Philly, take some time to stop by 9th & Mifflin to check out these beautiful (and massive!) and one-of-a-kind pieces of art! Everyday I am so proud of my big brother — for making a difference in not only the city, but in the lives of the young people that are our country’s future. I love you, Jimbo! You are an inspiration to all of those that you meet! #ArtIgnitesChange.
ps. if you’re looking for handmade & unique Christmas gifts this year, check out his Etsy shop –> here!