Families Belong Together
Posted by Aug 13, 2019
In the summer of 2018, against a backdrop of national immigration policy restrictions, Mural Arts had the opportunity to work with Chiléan artist Artes Ekeko (Ian Pierce). The pieces fell into place as we worked quickly to create something meaningful: North Philadelphia’s Providence Center joined us as a partner; members of our Restorative Justice Guild program were available to assist; and local artist Cesar Viveros signed on to help make this mural possible. A 900-square-foot wall was available in the Fairhill neighborhood, a predominantly Hispanic and Latinx community, and so we got to work.
Over a few short weeks, the mural went up on the wall, invoking conversation around community, empathy, and home. As is our practice, Mural Arts created a work of art that made a kinder future visible to the public eye: safe passage and respect for all people.
Ekeko and Viveros created a bright, textured design in line with Philadelphia’s longstanding status as a sanctuary city, representing a family making their way to a new home. Over a few short weeks, the mural went up on the wall, invoking conversation around community, empathy, and home. As is our practice, Mural Arts created a work of art that made a kinder future visible to the public eye: safe passage and respect for all people.
Families Belong Together made a statement in support of Philadelphia’s immigrant communities, but it also served as a caution that this struggle is not so far away. It asked us to pay attention, no matter the distance. It is a reminder that policy affects people. Now, in the summer of 2019 as camps fill with immigrants along our southern border, we must fight harder to make this future happen, through art and beyond.
City of Philadelphia
This post is part of The “Public” In Public Art: Community Engagement Stories From The 2019 PAN Year In Review blog salon.