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Mural Arts Program and WXPN Collaborate on City-Wide Musical Mural Series

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Mural Arts Program announces an exciting collaboration with WXPN (88.5 FM) to create Sounds of Philadelphia, a series of murals paying tribute to Philadelphia’s great musical heritage. Each mural will have a distinct theme including blues and jazz, rap and spoken word, sounds of the 1950s and 60s, and the singer-songwriter movement.

The first installment in the series is two interior murals in the lobby of 3025 Walnut Street where the WXPN studios and the independently-owned World Cafe Live are located. The murals will be dedicated on Friday, October 1, kicking off both Mural Arts Month and a month-long celebration of the new WXPN home and launch of World Cafe Live. Two different artists designed the murals, Parris Stancell and Paul Santoleri.

Stancell’s mural, located just inside the 31st Street entrance off the WXPN Donor Alley, features images of musicians and music lovers enjoying themselves in a cafe environment. “My design is about the origins of the music we all listen to now. This music is rooted in blues and in the African-American tradition,” Stancell says. “I tried to show these influences in my mural.”

Santoleri created a two-part mural featuring an image of a tree that is rooted in the lower level outside the WXPN broadcasting studios with branches extending to the second floor across from the Walnut Street entrance. The mural features a myriad of images suggestive of the stories in the music heard on WXPN. “These stories,” Santoleri says, “relate more to people. They are billboards and buildings, parking lots and radio towers, set under the roots of an empress tree, which symbolizes something transported from another culture (China) that thrives here as part of a mixture.”

Upcoming murals in the Sounds of Philadelphia series include South Philadelphia Musicians, featuring Jerry Blavat, Chubby Checker, Al Martino, Bobby Rydel and Frankie Avalon, and a mural paying homage to the Dixie Hummingbirds. Three additional murals with music motifs will be dedicated throughout the spring and summer, culminating in a final mural dedication during Mural Arts Month, 2005.

On Saturday, October 23 at 1:00 PM Jerry Blavat, Chubby Check and Al Martino will assist muralist Peter Pagast in painting their mural likeness. Community members are invited to join them at the mural site (1231 Passyunk) to meet these musical icons.

“Philadelphia has a rich musical history. As the Mural Arts Program celebrates its 20th Anniversary Year, we are glad of this opportunity to partner with WXPN to celebrate Philadelphia’s diverse musical legacy,” said Jane Golden, Director of the Mural Arts Program.

“Similarities between WXPN and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program make for a natural partnership. Both are community-driven and contribute actively to the arts and cultural life of the region they serve. Both utilize talent and passion to present something unique. Both promote creativity and artistry,” said Roger LaMay, General Manager of WXPN.

Mural Arts Month was created to raise public awareness about the city’s mural collection as the mural capital of the world. This year Mural Arts Month features twelve mural dedications, five mural tours, two gallery exhibits, four films, and a community-wide mural painting.

Mural Arts Month is proud to have Bank of America as its Executive Sponsor once again in 2004. The media sponsors for Mural Arts Month are NBC10, WXPN, and City Paper.

The Mural Arts Program is a public art program that works in partnership with community residents, grassroots organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, corporations and philanthropies to design and create murals of enduring value while actively engaging youth in the process. Since its inception in 1984, the Mural Arts Program has completed more than 2,300 indoor and outdoor murals through Philadelphia - more murals than any other public art program in the nation. This effort has brought art to the cityscape, turning graffiti-scarred walls into scenic views, portraits of community heroes, and abstract creations. For further information, please call 215-685-0750.

WXPN 88.5 FM is the non-commercial, member-supported radio service of the University of Pennsylvania and the premier source for an eclectic and inspiring mix of music including rock, blues, roots, and folk. WXPN produces the nationally syndicated World Cafe®, public radio’s most popular program of popular music. WXPN serves the greater Philadelphia area at 88.5 FM, the Lehigh Valley at 104.9, Worton/Baltimore at 90.5 FM, and Harrisburg at 88.1 FM. It is also available via online streaming at www.xpn.org.

Kim Winnick
88.5 WXPN
(215) 573-3339

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