This is the area where the majority of the Russian-speaking population (about 220,000 people) resides. It is a very nice and convenient place for living. There are a lot of Russian-owned businesses in the area: numerous restaurants, doctors’ offices, body shops, adult day cares, etc.
But at the same time it’s a very boring and faceless place. Very few historical sites and architectural attractions, museums or galleries and they are mostly unknown to both locals and City in general. Only shopping plazas / centers filled with stores, restaurants or busines offices. There is a need to have a kind of an accent in this landscape, indicating our community’s presence in a very meaningful and powerful way.
Outside population identify us as “Russians” because we all can speak this language. We identify ourselves as “Muscovites”, “Kievliane”, “Odessiti”, “Lenigradtsi”, etc, by the name of the city of our origin.
Several months ago, the founder and principal teacher of Art Studio “Pallet” Miss. Lyudmila Makarova came to Russian Mosaica Heritage Festival with an idea on how to resolve the problem of Northeast dullness using community’s self-identification.
Art Studio “Pallet” was created about fifteen years ago by professional painter and artist Ms. Makarova is from St. Petersburg, Russia. She got her professional education at St. Petersburg Academy of Art, and after moving to America obtained Bachelor Degree in Applied Arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
More than one hundred students ages from five to sixty-five taking drawing, painting, sculpture and ceramic classes. Ms. Makarova is working enthusiastically with all the ages but her most successful classes are those with teenagers. Volunteer Anna Brodsky initiated and organized “The Teen Club” which gathers on Sundays at the studio, where Russian-speaking teenagers from different high schools share their ideas, recite poems, read articles, stories or discuss their life problems. During one of this Sundays they came up with an idea of the mural.
It will display a group of teenagers sitting on the grass on a warm and sunny day peacefully talking with each other with the Philadelphia skyline on the background. They are engaging in conversations, and through their speech depicted as soap bubbles the teenagers visualize cities from where they and/or their parents immigrated to America. These images will demonstrate mosaic-like diversity of the Russian-speaking community. They show some nostalgia and warm feelings about the past and gratefulness and respect for the present. The sun is shining, the peaceful teenagers are talking and….we doesn’t want our kids to forget about their roots and cultural background.
This image will definitely decorate the monotonous landscape of NE Philadelphia. It will identify the Russian-speaking community and make people smile at the images of kids who don’t want to forget their roots and their ancestors.
After several months of extensive search and very involved negotiations we have identified and secured 10-years wall release rights at the following address: Somerton Shopping plaza, 10833 Bustleton Avenue. Work on the project is currently in the setup stage and we will provide constant updates on its status.