First Mural In Northeast Philadelphia

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.

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  1. Это первое сообщение об этом необычном и очень интересном проекте. Фестиваль культурного наследия “Русская Мозаика” с помощью нашего информационного партнёра – сайта “Новости Филадельфии” будет регулярно сообщать о прогрессе мюрала.

  2. Yelena says:

    To the makers of the mural: Please rethink about you portrayal of “Nostalgia”

  3. Dina says:

    I don’t like this mural idea… it’s not inspiring. I see the concept of this idea not only dividing us within our own Russian community, but also separates us from the mainstream America. Do other immigrants in this country portray themselves being from different cities or as one community? American people are also very diverse but stand as one. I’m sorry as a Russian-American I just don’t see the point of this mural.

  4. Анастасия says:

    Мне очень нравится идея “Мозайки”, так как этот фестиваль помогает сохранить в нас наследие русской культуры, привнести его в жизнь наших детей и самим не забывать о том, “откуда” мы. Ведь это, как древо семьи, когда обрубаешь ветви прошлого, спустя годы, становится совестно, когда ничего не можешь рассказать детям о далеком прошлом – ни хорошего, ни плохого. Я встречала очень много людей 2,3 поколения иммигрантов из разных стран, и многие знают только то, что их бабушки или прадедушки были роддом оттуда или отсюда, но ничего больше… И как же им хотелось бы “навестить” то прошлое или хотя бы одним глазком посмотреть “как там было”. Что самое необычное, эти люди, на вопрос: “А может и не стоит? Вдруг там было что – то ужасное”… Отвечают: “Зато оно было… да и не все толькое ужасное могло быть, ведь, наверника, и хорошее, а так… ведь без рода … без племени…даже и детям рассказать нечего”. У любого народа, в то или иное время были и взлеты и падения, и темные и белые моменты истории, и только человек, которые действительно думает понимает, что важна сама история, ее наличие, культура, которую нужно сохранить, передать… потому что, лет через 100 – 1000 все будет иначе, история отфильтрует все и только в музее на “нас” будут сотреть потомки, и идентифицировать нас только лишь по наличию или отсутствию как раз той самой культуры или ЕЕ отсутствию.


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