The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
The Power Of Art
Art helps save lives and neighborhoods. So says Jane Golden, director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. The Mural Arts Program is committed to "discovering and applying the social power of art."
Art saves lives. We believe it.
Oh, I do believe it.
It has saved my life on many occasions.
When I am walking in the city, and I see paintings on the houses, I know I'm in a bad neighborhood. I should get the hell out before it gets dark.
The life I save is my own. The revealing power of art. Indeed.
A 30,000-square-foot mural about young people's dreams now stands across from the new Lincoln Financial Field; another mural, at 50th Street and Woodland Avenue, is a tribute to young people who have died from violence.
Nothing says "neighborhood where you don't want to buy a house" quite like a mural with pictures of gunned-down drug dealers on it.
A community arts project can play a very practical part in a neighborhood's strategy for survival and regeneration.
Right. Nothing financially regenerates a neighborhood like a mural: it tells people where to buy crack.
If a bunch of kids want to paint murals in my neighborhood, I going to call the cops on the little bastards.
In the "People's City" they might think nothing of defacing the community wall with "art." In the selfish suburbs, we have a little thing called private property. And when a person turns his private home into a garrish affront to community, we have ordinances to make them conform.
Here's a bet that Jane Golden lives in leafy neighborhood too, and she wouldn't dream of letting a bunch of kids paint on her house. ("No, no, kids! Please don't paint on the pool shed! Here! I have some construction paper for you!")
As we continue to look for ways to reinvigorate Philadelphia, I ask you to remember that the arts are not only a necessity for a living, vibrant, cultural center, but are also essential agents of change and transformation in every corner of the city.
Well, let's see. Philly is already a shithole. Transform it into what?
Golden just wants to give the kiddies shovels, so they can dig that hole a little deeper.