The City of Brotherly Love has more murals than any other U.S. metropolitan area. Soon to join the ranks of public art, from South St. to West Oak Lane, Port Richmond to the Greater Northeast will be Temple University.
Temple Student Government is currently making plans to create Philadelphia’s latest mural on campus, and student voices will paint a promising picture.
With moves beginning as soon as December, Kyra Taylor, TSG Parliamentarian and head of the Mural Arts committee, will begin petitioning the Temple Board of Trustees as well as students, faculty and alumni to bring an immortal piece of the Cherry and White to the wall of one of campus’ buildings. Some proposed locations for the mural, which will attempt to encompass the diverse Temple experience in a public form, have already been released. One proposal is the Tuttleman Learning Center wall facing the Student Center.
Though the future for the project appears bright, there are obstacles to overcome.
A budget must be formed and approved and funds need to be raised. While the majority of funds will be spent on the mural itself, a series of lectures will be given to increase the public need and benefit of such an undertaking.
Furthermore, artists from Temple’s vast reach, including Tyler students, alumni and any staff interested, are being asked to participate.
Throughout the planning process, decisions will be made by both the Board of Trustees as well as a panel created specifically for the project. Deans from each of the university’s colleges will be asked to recommend students and staff for the panel, which will be assembled in the near future.
In addition, a class focusing on continuting the planning and execution of the project will be offered through the Honors program. The class will not be exclusive to the Honors program.
Applicants for the class will be chosen for a number of criteria, but the one word that came to Taylor’s mind while discussing the selections was passion.
A public forum will be held further into the project to discuss possible themes that the mural could address. Motifs currently being discussed include focusing on Temple’s roots, its place in Philadelphia culture and the state of the university during the Civil Rights movement. Students and faculty are encouraged to contribute ideas regarding the mural’s direction at the forum whose time and place has yet to be announced.
But students are already getting involved. Taylor’s team, which measures about twenty, has already been working hard to produce early results along this long journey. Of her team, Taylor says: “We have such an interesting mix. It was so inspiring to see their faces. I’m so encouraged.”
This mural is about much more than a picture. Temple University, dug deep in the Philadelphia story has a long past to look back on. The lecture series that will accompany the mural’s production will discuss the experiences throughout Temple’s history. Round table discussions will be held during the mural’s planning stages in order to include as many voices as possible.
Interested artists, who would be competing for a professional public art contract, must submit their work to the deciding panel, and finalists will each receive a $500 award. The artist chosen will have roughly a $12,500 budget to work with. The budget will be developed through fundraisers, primarily targeting the Temple Alumni Association. Alumni, in addition to footing much of the bill for the project, are encouraged to contribute ideas both for the mural and the concurrent lecture series.
It will be at least 16 months until Temple students can boast about Philadelphia’s newest mural, and the road to completion is wrought with difficulties big and small. But Taylor, TSG and many other organizations across campus are hard at work, creating panels and boards and goodwill towards the project. Though the project won’t be completed until after her graduation, Taylor, a junior, said she is not worried about eventually handing over the reins.
“I have faith in Temple students,” she said.
Myles Aion can be reached for questions at Myles@temple.edu
For more information about the mural project, contact Kyra Taylor at TSGparli@temple.edu