Moore students spent time drawing and painting a large mural during their spring break March 5 - 9, 2018. The students, of all different majors, chose to work with muralist Eric Okdeh at his studio in the Viking Mill building in Kensington as part of Moore's Alternative Spring Break program, organized by Student Services with Mural Arts Philadelphia. The project, called Dreams, Diaspora and Destiny, is a collaboration between Mural Arts Education, Haverford School and Mural Arts resident artists King Britt, a Philadelphia music producer, and painter Joshua Mays of Oakland, California.
The project is a community-focused, student-driven exploration of the past, present and future of West Philadelphia, and will culminate in a mural that will be installed on a building at 53rd and Lansdowne streets in West Philadelphia in spring 2018.
Moore students who participated include Art Education major Kendyl Boyd '21; Fashion Design major Jasmine Castaneda-Nava '20; Animation & Game Arts major Jasmine Harris '19; Fashion Design major Alyssa Kaufman '20; Illustration major Alexandra Pietsch '19; Fashion Design major Jenny Song '21; Curatorial Studies major Courtney Warren '21; Illustration major Stephanie Weinger '20; and Photography & Digital Arts major Cheyanne Yelle '21. "I chose to do Alternative Spring Break because I thought it would be a good experience to learn about how to make murals and how they contribute to the community," said Pietsch. The group went on a tour of murals around Philadelphia before beginning their work. "I thought it was a great experience to see how vividly the murals contribute to the culture of Philadelphia."
Okdeh said the process involves working with panels, almost like a big paint-by-number kit. This particular mural has 100 panels and will measure 131 feet wide by 27 feet high when it's finished.
"They project the mural on cloth called polytab," Okdeh said. "The material is porous...it's like a movable layer of paint, and you install it on walls." Okdeh said the Moore students traced the design using overhead projectors, then mixed paints to fill in the spaces.
The oldest known mural in Philadelphia made with this technique is of Sixers star Julius Erving -- Dr. J -- located in North Philadelphia.
Pietsch and the other students said working on such a large-scale project was a way to break out of their comfort zone. They look forward to seeing their work installed this spring.