Joseph Brin, a writer based in Philadelphia PA, has a new full-length article for Metropolis Mag on the Favela Painters Paint Philadelphia project. The focal point of the project (North Philadelphia) is an area that has experienced elevated crime levels for years. The artists responsible for the actual painting itself have completed similar projects in the past, including the painting of Brazilian shanty towns. Germantown Avenue will be dramatically updated as a result with the goal of universal improvement in the area. An excerpt from Brin’s article to convince you to read the rest:
Scanning the main thoroughfare with its boarded up windows, blank storefronts, and empty lots, Urhahn reveals what he sees as the fundamental difference between working in Rio, Brazil and Philadelphia, USA. “Ownership,” he tells me. In Brazil, if you build a home it’s yours. If you want to paint your home, it’s your decision.
Along this section of Germantown Avenue (and other areas in the city), there is no ownership by the community. Yet, every property in the new painting zone will be traced to its owner, whenever possible. Typically, properties held by absentee owners become derelict, abandoned and, ultimately, collapse. Vacant lots (some 40, 000 currently in Philadelphia) portend a sorry tale of lost commercial potential, social deterioration, and crime. “It’s like a coral reef. It’s dying,” Urhahn says.