Mural Arts: Mural Dedication with Artist Melissa Mandel
It's incredibly inspiring to watch a friend achieve a goal. Especially a goal that feels like a day dream come to life, one day I want to do a mural for Mural Arts...
When we met Melissa, that was her dream. And then we watched her not only complete the Mural Arts Training Program, but conquer it (building relationships and getting attention with her talent within the organization). Then we watched her get her own mural assignment. And then we got to go to its dedication.
It's actually two murals in one location, both sitting as backdrop to the rooftop pools at the Parc Rittenhouse residential building. One stretches the length of the lap pool, over 60+ feet long. The other decorates the kiddie pool, complete with bullfrogs, lady bugs, and butterflies.
The murals were painted in studio and then installed on site, where Melissa's team then had to go over every seam to blend the breaks back into the landscape.
As if being one of a select group of muralists now representing Mural Arts wasn't enough, Melissa also is a survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and conquered a host of other life hurdles (like finishing these murals with a broken dominant hand). She's humble and funny about it all, as if she doesn't know how special she is–how much her story, and now her art, reach and inspire other people (not to mention just simply bring more beauty into the world).
An inspiring person makes contact with an inspiring organization and everyone in their mutual orbit is changed for the better. Melissa's team included kids from the Mural Arts Art Education program, which gives young people opportunities to be mentored by muralists. Beyond learning how to create a mural, they're taught accountability, shown the joy of seeing something through to its completion, and probably, most importantly: that they have value and there are people out there that care.
Melissa's about to start her next Mural Arts mural with partner Brad Carney. While the Parc murals aren't open to the public, this new mural will cover the entire interior of the 5th Street pedestrian tunnel. Take a look at the renderings over on the Mural Arts website!
Not familiar with the Mural Arts organization? It's a must-do when visiting Philly, either just by walking around town or by taking a Mural Arts tour for a more guided experience. Visit the Mural Arts website for an interactive guide to the organization's history, to virtually explore the Mural Arts catalogue, view tour information, and find upcoming events!