If you’re heading down one of the Northeast business corridors of Castor, Rising Sun or Bustleton avenues, you’ll notice some new flair to let the city know the corridor is open for business.
Councilwoman Cherelle Parker (D-9th dist.), state Rep. Jared Solomon (D-202nd dist.), Lawncrest Community Association, Philadelphia Protestant Home, Mural Arts and Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association unveiled a series of banners and Bigbelly trash receptacles in the corridor.
The funding came from a combination of state and city funds plus donations from PNC Bank, Bryn Mawr Trust, M&T Bank, Cardone and an anonymous donor. OCCCDA applied for state and city grants to manage funds that paid for Mural Arts’ design and installation of the banners and Bigbellys.
The banners were designed by Mural Arts artist Felix St. Fort. The ideas for the designs came from the community itself, through many meetings and rough drafts, it took three years to get the design just right.
Parker wanted something tangible that residents and business owners had input into. It makes people think about how they can improve their community, and keeps business owners who might have been on the fence about staying, Parker said.
The banners and Bigbellys are a product of state and local government working together, listening to what their constituents said, and using that data to create something the community could be proud of.
“If you ask residents of this community the last time they saw this focus from elected leaders, nonprofits, business leaders, you would probably go back decades,” Solomon said.
Parker said the banners and trash receptacles painted a bigger picture, one where government officials work for the people.
“This is to let people know we’re here and we’ve not forgotten,” Parker said.
Jane Golden, founder and executive director of Mural Arts Philly, said designing the banners enabled Mural Arts to work with the community, which is what they love to do.
“So we can provide beauty, and we can provide people with jobs that are meaningful,” Golden said. “We can lift up our city in many ways, so let’s be creative.” ••