January 13, 2012 by Ali Swider
A Drexel graphic design student designed the “Art Ignites Change” exhibit in the new public space at The Gallery at Market East, which officially opened Dec. 13.
Randi Dean, a senior, created a timeline of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program from its inception in 1984 to its current state.
Dean, along with 13 other Drexel students in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, were given the opportunity to create a mural arts exhibit as a part of Amy Rees’ multidisciplinary exhibition design course.
“It was surprising and exciting to have my design chosen, but with that came the nervousness of working with real clients and satisfying their expectations,” Dean said.
In order to achieve this vision, Dean, accompanied by Rees, worked with program representatives to modify her original concept. The roughly 27-by-10-foot final product was the end result of a two-month process and collaboration.
“When my family and I viewed the official exhibit for the first time, it was more than what I expected,” Dean said.
The design department partnered with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program for the upcoming winter term. In this particular collaboration, the students were asked to create a mobile exhibit for the pop-up “How We Move” studio in the 3,500 square-foot Mural Arts at The Gallery public space, which will remain open year-round.
“This is not the first time we have worked with the program. They will come to us with exhibition needs, which we can then refine into assignments for the students to complete. It is like a business opportunity,” Rees said.
As the largest organization of its kind in the nation, the Mural Arts Program promotes the creation of public works of art in over 100 communities, often involving designers like Dean and fellow Drexel students, as well as thousands of city residents.
“We got more than we bargained for in our partnership with Drexel’s design school. From concept to proof to finished product, we couldn’t be more pleased with the results, and we were especially grateful to them for funding the project,” Ryan Derfler, director of business development within the Mural Arts Program, said.
While stimulating economic revitalization for the retail spaces involved in the mobile studios, this project also exposes mural arts to surrounding neighborhoods and encourages art participation among community members.
This historical art display, along with regular rotating exhibits within the museum and interactive touch-screen kiosks, is available for public viewing and private tours every day of the week during varying hours.