As part of its commitment to community, WXPN partnered with the Mural Arts Program (MAP) in 2004 to create the Sounds of Philadelphia mural series, designed to celebrate Philadelphia's diverse music legacy. This mural series pays tribute to both Philadelphia's musical heritage and the growing cultural influence of music in the region.
The Wonders Of Radio is the seventh and final installation in the Sounds of Philadelphia mural series, designed to celebrate Philadelphia's diverse music legacy. This mural is designed to celebrate 20 years of Kids Corner and the visions and dreams of the kids throughout the region.
Created by David McShane, the Kids Corner mural (as it is lovingly referred to here at the Corner) is unique because kids played a major role in both the planning and execution phases. It was a great way to get kids involved in their community while also serving as an outlet for their creativity.
Thanks to the students from:
John Hancock Demonstration School
St. Francis de Sales School
Penn Alexander School
Greene Street Friends School
and Alexander Wilson School
Each participated in art projects generating elements used in the mural.
"Kids Corner is all about involving kids and showcasing their knowledge and talent," said Kathy O'Connell, Kids Corner Host. "This mural is unique because kids play a major role in both the planning and execution phases. It's a great way to get kids involved in their community while also serving as an outlet for their creativity." More details at KidsCorner.org.
In recent years, research and discussions among various groups have centered around the mind/body connection. Do sound and music play a role in the well-being of our lives? Plato said, "Music is moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything."
In October 2004, WXPN began its Musicians On Call program, bringing musicians to local hospitals to perform at patients' bedsides. The response to these visits has been overwhelming and heart-warming. Through this program we've seen first hand the power of music and its positive energy. The Healing Power of Music mural will depict images of healing through music.
Opened in the late 1920s as a movie palace and live performance venue, the Uptown Theater launched the careers of many rhythm and blues entertainers including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and the Temptations. The Uptown Theater is described as the "crowning achievements of the architects" with an ornate art deco facade and an interior lavishly decorated with art deco ornament, grillwork, and frescos.
The mural features an image of the original Uptown Theater with its distinct art deco designs and includes likenesses of some of the now-famous musicians it showcased decades ago.
The Dixie Hummingbirds mural celebrates the pioneering force behind the modern gospel quartet sound. The Dixie Hummingbirds are among the most successful groups of their era; renowned for their imaginative arrangements, their progressive harmonies, and their all-around versatility. Over the years they have earned the almost universal recognition as one of the greatest gospel groups ever.
Located in North Philadelphia, near the famous Met - a venue where the Dixie Hummingbirds often performed - this mural will be a lasting tribute to their wonderful and inspiring music.
The South Philadelphia Musicians mural celebrates Philly's own musicians of the Bandstand era including Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Al Martino, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Eddie Fisher, as well as "The Geator with the Heater," Jerry Blavat.
Located against the backdrop of the Italian Market in the heart of South Philadelphia, this mural is a tribute to the sound that made South Philadelphia famous in the 1950s and 60s, a sound that not only defined Philadelphia, but an entire era.
The mural is sponsored by Theo, Natalie and Sam Aronson, Bank of America, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and the City of Philadelphia.
Sphere Music (upstairs) and Tower of Babble (downstairs) are the titles for the two-part mural, designed for World Cafe Live and WXPN's new building. The treetop is upstairs and represents celestial music, or the sound of the planets rubbing against outer space. Music is implied with flora and fauna, and color that leads to movement, all of which contribute to this universal blending of sounds.
Symbols and patterns in both murals were inspired by Lenni-Lenape (a native tribe that lived in the Delaware Valley), as well as Navajo, Chinese, Indian, and a variety of African, European and Middle Eastern cultures. Some of the images come from ornamental tile and woodwork that adorned WXPN's former home at 39th and Spruce Streets. The tree is based on drawings from Fairmount Park of a Paulownia, or Empress tree, a species native to China that thrives in this area.
Downstairs is the Tower of Babble, rising over Philadelphia city in muted tones, through which we can see the workings of the radio station. Upstairs, it's the common tongue of music in color that rises above the frenzy of the megastimuli in the megalopolis. Music is the big tree rooted in human culture that gives rise to these imaginings."
"My thoughts on the mural design stemmed from my recollections on the beginnings of the World Cafe - the evolution of American music, from blues to jazz to rock and roll to rap. Everything comes through those beginnings in my mind. People say that jazz is the only original American art form - but for me it was born from the blues and culminates in what we hear today. From rock to rap, American music has influenced the world. My figures, my colors, all stem from that experience - aggressive, yet challenging and beautiful. You can't have art without music."
Please contact Quyen Shanahan at WXPN:
Carryn Maslowski at Mural Arts Program: