“None of us are home until all of us are home,” said Sister Mary Scullion to an inspired audience at an intimate mural dedication Thursday. Scullion is the co-founder of Project H.O.M.E., an organization that provides a variety of essential resources to people in recovery and in transition, including housing, employment, education and healthcare.
In partnership with Project H.O.M.E. and the City of Philadelphia Department of Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, the Mural Arts dedicated a mural project to lend a voice to Philadelphia’s homeless and to raise public awareness around the issue of homelessness in our society.
Tucked alongside St. John the Evangelist Church at 13th and Ludlow Streets, Finding Home is a new, 2200 square-foot mixed media mural created by artists Kathryn Pennepacker and Josh Sarantitis with a team of dedicated community members. The café at 8th and Arch Streets became a hub and studio space where members of the homeless community learned simple weaving techniques and created scarves and other woven products as practice for making the mural. These scarves and other crafts were on display at the dedication.
“[The mural] brought people together with or without a home to work side by side,” said Pennepacker. “It broke down the stigma around homelessness and promoted dignity and visibility with the work of our hands.”
Participants wove strips of cloth that contained inscriptions of peoples’ personal reflections on what it means to have a home and feel welcome, and the fabric forged from those strips and those conversations was then adhered to the wall and painted upon. Elements of print, sheet metal and cable were also incorporated into the finished design.
After the mural was blessed with holy water, Mural Arts Executive Director Jane Golden closed the dedication with encouraging words for all, “…the artist paints the mural but never underestimate what you can do,” Golden said. “Let it be a world filled with equality, hope and home.”
Finding Home is sponsored by the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Service, the Hummingbird Foundation, and St. John the Evangelist Church.
-Mary Kate O’Keefe