When Jim Colligas bought a ShopRite supermarket at Front and Snyder Streets in South Philadelphia in 2005, he saw more than an opportunity to serve a community with his store. He also saw a way to bring his neighborhood together.
Jim and his wife, Suzanne, had long been fans of the Mural Arts Program. What started as curiosity grew into admiration for the art of mural making and a deep understanding of the power of murals as storytellers.
A Philadelphian since birth, I was raised to be an advocate for all that our city has to offer. As a child I spent many Saturdays at local community theaters and Sundays at the Art Museum, and traveling around the city was never just about getting from place to place. It was also an opportunity to learn and grow, one I have never taken for granted. My parents and grandparents taught me to always embrace the ever evolving melting pot that we are fortunate enough to live in.
Ernel Martinez came to Philadelphia twelve years ago as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. There, he took a class with Jane Golden, Executive Director of the Mural Arts Program. Since then, Martinez has featured prominently in Mural Arts’ body of work, having worked as a lead or assistant artist in close to 30 projects across Philadelphia. His latest, ASpire: No Limits will be dedicated Saturday November 8.
On November 1st, we'll be concluding this year's Mural Arts Month with perhaps our biggest mural dedication of the season. ASpire is a mural and community outreach program inspired by and honoring the work of Shawn L. White, Ph.D.