Miriam Singer and Emilie Ledieu
27 March 2012
1500 Market Street, Center Square Plaza
photo: Steve Weinik
Mural Arts has transformed the underground entrance to Centre Square just steps down from Claes Oldenburg’s Clothespin into an enlivened tribute to Philadelphia’s diverse cityscape.
Under the Clothespin is a large-scale glass mosaic mural, a quirky and elegant mash-up of center city buildings and architectural highlights, characteristic structures from other local neighborhoods, and the personal geographies of Centre Square workers and passersby.
Centre Square owner, CommonWealth REIT and property manager Reit Management & Research LLC Real Estate Services (RMR), approached Mural Arts to take on this project and selected with them the talented team of emerging local visual artists.
The end result of the collaboration between artists Emily Ledieu and Miriam Singer, with the support of their all-female team of talented assistants, shows both an innovative vision and detailed execution. Ledieu’s gift for meticulous glass mosaic compositions combined with Singer’s artistic language of intuitive mapping and abstract cityscapes has drastically changed this thoroughfare’s appeal.
From its inception, this project was rooted in community engagement. Starting in the late summer of 2011, postcards were widely distributed to the different businesses and workers in Centre Square as well as to people traversing the busy Clothespin intersection, asking them to share some depiction of their daily route or journey through that central area and transportation hub.
Participants could mark their route on top of a Sanborn map of the area, create their own image or text describing their route, or do some combination of both. A tabled event at the site allowed for passersby to engage with the project through direct intervention on large printed maps of the area as well. The result was a wide array of mapped images, bulleted lists, small illustrations, and detailed abstract images, all inspiration for the final mural.
The close to 450 square foot mural is built like a stained glass window, made up of tens of thousands of individually cut pieces of different colored glass. Unlike a window, this piece is not activated by light, but is intensified by the inclusion of images from the aforementioned postcards and maps, screen-printed onto the glass in specific areas.
© 2012 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program/Emilie Ledieu and Miriam Singer
Assisted by Kim Alsbrooks, Iva Fabrikant, and Monica Mathieu