Posted on 14 Comments

Embracing the Heart of Frankford

Artist Cesar Viveros

John Loftus scooped me on this story.  The Mural Arts Program is coming to Frankford.  The details are conveyed by John in his story in this weeks Northeast Times.  I cannot add anything except to say that it is a golden opportunity to showcase the wealth of material we have in our community.

Look for future announcements for an opportunity to participate in this process.

14 thoughts on “Embracing the Heart of Frankford

  1. Growing up in the suburbs it was a spoken rule that when you start seeing murals on the sides of buildings, you have entered the ghetto. Please please please no more paintings on buildings of the horrible living conditions and poor family values that exist in this city. Why glorify and justify it with a painting?

  2. Murals are inner city works of art. Some of the murals I’ve seen in Philadelphia are beautiful and others not so great. I’m a city person. I like seeing all the different neighborhoods unlike the suburbs which always looked the same to me. However the suburbs are becomming economically depressed so you may begin to see murals painted on some of those “ticky-tacky” built homes.

  3. NW Resident Says: “Growing up in the suburbs it was a spoken rule that when you start seeing murals on the sides of buildings, you have entered the ghetto.”

    You are too soft and have been coddled by living in the “Burbs.”

    You are in the ghetto now – so deal with it!

    But you (and I) will have your chance to front the artist:

    “Sometime next spring, muralist Cesar Viveros will put Frankford’s story on the walls along the neighborhood’s business corridor.

    But before Viveros paints one stroke or draws a single image, he’s going to do a lot of listening.

    Viveros, who works for the city’s Mural Arts Program, will attend just about every community meeting in September to meet and talk to Frankford residents.

    He will create murals along or near Frankford Avenue, and he wants to hear stories about the neighborhood from the people who live there….” NE Times

    I will be there and tell him to paint straight people on the walls of the area’s Drug Rehabs, perhaps paint some bars on the windows so they feel at home.

    I will suggest a few murals of people using access cards – running out of a WaWa as it is being stuck-up by a couple of people wearing “hoodies” & carrying automatic weapons.

    I will also suggest a mural with a reenactment of the killing at Krass Brothers. They were martyrs (and the poster children) for all the failed social experiments in Frankford and deserve to be remembered. They were known by 8 million and are remembered by no-one:

    Obviously you have not lived at all if you have never heard of Chewy and Cool Earl.

    “Viva EL CHE, Viva la revolucion, VIVA!”

    Embrace the Ghetto – Love the New Banana Republic – Wave a foreign Flag!

    Thank You Maria!

    I will not want to miss that meeting – It will be an honor to see you there with your sidekick expounding your opinions & concerns on quality of life & death mural issues.


  4. “Thank You Maria” – ?

    I’m lost.

    Who is Maria?

    Sanchez or DeLany?

  5. “Who is Maria?”

    María Eva Duarte de Perón

  6. You are right, Frankford, “the ghetto” does not deserve murals. We deserve graffiti and empty buildings. And Center City doesn’t deserve any murals either. Who do they think they are? The downtown ghetto? Everyone knows that there isn’t a single person in this ghetto who understands or appreciates art, we who live here are all too low class for the smug suburbs, so we don’t need or deserve anything remotely linked to fine art. So you may as well cancel the Frankford Ave Art fair because we, the hapless citizens of this hood won’t understand, support, or avail ourselves of anything so high class. In the burbs they don’t have squalid murals, they have educational billboards. A more intellectual alternative.

  7. I wish they could do some mozaic mural panels based on Frankford history and highlights like the ones on the light rail system in Denver Colorado.

  8. Mozaic murals are beautiful but the one that was done on Foulkrod St. (west of Frankford Ave.) looks terrible.

  9. Who did the Foulkrod St mural?

  10. You all are wrong. The future of Frankford acts a fool because the adults don’t act any better. The murals aren’t to inspire you. You have had your chance, its for the next generation. Have you seen Frankford Ave. and Foulkrod street, it looks like Skid Row. Its dull and dilapidated. That area need a little light and life to it.
    I presume that you all live in Frankford, and its sad that you generalize about all the people, who live. Just to let you know I am a licensed docent, which means I am well versed in art. I am a 17 black girl, born and raised in Frankford. I am not ghetto, hood, nor do I defile my community. But I don’t rag on it either.

    P.S. If you knew anything about the Mural Arts Project its to empower teens, in order to help reduce violence. In the late 70’s and early 80’s Tourists would come to the city solely to see the murals. So, I appreciate the murals trying to bring Philadelphia back to its Glory. And lastly, the murals are only coming to the neighborhood because the EL carries people who don’t live in this neighbor through this neighborhood and from the EL view its nothing pretty.

  11. @youngfkdgirl…What university did you attend to become a licensed docent? That is pretty impressive for a 17 YO. I applaud your dedication to your personal success and to representing the young people of the community. I will however have to disagree about the resultant success of murals inspiring people. 70’s and 80’s people came to see the murals; possibly. But in the 90’s and the new millenium tourists avoid these neighborhoods, and for good reason. I myself would much rather see a building with a brick/stone face that is maintained and grafitti free; a landscaped surrounding, unbroken windows, original architectural design that speaks to the integrity of a neighborhood. To the masses a mural painted on a wall means ‘this building is in a depressed neighborhood and no one wants to take the time or effort to fix it up properly; and they definitely don’t want to invest money in this community.’ I understand the intention of the mural program is to help reduce violence as you stated; but why then do the mass of murals exist in the hoods with the most violence?

  12. The Young Frankford Girl girl Says:

    “You all are wrong. The future of Frankford acts a fool because the adults don’t act any better. The murals aren’t to inspire you. You have had your chance, its for the next generation.”

    This is a lot of truth & wisdom the words of a 17 year old.

    But my little diatribe on Chewy & Cool Earl also had some truth & wisdom – if you chose to see it, let alone understand it.

    Graffiti/Murals is now an accepted form of Art in our culture and it it not confined to Philadelphia.

    Street Art – The MOCA Exhibition – Impressions
    Posted on April 16, 2011 by Matt Holzmann

    When I was a high school kid in Philadelphia, I was amazed by people named CornBread, Cool Earl, and Chewey. Their names were everywhere in town. A lot of people didn’t like graffiti, but being young and somewhat delinquent, I thought it was pretty cool.

    December 26, 1996–January 2, 1997

    All That Razz

    In May, a man caught spray-painting a sign claimed to be the biggest wall writer in town. Now the cops say it ain’t so.
    By Frank Lewis

    Long before community activists and members of City Council began screaming for the heads of graffiti writers, Razz was public enemy number one.

    He covered far more territory than most other Philadelphia writers; his simple, black, comparatively easy-to-read tag could — and still can — be found in nearly every neighborhood in the city, remaining in some cases for years on walls no one cared to paint. But he defied capture by the various cops who have studied and pursued him over the years. Like some mischievous spirit, he was everywhere and nowhere at once.

    Then, in early May, it looked like they had him. A patrol officer nabbed a man after watching him deface a “no parking” sign in Center City with a marker. The suspect — later identified as 24-year-old Brian Turner of South Philadelphia — had written Razz.

    On Nov. 20, Turner said nothing as he was sentenced to nearly one to two years in prison and one hell of a clean-up. What went through his mind at that moment is anyone’s guess, but police familiar with the case would love to know. They had long since decided that Turner probably is not the real Razz.
    Anyone with even a passing interest in graffiti in Philadelphia should be familiar with Razz. His tag is the most ubiquitous in the city, and often appears next to the words “LAW 1” — Lunatics at Writing One, one of the oldest and best known graffiti crews in the city (most serious writers are affiliated with crews).

    Razz is something of an elder statesman to the city’s Krylon set; in the Philly graffiti pantheon, he stands on a tier just below the legends of the ’70s, Cornbread, Chewy and Cool Earl. Not coincidentally, he also has been the most wanted writer in the city throughout much of his on-again, off-again career. Police say he’s never been arrested on a graffiti-related charge, at least not as an adult; in 1983, he told the Daily News he had retired after a conviction the previous year.

    Razz apparently did stop writing sometime in the ’80s, according to police sources. They believe he launched a comeback in the early ’90s, when a new wave of young writers began bombing the city with abandon.
    But for as much as they’d love to catch him, they doubt very much that they have. … More at link:

    “If anyone remembers: Cool Earl, Chewy, Cornbread and Badnews Jimmie from the early 70’s, you’ve definitely been around. These guys started in the early 70’s.The big three, Chewy, Cornbread and Cool Earl ? They tagged everything including elephants and jet liners at the airport.

    I’m really not sure who makes less sense. The old people who think their intellectual by attempting to debase juvenile graffiti artists, or these guys…”

    YouTube – Philadelphia Graffiti 1982


    Interesting note about the movie “Cornbread, Earl & Me”…according to the documentary “Through The Years of Hip Hop Vol.1 – Graffiti”, that movie was originally supposed to be about a graffiti artist but they changed the character to a basketball player to make the film more accessible. The origins of the film’s two main characters come from two of the earliest known graffiti artists; Philly writers Cool Earl and Cornbread.

    Cornbread, Earl and Me – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,_Earl_and_Me


    MICHAEL SOKOLOVE, Daily News Staff Writer
    June 24 1983

    The former Cool Bill or C.B. or Country Bill is plain old Billy East now, retired for many years, but still an admirer of his own work.
    “There’s a B-E-E right there,” he says, pointing to the side wall of a tavern near 50th Street and Chester Avenue.

    Climbing on buildings and atop railroad bridges, making early-morning hits at schoolyards – that’s a young man’s game.

    East gave it up in high school, not that he’s been that much missed.

    Contemporaries like Cool Earl, Cornbread and the immortal Chewy were far more famous:

    Country Bill was just an occasional writer, by comparison a mere dabbler.

    And besides, there is a new generation to carry on. … more at link:


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