June 512, 1997
critic pick|public art
Next Wednesday, the Susquehanna-Dauphin subway station will dedicate a pair of tile murals celebrating urban life. In a telephone interview, artist and mural organizer Lynn Denton said, "Even I can't believe what a difference the murals havemade!"
Although it is used by nearly 3,000 commuters daily, the subway stop in the 2200 block of N. Broad Street was one of the drearier corners of the transit system. Hard work and planning by Denton and the imaginations of 170 Philadelphia young peoplehave transformed both sides of the platform with bright quilt-like tile murals: one split design totaling 28 feet in length and, across the tracks, another mural 19 feet long.
Denton, an experienced public artist, chose the theme City Diary for tiles decorated by Philadelphians between the ages of 6 and 16 in 24 workshops held in public schools and community centers located near the Susquehanna-Dauphin station.
Each participant planned and painted an 8"x8" tile in glazes. The young artists were later invited to visit the station to watch as fired tiles were installed in a grid-based pattern developed by Denton to allow each to function as anindividual picture.
The students from organizations like the Youth Explorers of the Black Lutheran Community Development Corporation, Church of the Advocate L.I.F.E. Program, Duckrey Elementary School, Elverson Middle School, Frederick Douglass North Star OutreachProgram and the Youth Empowerment Program of People United Together will join city officials for the dedication ceremony on Wednesday, June 11, at 2:45 p.m. The public is also invited to the official opening of what may be the city's liveliest subwayplatforms.
As this is being written, lamps are being installed and baseboards and other areas painted and spruced up for the opening of a station which had not been really cleaned for seven years.
This new and enduring landmark in the Philadelphia transit system identifies the Susquehanna-Dauphin station with the people of its neighborhood. Images chosen by the young artists include self-portraits, abstractions and symbolic designs. Each tileis a permanent and unique record of its maker's contribution to the official fabric of the city.
SEPTA, the William Penn Foundation and The Fels Fund all contributed to the project, which includes an art education component extending for a year beyond the completion of the tile mural.
City Diary: Ceramic Murals, Susquehanna-Dauphin Subway Station Opening and Dedication Ceremony, Wed., June 11, 2:45 p.m., 2200 block of N. Broad St. between Susquehanna and Dauphin.