"The Passage of Time." Mural painted in Spring 2011 by the Trenton Mural Arts Project + Princeton Atelier Course.
Sunday | March 10th, 2013 | Pre-Departure Meeting No. 3
We spent the afternoon in Trenton visiting “The Passage of Time,” a mural painted in Spring 2011 by the Princeton Atelier course on murals in conjunction with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the Trenton Mural Arts Project. Last week, Atelier course participant Ashley Eberhart dropped in on our pre-departure meeting and spoke to us about her experiences with the mural-making process, including both the process of soliciting community input on the content of the mural via “Community Conversations” and the logistics of physically painting the mural. This week, we were able to see the mural in person—the mural, located on the side of the Home Rubber Company and right off of Route 1, appeared very different from what we had seen in photographs!
Don Dailey of Princeton’s Pace Center for Civic Engagement accompanied us on our Sunday outing; Don was heavily involved with Atelier course and was able to shed light on motivation behind the content of the mural. Interestingly, despite Trenton’s connections with America’s revolutionary history, Trenton residents were most proud of their city’s industrial past; as a result, the mural features machine-like imagery and also little black and white “windows” into moments in the city’s past.
It was very exciting to stand up right next to a mural and observe how it interacted with its immediate environment and local populations—we found graffiti, garbage, and other works of public art (both formal and incidental) in the vicinity of the mural. We even interviewed a few passers-by to solicit their opinions and impressions of the mural. We took lots of photographs, and made a special stop by McDonalds on the way back to campus!
Special thanks to Don for taking time on a Sunday afternoon to drive our Breakout group to Trenton and speak with us. His discussion of the politics of planning and executing the Home Rubber Company mural shed light on some of the ties between policy and mural-making and truly emphasized the role of the community in determining the content and fate of public art projects. We can’t wait to see more murals in Philadelphia next week!