While the news has been unfolding, one local artist has been immortalizing it through murals—something the City of Brotherly Love is quite known for. Meg Saligman, who over the past two decades has produced over 40 permanent public artworks worldwide, began her latest project titled “America, A Work in Progress,” urging Philadelphians to vote.
This past week, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia specifically have been in the news, so the artist decided to do what she does best for such a pivotal time in our city’s history and live-paint the news. By live painting, Saligman is adding non-partisan images to the mural all week that reflect the headlines. According to a release, from a tearful Abraham Lincoln to a concerned Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a shocked Martin Luther King, Jr., the images have drawn neighbors to Saligman’s side, seeking a place to come together. A nationally renowned muralist, Saligman has painted some of Philadelphia’s most iconic murals, as well as other works of public art around the country.
“I want to create something that can connect all of us, no matter our party affiliation, at a time when we all need it,” said Saligman in a statement. “Philadelphia is the mural capital of the world, so I believe my new mural is an appropriate response as we have become an epicenter for the news while awaiting election results. Painting is the talent I have, and I’m going to continue to evolve this mural all week.”
Saligman has used local colors and cultures to fuel her work in Philadelphia. Philadelphians can witness some of her work, or most likely already have without even realizing, throughout the entire city. Noteworthy works from Saligman include Philadelphia’s landmark “Common Threads” for Mural Arts Philadelphia “Philadelphia Muses”, “Perspective and Perception” in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 2014, and “Passing Through,” perhaps the most well known, which is seen daily by a hundred thousand motorists on Interstate 76. But her work has also made it beyond the Philadelphia area and even internationally.
According to a release, Saligman’s national and international work includes a fresco in Mexico City, a water tower in Tanzania, “Millennium Moon” in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Omaha, Nebraska’s “Fertile Ground,” measuring 32,500 square feet. She is well known for having drawn 150,000 participants to her “Knotted Grotto” installation when Pope Francis visited Philadelphia in 2015, and her image of an eagle flying away with Tom Brady that went viral after Super Bowl 52.
Philadelphians can check out some of Saligman’s work mentioned above as well as many others through Mural Arts Walking Tours. Those who join in on the walking tours are able to visit some different and diverse neighborhoods around the city. Each mural showcases one of Mural Arts’ core principles, how “art ignites change” and each showcase from the talented artists also follows a different theme. The guide who accompanies guests on the tour then shares the story of the people, places and themes of the mural, along with the 35-year history of Mural Arts Philadelphia and more on its dynamic program areas.