If you happened to take a walk down W. Girard Avenue in Brewerytown this week, you would have noticed a bunch of childlike figures that last weekend took up residence in the Storefront for Urban Innovation’s front window.
For our most colorful Storefront exhibit since our soda-pop garden raised awareness about neighborhood food access back in the spring, we have an installation created by elementary and middle school students from the North Star After School and Summer Program, which is held by the multiservice organization Congreso at public schools in North Philadelphia.
Tim Gibbon, a Philadelphia artist and site coordinator for Congreso, asked more than a dozen kids to hold up signs bearing their advice on how to make the world a better place. The children snapped photos of one another holding these simple yet powerful bits of wisdom, and later, colored in the blown-up likenesses of themselves. The almost life-size likenesses were adhered to the cardboard cutouts that now stare out from Next American City’s office and event space.
The idea is that children are constantly subjected to lectures on good behavior by adults — adults who rarely follow their own advice. The exhibit, called “Listen to the Kids,” allows the children themselves to step up and throw that advice back at the world.
We are featuring the students and their words in an effort to open up a conversation about how to make our communities safer and healthier for young people.
We’ll also have students and volunteers from the North Star program join us for an opening reception and small block party outside the Storefront on August 7, beginning at 5:30pm. For more information and to let us know you’re coming, check out the event’s Facebook page.
Here’s a flyer for the installation: