On Tuesday, January 17, 2023, a new mural was dedicated in SEPTA’s Suburban Station by artist Lisa Kelley and artists from the Color Me Back program - a same-day work and pay program that is in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability Services.
The new mural is located outside of the SEPTA REM&E Office. A colorful display of images and patterns taken directly from a five-week series of print-making workshops with Color Me Back program participants. Kelley worked with and was inspired by participant artwork to create the beautiful design. The mural – featuring three birds displaying the messages, “my art gives me a voice”, “making art brings me back to life", and “my art helps me breathe,” helps to uplift the many voices of participants from Color Me Back – a same-day work and pay program and an innovative initiative that combines participatory artmaking and access to social services in a unique model offering individuals who are experiencing economic insecurity an opportunity to earn wages.
The mural reveal featured special guest speakers Jane Golden, Anthony McLaughlin, Michael Belo, and SEPTA’s very own Chief Communications Officer, Bill Webster.
Here at SEPTA – we are excited and proud of the opportunity to collaborate with Mural Arts on current and future projects.
As mentioned by Bill Webster “SEPTA is privileged to be able to support the Color Me Back Program. Like any program that authentically reaches out to the community and looks to uplift those who have been left behind – we are the beneficiaries of all this program teaches us through the participants, their stories, and in this case, this striking mural.”
This spring – the partnership between SEPTA and Mural Arts will continue with two new projects: one at Jefferson Station and another in an underpass at 21st and Cuthbert streets, both of which will be completed by summer.
One important lesson we have learned is how imperative it is to connect those struggling with economic insecurity, trauma, and mental health issues with the services they need to move beyond their situation.
The mural is a vibrant reminder of the importance of finding creative, innovative partnerships to continue the work of giving hope, resources, and a voice to those who have historically been silenced because of their circumstances.
For more information about Mural Arts Philadelphia and future projects around the city – call 215-685-0750 or visit muralarts.org.