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In 2011, Knight Foundation granted $100,000 to the Philadelphia Mural Project. The Project brought Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn (Haas & Hahn), known as the Favela Painters, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Philadelphia to produce their first permanent art projects in North America. This month Kaid Benfield writes about the project’s impact on North Philadelphia for Switchboard’s National Resources Defense Council blog. Read an excerpt below and click here to read the entire piece.

Photo courtesy of Switchboard Natural Resources Defense Council blog

Reprinted from Switchboard.nrdc.org:

As I have written before, I believe strongly that a thriving inner-city cultural environment contributes to a healthy economic and social environment, which in turn produces significant benefits to the things we value in our natural environment:  this is because the most effective antidote to the kind of sprawling outward development that has consumed our landscape, polluted our waterways and escalated harmful emissions across the US over the past half-century is a strengthening of our existing communities.  We particularly need our inner cities to be the kinds of places that will be loved and will endure – that will literally be sustained – over time.  The human ecosystem is complex and, while making it healthy also requires a lot of things besides art, a holistic approach to placemaking that includes a key role for culture – especially homegrown culture – is essential.

That, it appears to me, is exactly what Philly Painting (a Knight Arts grantee) is doing. To date, it is the most ambitious of many great projects sponsored by Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, the nation’s largest initiative of its kind.  To date, it is the most ambitious of many great projects sponsored by Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, the nation’s largest initiative of its kind…

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