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Artsolutely Awesome North Philly... Yeahh!!!

Philadelphia, PA | 2007

ARSOLUTELY AWESOME NORTH PHILLY...YEAHHH! is the fantastic result of collaborative effort between Marcus Akinlana, The Arts Garage (TAG), and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (MAP). To prepare for this project, Akinlana, TAG, and MAP held a theme-planning meeting with members of the community, to broaden Akinlana's knowledge of the history, heritage, and future aspirations of the area. The resulting theme was the historical Civil Rights struggles of the area, to be portrayed through a tribute to the arts. Akinlana set to work designing this gargantuan culturally-unique masterpiece, and Artsolutely Awesome was born.

One of Akinlana's personal favorites of all his work, Artsolutely Awesome was an 114 ft x 28 ft acrylic mural with bas relief that was created in collaboration with students and instructors from the Diego Rivera Mural Academy. It was definitely a labor full of love, as the intense production schedule for this piece required Akinlana and his team to work over ten hours a day, 6 days a week for 7 months. The community was extremely impressed with both the art and the team's work ethic, frequently commenting on the quality of the mural and how quickly it was being finished. In fact, two community members loved the project so much, they volunteered to assist in painting, and were later hired as part of the team. 

Many native Philadelphia figures are featured in the piece, including:

  • Meta Vaux Fuller, the poet and artist known for portraying Afrocentric themes and the Black American experience

  • John Coltrane, the world famous saxophonist

  • Emilie Zeckwer, the native Philadelphia painter

  • Nadia Chilkovsky, the modern dance pioneer

  • Leon Sullivan, the Civil Rights activist and social pioneer and 

  • Puerto Rican bomba plena musicians

Artsolutely Awesome was demolished in 2018, but its impact on the Arts Garage and surrounding community was just as massive as it stood. Commissioned by Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (MAP).

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