TRASH ACADEMY: PARK POWERS (REDESIGNING MIFFLIN SQUARE PARK) 

Artist: Hector -Damon Rich

Teaching Artist: Patricia Barrera

Assistants: Christine Rhodes & Margaret Kearney

Site: South Philadelphia High School

MURAL ARTS PHILADELPHIA

About the Project

How can artists and designers support community capacity building efforts? Park Powers and Trash Academy are two projects taking differing approaches to “the means by which local area assets are brought together to improve the quality of life” (Townsand Price-Spratlen).

Park Powers began with a collaborative investigation by Damon Rich, students, local artists, MAP staff, and neighborhood partners into the question of how Philadelphia public space is designed, constructed, managed, and used. The results of the investigation were realized by as a set of graphic posters responding to the question: What does South Philly Have to Do to Get Mifflin Square Park Rebuilt How it Wants?

Students learned how to conduct interviews as well as documenting through audio, photography and video. Interviews included: Ellen Ryan (Fairmount Conservacy), Nancy O'Donnel (Parks and Capital Projects Manager), 7th Street Civic Association & Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia and, Councilman Mark Squilla.

Student Projects:

1. Drawing: Philadelphia Park Machine: Who Runs Philly Parks?​​

2. Drawing: The process of rebuilding a park (money, design, authorization, bidding, construction, etc.)

3. Drawing: Building a coalition for Mifflin + outreach proposal

4. Drawing: Parks Dreams & Nightmares: Stories of success & failure from other Philly neighborhoods

5. Booklet Design: process & edited interviews

6. Portrait of Mifflin Square & Neighborhood

7. Drawing: Parks & Gentrification

8. Group Project: Drawings/Model: Mifflin design (how realistic/visionary do we want to be?)

The project culminated with a presentation by the students of the Park Powers posters at Mifflin Square Park and an exhibition of their artwork and poster designs at Mural Arts Philadelphia.