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Shout out for OUTsideIN at the Art Alliance

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The scaffoldings and overhead projectors were all over the Art Alliance’s second floor when I stopped in last Friday. But then so were the artists, who were racing to finish their murals for tomorrow’s opening of OUTsideIN, the collaborative exhibit launched by PAA and the Mural Arts Program.

Factoring out the ladders, floor protectors and paint jars here and there I could tell it’s going to be great! Melissa Caldwell, Exhibition Director at PAA gave me a tour and introduced me to the only non-local artists in the Douglas Fogle-curated show, Elisheva Biernoff and Jennifer Smith whose Victorian-esque treatment in the big space to the left of the grand staircase is an immersion in another world that somehow befits the elegant old building that houses the art center. Biernoff and Smith, Brooklyn artists, run a mural business, decoradar. Caldwell told me, by the way, that PAA approached the Mural Arts Program with the idea for the show. And most of the artists are not muralists for the city. But bridging that gap here, lots of these artists have made indoor wall paintings and here, a lot of them have never looked better.

There’s not one weak wall in the joint. Paul Santoleri (his work is pictured above) makes another knock-out immersion into his bio-organic-urban-metastatic realm, here incorporating black cable that morphs into flat black tape on the wall. So great.

Mauro Zamora‘s corner-wrapping inside-outside production riffs on his daily SEPTA ride past the Spring Garden station. It’s swell.

Xiang Yang’s thread boxes — here enhanced by wallpaper with matching motifs — is virtuoso awesomeness.

Matthew Pruden‘s twin portrait heads of Philadelphia historical characters (one a spiritualist, one an explorer) are stretched double-wide for eerie effect. Pruden’s carved into the walls also in a piece that’s gorgeous and icy and forlorn.

Buy Shaver, David Guinn and Jim Hinz, Valerie Hollister and B. Ever Nalens round out the amazingness of the 2nd floor world.

On 3, the MAP’s Big Picture program has its own wonderful mural, titled “Attack of the Gentrifier!” The students working on the piece come from MAP’s Asian Arts Initiative program and the subtext of the mural — actually it’s not the subtext at all it’s the subject — is Chinatown.

Take a back-stage tour of the show at my flickr set and turn out for the opening tomorrow at the Art Alliance, June 15, 5:30-7:30 pm. Exhibit runs to Aug. 20.