Paul Santoleri’s clubhouse for Mural Arts gets a party

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Paul Santoleri strikes a pose atop his new installation at the Thomas Eakins House

The installation of Paul Santoleri‘s fantasy surround-space mural, floor-al and ceiling-al at The Mural Arts Program HQ called for a celebration.

And there was one, Wednesday evening. People filtered in and out of the first floor front of the Thomas Eakins House, examining what Santoleri hath wrought.

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Mural artist Delia King at the celebration.

I talked briefly to Mural Arts leader Jane Golden while I was there. She was saying that she really wished Mural Arts had control over the way the city spends money on public art. I said, “Do you mean more murals instead of sculptures???” But no, that wasn’t what she had in mind. “Of course not,” she said.

But the evening was not about that, but about Santoleri’s black-and-white Middle Earth tangle. Unlike his multi-story technicolor jungly piece that the Eakins House already sported, the new work seems like an underground den. Its title Omega Warm Garden Sunrise seems ironic, and more literally suited to the green leafy plants and hot colors creeping up to the top floor through the stair well.

The new work creates an embracing space, a sort of fantastical hideaway amid the creeping roots and biomorphic forms.

Santoleri ran his installation across the window coverings, threw printed fabric across a door and covered every kind of surface available, to great effect.
Santoleri ran his installation across the window coverings, threw printed fabric across a door and covered every kind of surface available, to great effect.

I especially loved the gray Home Depot rubbery oobleck puddling on the floor and seeping down the top of the wall here and there. I also loved the taped parabolas that suggested tree rings across the floor, and also the little rock piles, three-D elements that remind me of campfire rings and markers. Omega is a cartoon-like kids’ clubhouse.

Santoleri is giving an artist talk there Wednesday, June 11, 6 to 8 p.m. If you haven’t done so already, that would be a good time to check it all out.

Tags

delia king, jane golden, paul santoleri, philadelphia mural arts program

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