A longtime Philadelphia artist is working to both restore and add to a Kensington mural first completed over a decade ago.
Seen from her scaffolding, the difference between Kensington of 1999 and present day is drastic, Keller said. The mural stands adjacent to Frankford Avenue, which is now bustling with activity from the numerous businesses and restaurants that exist there. In 1999, when the mural was originally painted, there was none of that. “It was pretty run-down,” said Keller. “It was not anything like the activity on the street [today].”
As a self-employed artist, Keller has painted nearly a dozen murals in the city since 1994. Prior to mural painting, Keller taught undergraduate art at the University of Pennsylvania, Moore College and the Academy of Fine Arts.
Though she is still dabbling in mural painting, Keller now considers herself to be primarily a studio painter. She is unsure whether or not the restoration of Tropical Landscape will be her last project. “It’s just hard labor,” she said.
The original mural, as well as its restoration, is sponsored in part by the Mural Arts Program.
The Mural Arts Program was started in 1984 as part of an effort to combat the graffiti that was plaguing the city.
Today, Philadelphia is known as “The City of Murals” with over 3,000 murals citywide.