In this issue, we explore Women + Design by highlighting women designers, how design impacts women, and how equity, diversity, and inclusion learnings can improve the profession and the built environment. 

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September 2, 2020
|
Chapter News

"Untitled," by Amy Sherald

By Sophia Lee | Urban Design Committee
"Untitled" by Amy Sherald. Photo by Sophia Lee

We are continuing our series sharing stories of of urban spaces around Philadelphia that are important to Black History or otherwise feature and celebrate Black Lives.

“Untitled” is a mural designed by artist Amy Sherald and installed in collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia. It is located at 1108 Sansom Street in Center City. It features Najee Spencer-Young, whom Sherald met at Mural Arts education program. It was completed June 20, 2019.  

The direct intent of this mural was to ask the questions: “Who is allowed to be comfortable in public spaces? Who is represented in art? How can one woman’s portrait begin to shift that experience for others?” [1]


"Untitled" viewed from 11th and Sansom. Photo by Sophia Lee

Sherald said at the dedication that “given Philadelphia’s cultural landscape, I think it’s important to also have that diversity represented within its visual landscape.” She chose Najee, who was at first very quiet and withdrawn, to “build her self-esteem as well as [that of] the other young girls that look like her.” [2]

Amy Sherald is best-known for her portrait of Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery. Read more about her on her website: http://www.amysherald.com/about

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[1] “Untitled Amy Sherald Project.” Mural Arts, https://www.muralarts.org/artworks/untitled-amy-sherald-project/

[2] Gareth Harris. “Amy Sherald, Michelle Obama’s portraitist, unveils massive mural in Philadelphia / The six-storey 2,400 sq ft painting depicts an empowered black teenager.” The Art Newspaper, 24 June 2019, https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/after-painting-michelle-obama-amy-sherald-unveils-massive-mural-on-the-side-of-a-philadelphia-store

 

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