Posted by: Waheeda Harris | March 18, 2013

Lure of the murals (part two)

Philadelphia - Tree of KnowledgeJust steps from my hotel on Market Street, walking towards William Penn, I spotted my first mural in Philadelphia – the Tree of Knowledge.

Painted on the side of a brick building, from afar the mural looked very simple:  a tree with a few objects and a few people. A broad flat surface and not obstructed by anything for any viewer walking on the street.

But as one got closer, the scale of the mural is remarkably huge – it spans at least three stories.

As I looked at the mural from different vantage points , I was even more appreciative of the creativity to create something on such a large scale with all the detail of the artist’s imagination so easily seen.

I stood as close to the wall as I could get, looking straight up and imagining how the crew would be painting a section, remembering to be so defined in what they were doing in order to insure the whole piece was cohesive.

The Tree of Knowledge was created by Michael Webb, with six people working with him, and aided by the Eisenhower Fellowships, The Independence Foundation and the city of Philadelphia.

It made me think of what my Dad has always taught me – that one’s knowledge is a collective accumulation of family, friends and acquaintances – and that everyone has the potential to learn and know more.

So as I looked at that tree, I hoped its lasting effect wasn’t just beauty but adding to everyone’s knowledge, as those from near and far came to see it.

Philadelphia - Tree of knowledge mural


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