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'Legacy' Mural Seeks To Inspire West Philadelphia Community

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If given a canvas as large as a library wall, how would you paint your legacy? What would it look like and as people walk by, how would you want them to feel?

Well, Mural Arts Philadelphia had muralists, artists, volunteers, and students in their "artrepreneurs" program working together to explore that very opportunity.

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"Much of our work requires a village and collaboration, so working together makes the art more meaningful," says Phil Asbury, the project manager for Art Education.

It sure does. The new mural titled "Legacy" on the Lucien E. Blackwell Library was the vision of Philadelphia-based fashion designer Walé Oyéjidé.

It's a vision for a future that not only includes students like James who had a hand in it, but everyone who works hand in hand for a brighter tomorrow.

legacy mural arts lucien e blackwell library2
Credit: CBS3

"This work as much as its a love letter to stories to people who look like me. It's also a very obvious reference to classic European art that we kind of think of as a standard of beauty," says Oyéjidé. "So when we see people like of us in these beautiful works, we're literally in the back carrying a tray if we're even there at all."

James Barkley, a summer apprentice that helped work on the piece, finds himself moved by the new mural.

"Usually when we see paintings like this, we're not in it," Barkley says.

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Provoking thoughts on the creation of cultural identities, "Legacy" also celebrates the culture of the African diaspora.

"To see it now in this day in age is beautiful really empowering," adds Barkley, as he stares in awe at the mural.

The artwork hopes to empower the community and the people in West Philadelphia.

There will be a dedication ceremony on Saturday between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. for the new mural.

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