Catholic Chaplain’s Office

Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP), a National Historic Landmark, contains within its massive schist walls an office for the Catholic Chaplain who ministered to the men incarcerated there. In 1955, inmate Lester Smith experienced a religious conversion and felt called to demonstrate his new-found faith. With paints and brush, Smith decorated the plaster walls of his chaplain’s office with murals depicting various religious scenes, ultimately covering almost all surfaces with his artwork. In the forty years the prison has been closed, roof leaks and exposure to the elements have caused the religious murals to deteriorate significantly.

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Sukari Keetin
Philadelphia Now and Then, Larry Rivers

Philadelphia Now and Then, Larry Rivers is a triptych tile mural totaling seventy-five feet wide by 8 feet tall, created by nationally-renowned artist Larry Rivers was commissioned in 1984 for The Gallery at Market East, an urban mall in Center City Philadelphia. The installation, depicting scenes from historic Philadelphia alongside images representing modern life in the city, is composed of hundreds of individual 12 inch square ceramic tiles, each an integral part of the overall images. The work had not been adequately protected in the thirty years since its installation and had fallen into disrepair: tiles had chipped and cracked, fallen off the wall, or were covered in graffiti.

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Sukari Keetin