ART PARKS & PRESERVATION
With a magnificent array of wall murals and parks glimmering with giant mosaic mythical creatures, The Village’s public art offers vibrant testimony to the role art making can play in restoring urban landscapes and bringing community together. However, over time, many of the Village’s signature works of art are threatened by the effects of time and weather. We are actively working to restore and preserve these community treasures. With support from the Seth Sprague Educational Fund, professional masons teach residents how to restore murals and mosaics, to repair the undulating walls, and to install concrete caps above murals to prevent water damage. Recent restoration projects include repairs to the Tree of life sculpture, mosaic benches, and serpentine walls in Ile Ife Park, the mural and sculptures in Gaurdian Angel Park, and the Magical Garden mural. With the help of Village Founder Lily Yeh and the city’s Mural Arts Program, we are in the midst of a total restoration of the Village’s first and largest mural in Ile Ife Park. Restoration of this mural signifies The Village’s commitment to the neighborhood and to its residents.
ILE IFE PARK
(Built 1986-1990) The Village’s first park was named after Arthur Hall’s Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center. It is located at Germantown Avenue and 10th Street in North Philadelphia. Mural designed by Lily Yeh, painted by Lily and neighborhood adults. Park designed and built by Lily and Joseph (JoJo) Williams, a neighborhood resident, talented drummer, builder, and a jack-of-all-trades.
ANGEL PARK, ORIGINALLY ANGEL ALLEY
(Built 1991) Located at 2518 N. Alder Street, Angel Alley was designed and painted by Lily Yeh and mosaicked by James (Big Man) Maxton in 1991. Inspired by images from the Ethiopian Magic Scrolls, the angels function as protective figures guarding this community that faces countless challenges every day.
(Built 1993 – 1995) Inspired by African architecture, Chinese gardens, and Islamic courtyards, Lily Yeh designed the Meditation Park to provide a place for people to relax, reflect, reconnect, and re-center. The focal point of the park is the tiled mural “The Tree of Life,” which was designed by Lily Yeh and mosaicked by James (Big Man) Maxton. The Village construction team, comprised of neighborhood adults, constructed the inlaid floor and the sculptural walls.
GUARDIAN ANGEL PARK
(Built 1992 – 1994) Located at the corner of Cumberland and Alder Streets, this park functions as the gateway to The Village. The Guardian Angels mural was designed and painted by Lily Yeh. The cement sculptures were created by Heidi Warren in collaboration with Hartranft Elementary School students and The Village construction crew. The sculptural wall was designed by Lily Yeh and constructed by The Village crew. The mosaic work was done by James (Big Man) Maxton.
KUJENGA PAMOJA PARK
(Built 1996 – 2003) Kujenga Pamoja is the Swahili translation of The Village motto, “Together We Build.” Designed by Lily Yeh, painted by Andres Chamorro, Brother Mohammad, Lily Yeh and other fellow artists from Philadelphia.
(Built 1999-2003) Located at the 2500 block of 11th Street, Lions Park is a half block from Kujenga Pamoja Park. Originally, Lions Park was called the 11th Street Youth Construction Park because it was built with the help of the youth living on 11th Street. Lily Yeh designed a sculptural wall punctured by two entrances of generous proportion. Although always open, the entryways are guarded by two pairs of majestic lions and a pair of chubby baby lions styled from Chinese folk art. With the help of The Village construction crew, James (Big Man) Maxton shaped the lions so that they look African. Gradually the Park became known as Lions Park. Lily Yeh created a mural on the north side of the park called “A Ferocious World of Wonders.” The mural was painted by Rachel Schwartzman, Andres Chamorro, Brother Mohammad, Lily Yeh and other volunteers, incorporating the artwork of neighborhood youth.
(Built 2003-2004) Memorial Park aims to honor and remember their courage and sacrifice of sixty-four soldiers who graduated from Edison High School in North Philadelphia then lost their lives in the Vietnam War. It also honors and remembers people from the neighborhood who have died from violence, drugs, and illness. Designed by Lily Yeh and built by The Village construction crew with mosaics by James (Big Man) Maxton. The memorial poles were carved and painted by The Village teens and volunteers wrote the memorial names on tiles.
(Built 2003) Located on York Street between 12th and 13th Streets, Turtle Park was completed in 2003. The Park has the typical Village styled undulating wall marking its borders and the columns on the wall take on an organic and tree like quality. Lily Yeh designed the two murals with birds and animals on trees bedecked with dazzling blossoms against an intense azure sky. Turtle Park hosts a large crocodile and a huge and lengthy serpent on either side of the Park. In the center stands an impressive and dignified looking turtle, which gave the park its name. Along with The Village crew, James (Big Man) Maxton constructed and placed mosaics on all of the animal sculptures.
(Built 1999 – 2000) Located in the middle of the 2500 block of N. Warnock Street, the Magical Garden is in the heart of The Village. This abandoned land once contained six row homes that came to dilapidation and eventually were demolished by the City and buried underground. Lily Yeh designed and produced the tiles. James (Big Man) Maxton and The Village construction crew installed them onto the wall.
(Built 1996 – 2003) Opposite Angel Alley stands another alleyway leading to Ile Ife Park. The mural was designed by Lily Yeh, inspired by the energy and innocence of some of the angelic pictures created by the children at The Village, and mosaicked by Big Man.