At A Glance
What: “You have to visit to understand.” That’s what everyone says about The Village’s unique, stunning campus of community-created art parks, murals and gardens in the heart of North Philadelphia. Over 30 years, Village founder Lily Yeh, her collaborators James “Big Man” Maxton (lead mosaic artist) and JoJo Williams (mason and sculptor), and many artists and community members following in their footsteps have transformed over 100 vacant lots into a green, vibrant oasis of shared public space.
Why: As racist disinvestment severely impacted our neighborhood in the mid-80s, Lily, Big Man and JoJo saw an opportunity to reclaim and express our community’s power, value, and safety through the physical transformation of space. Before “creative placemaking” existed as a term, they used park-making as a method for community organizing, job training, and relationship-building. Today, we maintain a core of 15 art parks and murals that operate as our creative campus, and welcome thousands of visitors a year to learn from The Village founders’ unique vision.
Who: Our parks, murals and gardens are created through a unique partnership between artists from outside of the neighborhood (like Lily), artists from the community (like Big and JoJo), youth, families, and our countless Village Guardians — supporters who keep our parks alive and well through donations and volunteering.
How: Visit our parks and gardens [links], sign up to volunteer [link], or become a Village Guardian today! [link to support]