A Mural Unveiling for a Village Legend

The Village Unveils Mural by Lily Yeh Honoring Iconic Black Theater Director, H. German Wilson

The late H. German Wilson served as longtime theater director and youth educator at The Village in North Philadelphia

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The Village of Arts and Humanities held a mural unveiling and casting ceremony on Thursday, June 23, to celebrate the life and legacy of influential Black theater director and youth educator H. German Wilson. Friends, former students, and community members came together to memorialize the man known affectionately as “Mr. German,” who served as The Village’s theater director for 15 years, with a new mural designed and gifted by Village co-founder and renowned artist Lily Yeh.

“German Wilson lit up The Village community for decades with his energy, vision, and joy,” said Yeh. “This new mural celebrates his talent and creativity, his generous spirit, and his heart full of love.”

The event also featured a casting ceremony, where loved ones scattered Mr. German’s ashes. His spirit can be felt in the laughter of the children who play in The Village parks.

“Our alumni regularly come back to The Village to revisit the memories they have of Mr. German and to share their creative experiences with team members, youth, and community members,” said Aviva Kapust, Executive Director of The Village of the Arts and Humanities. “Today, we carry forth his belief that youth voices and vision are essential to the creation of a more just and joyful future.”  

Through the study and performance of theater, German amplified the hopes of young people of the Fairhill-Hartranft neighborhood—his work focused on Black joy, community, and collaboration. He joined The Village in 1991 and stayed until 2006, but this wasn’t his first time working in the community. German previously served as a drama director for the Model Cities Cultural Arts Program, based at the Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center (predecessor organization to The Village).

German also held roles at the Community College of Philadelphia and Eakins Workshop, an outreach program of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Additionally, he founded several theater programs, including the Philadelphia School of Performing Arts and Venture Theater.

German passed away in 2014 at the age of 81. He is loved and remembered by many. The Village welcomes those who want to honor his legacy to visit the mural located at 2527 North Warnock Street.