See Village parks’ vivid transformation through the years

Back to News and Stories

“You have to visit to understand.”

That’s what visitors say about The Village’s unique 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 and JoJo Williams, and many others transformed over 100 vacant lots into a green, vibrant oasis of shared public space. 

The photos below tell the story of sustained creativity and collaboration.

Pull the sliders to see the transformation in action. Sign up for a Village Public Tour to see the parks in person.

Lily Yeh and neighborhood children work on Ile Ife ParkIle Ife Park, fully completed in late 1980s.
Ile Ife Park, 1985Ile Ife Park, 2016
Community members work on Meditation Park. Lily Yeh used workforce development money to fund the building of the parks.In 2014, artist collective Amber Art and Design transformed Meditation Park into a restaurant.
Magical Gardens, 2016. This and many other parks will be restored in the next two years to be wheelchair accessible.
Meditation Park under construction

For a more detailed history of Village parks, visit founder Lily Yeh’s website.