Music Feature

Haas & Hahn Mural Arts Project

by James Boney
One step closer to a cooler Philadelphia

In the next step of their 18 month stay here in Philadelphia, the Dutch artist team of Haas & Hahn (Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn) hosted an open house at their private studio in North Philadelphia this past Thursday night. The duo has been hired by the city of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program to design and complete 3 community based mural art projects across the city.

In addition to showcasing their past work, the team displayed initial mock-ups and potential locations of their upcoming Philadelphia murals.

Although still very much in the planning stage, of particular note is a Manayunk project that would aim to spell out Manayunk in bold white capital letters across the cities rooftops along I76. A not so subtle rip of the famous Hollywood sign, artist Dre Urhahn confesses to me, “We are not trying to be discrete.”

The community element of their work is what makes the team an enormously positive presence here in Philadelphia. Having just finished a 4 year project in the some of the poorest regions of Brazil, the team focuses on including community members in the completion of their work. For them, it’s about making the residence of these communities feel intrinsically attached to the beautification of their neighborhoods.

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A 3 panel light-box display of Haas & Hahn's work in Brazil.

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Jeroen Koolhaas (left) discussing the project with some in attendance.

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Dre Urhahn (red hat) standing in front of a display of their previous work in Brazil.

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Jane Golden, Mural Arts Director, looking over some of the potential work to be done here in Philadelphia.

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The current specs for the upcoming Philadelphia project with the Manayunk plan at top.

Follow James Boney on Twitter @otherminds

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