About the Class
Philly is a bastion of public art. Widely recognized as the mural capital of the world and the birthplace of the modern graffiti movement, Philadelphia was also the first municipal government anywhere to create a Percent for Art mandate to spur public art creation. The city is currently home to the world’s largest public arts program and some 4,500 murals. It also has one of the country’s most talked-about street art scenes, with the ephemeral work by local artists admired not only on the streets but now across social media.
And that’s not to mention the countless neighborhood organizations, business owners, and residents that contribute to the art of the city’s public space. Art is in Philadelphia’s bones—its streets are brimming with commissioned and noncommissioned creative works that reflect and inspire the city’s histories, values, hopes, and interests. In this course, guest lecturer and Philly native Conrad Benner will walk you through key terms and definitions of art in public space and explore the past, present, and possible future of Philly’s public/street art.
The class is online-only. More about online classes.
This course will:
- Increase your understanding of art-related concepts.
- Increase the ways you think critically about art.
- Improve your ability to communicate about art.
- Deepen your appreciation for cultures and histories outside your own.
Benner is the founder of StreetsDept.com. Named one of the city’s 76 most influential people by Philadelphia Magazine in 2020, Benner is a Fishtown-born-and-raised photo blogger, curator, and podcaster. For the last 11 years, his work has explored art, public space, and the creative minds shaping the world around us. Benner has also used his platforms to advocate for better public transit with #SEPTA247 and increased funding for Philly’s unhoused youth with #AmICutOut.
Photo by Linette Messina Kielinski
Art in Context
Art in Context courses connect works of art to history: What was happening politically, socially, and culturally at the time a piece was made? How did these circumstances shape the artist’s formal choices?
Recent Barnes Class Testimonials
“[The] professor was highly engaging, facilitated excellent discussions, and [was] very knowledgeable. I learned a lot about teaching art history from watching her.” Course: Matisse and Picasso with Martha Lucy
“Every single second of the course was a productive, valuable, and interesting use of my time. The instructor's enthusiasm and reference to outside resources sparked a greater interest in me as a learner and resulted in me exploring even more on my own. I couldn't have enjoyed the experience more.” Course: Salvador Dalí: Surrealism and Beyond with Jonathan Wallis
“I am not an artist and prior to this course I had not thought about what an artist might be 'thinking,' as opposed to 'feeling.' I loved this course and plan to immerse myself in color theory.” Course: Visualizing Memory with Lucas Kelly
“This course is equal to or exceeds art history courses I have taken at several major universities in terms of syllabus and quality of instruction.” Course: The School of Paris with Joseph Tokumasu Field