An artist who has painted scenes around the world will unveil a new mural design for Philadelphia on July 3 to honor an organization that has protected the city for hundreds of years — the city Fire Department.
A 500-square-foot mural depicting the history of the Philadelphia Fire Department will be painted on 4th and Arch streets, next to the Ladder 2 Fire Station and around the corner from the Fireman’s Hall Museum.
"It’s a really appropriate wall for the mural and I’m super excited to do it,” muralist Eric Okdeh said.
Wawa, Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Fire Department have collaborated on the mural design as a way to honor everyday heroes.
After the design is unveiled, attendees will have the opportunity to paint parts of the mural.
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"It’s the real thing. They’re actually painting the mural,” Okdeh said.
Okdeh worked with the Fire Department and Mural Arts Philadelphia on the design for a month and a half.
It will touch on historic moments throughout the fire department’s history, like how it began with volunteers including Ben Franklin and how certain tragedies and successes transformed firefighting in the city.
The design will also show the evolution of the department, from using horse- drawn wagons to having technologies like high pressure pumping stations and radios.
The mural will be completed by fall 2019.
It will join the almost 4,000 other murals that are sprinkled throughout Philly's neighborhoods.
"Every project is like a big learning curve," Okdeh said. "I'm not an expert in these things but we work with people who are."
The PECO Go 4th & Learn event will be from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3 at the Ladder 2 Fire Station.
Along with the design unveiling and painting activities, there will also be firefighters demonstrating fire and electricity safety tips and opportunities to go in firetrucks.
"We definitely want people to come out on the third and be a part of this process,” Okdeh said. "Mural art making is a community process and it’s a great way to get people engaged.”