Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cesar Makes a Statement Through Mural Arts to include Pope Francis

During the World Meeting of Families, the public will have the opportunity to make a public statement through art with the help of artist Cesar Viveros in cooperation with The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the World Meeting of Families.

Expect the unexpected, that is what happened to me last Sunday when I ventured into the city to see what was in the works for the Papal visit.  I thought the city looked good but what I was later to discover was something even better.

When I was reading about all the World Meeting of Families events leading up to the Papal visit I read about a mural that would be made available for the public to take part in its creation.  I knew it wasn't complete but part of the mural was already in place.  I went to see that part at St. Malachy at 11th and Thompson Streets in North Philadelphia. That is where I found the unexpected.

First of all the gate was open to the school yard and then a van pulled in.  I walked in the gate looked up to admire the painting and then I saw two guys up there working on a section of the wall. I snapped a picture.

Not long after I had arrived the two guys came down and were talking with the guys who pulled up in the van very affectionately and familiar, all smiles.  I was later to find out they were all part of the family.

Left to right: Irving Viveros , Cesar Viveros, Domingo Dominguez ( back), Luciano Viveros.

Cesar Viveros is the creator of  “The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century” mural. He is a most friendly and generous man.  They all were as they talked with excitement about the mural. He spoke with us for about fifteen minutes and I asked him a lot of questions and he willingly answered. I had a million more questions.

I asked for a business card. All of his family looked at one another and shook their heads no business card. He went to his truck and came back with a Wawa cardboard holder from his coffee cup.  He wrote down his name and his email address. I was thrilled to have this.  I emailed him the next day to thank him and I asked him a few more questions.  Much to my surprise he answered me back saying he would get back to me shortly. The following morning I had my answers.

Mr. Viveros began working in mural arts in 1997 at Broad and Spring Garden Streets. He met Meg Saligman in 1999 while working on Common Threads. That is where he first started to work with the fabric technique. He credits Meg for being his mentor.

This is a photograph of what the one section of all will look like when they complete it. The vine will be all mosaic and it will sparkle as well as the stars above.  There will be 136 stars, Luciano Viveros mentioned. My curiosity antenna went up 136 stars? No particular meaning Cesar said there probably is something about 136 in the bible. Yes there is...

Psalm 136:9 (New International Version) the moon and the stars to govern the night, His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:9 (King James Version) The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

(I found it listed at

He is very excited for the person or persons that will get to paint the Pope at the Convention Center.  He said for years to come they can come to see the mural and look up in admiration and say I painted that. He on the other hand can always claim, I created that. Imagine some one so proud and humble about their work. What would a world like that be? I would think much more positive and productive.

He may not have had a business card on hand but look at his resume.  I am humbled to have met him and his team.

“Honoring Industrial Past" at former Val Mode 
2014  Outdoor Mural
Bridgeton, NJ.

“Great Generations, La Lucha Sigue, una revolucion intelectual”
Mexican students Identity in the 21st Century
2014 Outdoor Mural
Veracruz,Ver. Mexico.

“Imagining Frankford”
2012/2013  series of 4 large outdoor mural in the Frankford Corridor.
Philadelphia PA.

“the Leap”
2012  Mural.  LEAP Academy. Camden NJ.

“Along the Cohansey River ,  the  Enchanted City”
2011 Outdoor Mural
Bridgeton NJ.

“The Dreamed City”
2011 outdoor Mural
Vineland NJ.

“Inspirations” Youth study center
2010 indoor mural
3232 Henry Av. Philadelphia PA 19129.

“CREER ES CREAR” ( To believe  is to create)
Bayard Taylor School
2010 outdoor mural
3698 North Randolph Street Philadelphia PA 19140.

“Kids and Cops”
2009 outdoor mural
17th and Montgomery. Philadelphia PA.

The Always Present Curative Force( La siempre presente fuerza curativa)
2009  Mural 25’ x 65’ 425 W Allegheny Ave Philadelphia PA
dedicated to addressing the influence of stigma on mental health.

“Blue Print for a Better Philadelphia”
2008 Outdoor Mural 
York and American Street 
Philadelphia PA

“Tribute to Neighborhood House”
 2008 outdoor mural
Morristown NJ

“Daring to Cross the Waters”
Boys and girls club. Whitaker Av.
Philadelphia PA

We shall rise
2006/2007 outdoor mural and relief
A mural rendering tribute to a group of people demanding a healthier way of life for their neighborhood, as they have to face a neglected ,contaminated soil, water and air, because of the indiscriminately,  careless  corporations setting around their environment.

“The New Fire Ceremony”  (Mexican emigration)
Mural  28’ x 25’ x 11”   2006 outdoor mural and high relief
Girard and Germantown Ave.
Just like any other Immigrants group in the past, Mexicans brings with them needs as well as skills.
The Mexican themed Mural portrays the struggle and achievements of the latest wave of immigrants  in Philadelphia. In Mexican style, it displays relief elements such as functional Aztec calendar and Mayan chieftain dialoging.  At the top, colorful concrete extensions capture people's attention.

It takes a village...
2006 indoor mural
Flowers growing as they absorb the air, sunlight and nutrients from the soil  pair images of kids been guided by parents, teachers and community as they grow up.

My life, my path, my destiny.
2005 outdoor mural and sculpture
2157 E. Lehigh
This 1/8 of a mile long wall depict the journey of adolescents who regardless of their ethnic, economical or religious background have to face that stage on life where they decide what path to take in their journey. Metaphors of innocence, temptation, risky short cuts, evolve into painful decisions, remorse, ,repent, struggle, and stories of individual triumphs. 

State Wide Project
2005  Harrisburg, PA
For the first time in Pennsylvania, a mural made by more than 20 schools across the state, (Design sectioned in pieces of 5’x5’,  painted at schools , shipped  to the city capitol, pasted together in the Building of Education), make a reality an ambitious project that involve people that never meet before until the day of the celebration when the mural was finally unveiled.

“Kelly School”
2005 outdoor mural
Students worked with artist to generate meaningful  themes that resonate with their lives and their dreams.  At Kelly Elementary School, the mural depicts students reading, dancing and playing amid environment.   Formerly blank walls now remind young people to aim high when believing in themselves.

“Healing Wall”
3049 Germantown av.
Philadelphia, PA
2003/2004 outdoor murals and extensions
 Two wall of 2000 sq ft each one,  depicting the epic journey of  Inmates inside Graterford State Penitentiary , as well as Victims of crime . Mural painted inside the State prison in collaboration with the inmates and victims of crime and Victims advocates, then installed in a neighborhood where some of this inmates came from.

“Greater Aspirations, Greater Expectations ”
Glenwood and 29th St. Philadelphia PA
5000 Sq Ft outdoor mural and cutouts extensions
Painted in an elementary school, reveals the life of students striving for higher Education.  A massive wall  can not hold a huge butterfly flying out of the roof (extension on top of roof  made of wood wrapped  with lath  wire   covered with cement). 

“I Saw a City Invincible”
Legal service Building at Market and Haddon.
Camden ,NJ.
2003 outdoor mural, sculpture, relief and roof extensions
Having Justice for Central theme, community leaders, civil right activists. City council representatives,  and historians  got together to inspire a design  that could depict issues of social change of Camden.

“Celebrating Life, Connecting Our Dreams “
300 Ft long mural in  Harrisburg’s Mulberry Street Bridge
(Largest  mural in Harrisburg)
Painted in non woven , then installed  on the metal surface of the sides of the bridge that connects  Downtown Harrisburg with South Allison.

2003 outdoor mural and sculpture
2739 N. Front St. .Philadelphia, PA.
Experimental Concrete sculpture and Mural Commissioned by the Department of health (antismoking campaign), features symbols for getting free of the habit, warnings of the danger of smoking in Spanish language, A teenager girl, a young adolescent, an older man  and a senior women,  represent different stages of life. The  “fifth person” is a concrete sculpture trapped by the “metallic “ paper, intending to showcase the sad long lasting effects of the habit.

“Light House”
2002 Philadelphia, PA
Celebrating the hundred anniversary of this institution, this mural offers a glimpse on the history of the many services this center thrive to offer to the community:  Arts , Sports and education.

“ El mercado”
2002 Philadelphia, PA
This mural depicts the efforts of experimental agricultural markets in the Hispanic community.

Give Wings...Adopt”
2002 Philadelphia, PA (DHS)
2440 N Broad Street
3000 Sq Ft multi-media mural (mosaic, fresco, cut out wood extensions, acrylic)
Portraying kids aspirations, hopes and needs for a place to call home and someone to call parents. They all helped to paint the mural.

“Another View to the Eternal Sky”
2002 Philadelphia, PA
850 Sq Ft.
 Franklin Institute Museum of Science. Park way, Philadelphia PA .
On the walls of the Fell planetarium, introduce visitors to the amazing world of sciences and inquisitives of the wonders of out there space.

“Cancer Support for Life”
1600 Sq. Ft Mural
N. College and 22 St.
Philadelphia , PA
Spring 2002
Trying to give a message of hope this mural pays tribute to the driving force of the people who have to face cancer treatments, choosing to enjoy life in the hardest moments, as well as their family. Some of the people depicted in the mural are volunteers for the center, other ones are the ones that choose to learn about their disease, face their fears and built a network of support. A mural that depicts the work of rebuilding one’ s life after cancer would be an inspiration to those who view it.

“Diversity and Integration, Celebrating Life.”
1500  Sq. Ft. mural
“Rafael Cordero Molina” Elementary School
Seventh  and Vine St.
Camden, NJ.
Description :  The mural is about bringing  ethnic groups  together, as part of the scene among the  people portrayed  sitting, standing, working, and playing music, are cultural artifacts,   including African statues and drums, traditional Puerto Rico Mask ,a Mexican  sculpture and different objects that students  considered  to represent their culture.
“Any Given Day at Coatesville“
240 Sq Ft mural
Art Partners  Studio, Coatesville, PA.
Description: After held several meeting with the community ,the mural intended to capture their hopes and dreams showing their preferred moments and sites , their  historic past and promising future .


“The Sacred Now: Faith and Family in the 21st Century” mural is scheduled to be completed some time in November and unveiled. I can't wait to see it complete and now I have all these other murals to visit. What a treasure hunt and a way to spread the word with a stroke of the paint brush.

You can see what the completed mural will look like at the school's website,
St. Malachy.

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