Flowering Axes is a mural in the 5th Street Vehicular Tunnel, that runs below the Ben Franklin Bridge in Old City, Philadelphia. The project is a collaboration with the Delaware River Port Authority and Mural Arts Philadelphia, using art to craft a better transportation experience for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike. Wide swaths of color and pattern evoke movement and continuity through the tunnel, brightening the spaces and affirming the DRPA’s missions of stewardship, service and community.
The design is an abstraction of motion, meant to be immediately appealing to riders and drivers. The composition unfolds as the viewer passes, with textures and imagery revealing more subtle details. Inspired by the Ben Franklin Bridge, it incorporates structural elements such as the towers and trusses but also makes allusions to historical photos of the workers in the caissons and the ornate art adornments like the winged victory statue originally located at the entrance. My design combines the iconic Bridge with references to the unseen efforts of those who have dedicated themselves to building and maintaining this public asset.
Images by Steve Weinik, courtesy of Mural Arts Philadelphia