East Falls Local

East Falls for All's!

Oh Deer

A new mural at the corner of Ridge & Calumet honors our neighborhood wildlife, with a nod to the home team.

You must’ve seen the new art overlooking our business corridor.  A deer and a fawn at the corner of Ridge and Calumet — and they’re apparently Phillies fans!

Just when you think adorable deer in the forest can’t get any cuter, bam. Look at those deer’s spots – they’re Phillies p’s! Could you just die?

What a great burst of fresh color & vigor right where we could really use it! For years, this building sported a fading old “CLEANERS” advertisement and, if you looked reeeeeally hard, some rather lovely gray metal fish outlines.

The artist Marguerita Hagan’s design aimed to incorporate her sculpture with the existing image – and perhaps this worked better when the installation was first created.

Lately, though, her piece was mostly lost in its setting. So now the peeling paint was even more depressing.

Big thanks to the artist Evan Lovett! Local social media is agog with comments and photos from every angle:

So pumped! I’d love them to add something to the west facing side of my place too!  — Nextdoor

Came out beautiful! Makes turning onto Calumet a much more pleasant experience. 😊  — Facebook

Awesome work, man! Great addition to the neighborhood. – Instagram

One question on everyone’s minds: why deer? We’re so used to fish art here, a departure to mammals seems almost renegade. And truthfully, the artist collective who brought this art to East Falls operated independently of any official community organizations – which is a little unusual for our neighborhood.

And indeed it kinda did seem like some feathers got ruffled. Although the artists of V.U.R.T Creative had the property owner’s permission to take down the fish (which was being donated to a school art program), EFDC’s Carolyn Sutton posted on Nextdoor that the “removal and damage” to Hagan’s installation was a disgrace: “If the artist was contacted and gave approval for her work to be donated to a school, fine, but the neighbors responsible for the original project should’ve been notified as well.”

She disclosed that the EFDC office’s wall at the corner of Ridge & Rt 1 has already been committed to some future installation, as yet to be decided. She suggested neighbors interested in public art here should get involved with EFDC’s design committee that meets once a month.

Heads up, guys:  Splash Lab Arts in Sherman Mills has a mural workshop in Manayunk coming up this October, and might be setting their sights on East Falls soon. Same deal with Trish Metzner, whose Magic Garden-like mosaics could get Ridge glittering like a jewelry box! Something tells us that we’ve got too much creative energy here to contain it all in committees.

So back to our rogue mural – why deer? Here’s the artist’s own words on Instagram:

Evanlovett_art Whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are the most common large North American land mammal. With their muscular bodies, timid personality, acute hearing and their keen sense of smell, whitetails are remarkable creatures able to survive and thrive even with in our urban environment. This mural “Fawn Jawn” is the latest installment of the #localcritterproject I’ve done through @vurt.creative. It is located on the corner of Ridge Ave and Calumet st in the #eastfalls neighborhood of #philadelphia, a location selected for its close proximity of a local deer population. #mural #streetart #notmuralarts #deer #phillyart

BTW, V.U.R.T’s painted murals all over the city, including some popular favorites like the the Welcome to Fishtown cats, and a squirrel nibbling a subway token. On Evan’s future projects, he told Philly Mag he’d love to paint murals of a possum and maybe some chickens, too. A woman in Port Richmond started a GoFundMe to raise $4000 for a mural for her block in Port Richmond: a raccoon eating a pretzel, of course.

Cheers to our deers, and to whimsical new murals all over our city. Welcome, Fawn Jawn, to our humble neighborhood. We hope you spread like wildfire!

MORE ART FOR RIDGE AVENUE! Did you know a project is underway to bring a 2nd bike rack sculpture to the sidewalk outside Frequency Tattoo? Read all about our “migrating catfish,” and how your ticket to this year’s EF Oktoberfest helped right a wrong and gussy up the border of East Falls & Allegheny: we’re over halfway to our goal!

Beer, live music, and the most authentic Bavarian menu outside of Munich. Feats of Strength with Victory Brewing, in a Victorian boathouse on Kelly Drive. See you at EF Oktoberfest5 next year! Thank you for supporting art & fighting cancer!

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5 Comments

  1. Mike Daigeaun

    I would like to add some additional context regarding contacting Marguerita Hagan about the work. The comment about being donated to a school art program was mentioned actually prior to her being contacted. I mention this after the fish had already been removed, I stopped by on the 2nd or 3rd day and asked about the status. I was told they were in the process of contacting the artist.

    Hard to say which is true. Still people having been told different things still leaves a bit of a problem about the process.

  2. Tom Beal

    As a 11+ year resident on this street I find it interesting that people are upset about Hagan’s piece being removed. In all honesty my wife and I thought that her installation was never finished. It never looked like a complete piece and didn’t do anything to bring the empty space to life like this mural does. You could barely tell what it was up there. I hope that whomever it’s donated to is able to make better use with her sculpture than it was on the wall. We couldn’t be happier to see this mural everyday, especially on a building with a day care. Now those kids have something great to see everyday.

    • Mike Daigeaun

      Tom, I’ll speak for myself but my comments are not about the mural but out of respect from one group of artists to another.

      • Carolyn Fillmore

        That’s an interesting point, Mike — seems EF can be a lil rough on artists, remember Sandra Webberking’s fish sculpture bike rack? She had no idea the Streets Dept had ripped it up and then just lasso’d it to an existing bike rack with a chain, and left it like that for over a year with no plan in sight for a better installation from Streets Dept nor any EF organization. When local artists here independently tried to provide a more respectful display for it, they were “rewarded” by having it taken away, sigh. The good news is we’re more than 2/3rds of the way to a 2nd sculptural bike rack on Ridge, woot! Clearly, the neighborhood loves art — as we add more to our streetscapes, we’ll hopefully learn better how to properly display and care for it.

  3. Dave McGruddy

    I make a left turn on calumet. (the street my father was born and raised) almost every work day! As an animal lover, I know he is looking down with a smile on his face!

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