Its the tallest mural that Iryna Kanishcheva has ever curated in the United States and the biggest for its creator Evoca1 in his career so far! A project with many challenges but which turned out to be a big success thanks to the finely tuned team.
This all happened in a town called Erie, in Pennsylvania, where Dominican born Street artist EVOCA1, painted the portrait of Rudy Daniels on the side of Methodist Towers, where he lives. Rudy Daniels is a senior member of the community and was chosen to be given this honor by the artist. Blind since the age of 20 from a gunshot wound, the 71 year old has been a positive and familiar fixture in the area, the streets and businesses for quite some time.
The mural has made the people who live in this area visible. Interesting people, with interesting stories who desire a better community.
According to ‘Business Insider,’ the 16501 zip code (where the mural is located) is the poorest zip in the state. 16501 includes the majority of downtown Erie and areas of 12th Street from Liberty to Holland. The article reports the median income of that area is slightly more than $10,500 with a population of 2,150.
When the mural was completed, Rudy, came to say thanks to the artist and was crying from happiness… Because this mural brought something bright to his ordinary life, when nothing seems to be changing.
That is the moment that curator Iryna Kanishcheva realized how important it is to create public art for the community, highlighting the community.
Linda and Brian Graff, an ordinary couple of citizens who sponsored the mural explained it all in a beautiful letter written to Iryna!
“For us, the whole experience has been something that we will always remember. We have learned that for a mural project like ours to work, there has to be a great team. This project had a great team. The support started right at the top from Mayor Joe Schember. Patrick Fisher at Erie Arts & Culture provided enthusiasm and vision about a constellation of public art murals in Erie. You as curator provided the linkage to the artist and provided a lot of support to him once he arrived in Erie. Without your support and guidance, we don’t know how the mural would have gotten done in 7 days! Much of your work was behind the scenes and not visible to the rest of us, but we know you put in a lot of hours. We appreciate your dedication to a job well done. We also had great partners in the owners of Methodist Towers, who graciously let their building serve as the canvas for this mural. Finally, we want to acknowledge the artist Evoca1, who was the mastermind of the mural. We had never worked with an artist before, and he was the consummate professional. He was the nicest person and was so easy to talk to and work with. So, this was our team and we could not have asked for a better team.”