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A 5-year transformation at McClure School: Picasso Project


Mayor Kenney Celebrates with McClure

Mayor Jim Kenney joined students from Alexander McClure School in North Philadelphia for the dedication of their beautiful new mural, entitled “Growing United”. The project is a transformative series of mosaics covering the school façade. This five-year initiative involved successive classes of 5th graders and artists from COSACOSA art at large, Inc., with leadership from principal Sharon Marino and art teacher Becky Naughton.

At the ceremony, Mayor Kenney said that “Every child should have access to the arts. The new mosaic murals at Alexander McClure School in Hunting Park are a powerful example of what is possible when we expose students to the arts and encourage them to explore their creativity.”

One McClure student spoke about the transformation of their school through art: “I can see myself as a caterpillar” changing into a butterfly. McClure Principal Sharon Marino echoed the sentiment: “To become a butterfly, metamorphosis must happen.” COSACOSA Director Kimberly Niemela stated that through McClure’s Growing United project, “All the community sees your collaborative spirit & the hope you have for your neighborhood”

The expansive mosaic and mural project is a key component of the reimagined school grounds. The project theme of “growing united” encourages participating youth to work together and take a leadership role in resolving conflicts at their school and in their community. 

The Growing United project received a 2018 Picasso Project grant award from Public Citizens for Children and Youth. The project was also supported by grants from the Knight Arts Challenge, the Kresge Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.

Since 2002, PCCY’s Picasso Project has provided access to the arts for 41,000 students through strategic grants to 164 schools. The Picasso Project advocates for full and equitable funding for arts education for Philadelphia students.

COSACOSA art at large, Inc. is a non-profit organization creating new public art specific to the concerns of Philadelphia communities in direct, long-term collaboration with city residents.

Would you like to seem more of students inspired by the arts? CLICK HERE for a full listing of all of all the culminating events at each Picasso Project school. Contact if you would like to attend or have any questions.