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Using Fashion to Fight for Art

The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program  celebrated the work of over two hundred students yesterday at Art & Sole, the first city-wide customized shoe project and exhibition in Philadelphia in the City Hall Courtyard.

The students walked through City Hall Courtyard wearing Air Force Ones they designed themselves. White on white Air Force Ones are the unofficial sneaker of Philadelphia youth. So it's quite apropos they kids treated them as an open canvas to fight to keep art in their lives.  Over the years, art programs in city schools have been cut thanks to several rounds of budget cuts. Mayor Michael Nutter and several members of city council received a pair of Air Force Ones from the students to show them the importance of creativity in their lives. (Mayor, put the shoes in a glass case in your office. You'll get some major cool points.)

Yesterday's event kicked off a month long exhibit of student art as well.  In addition to the sneakers, the students created short graphic novels and self portraits. The items on exhibit can be purchased. Prices range from $40 to $70. All of the proceeds go to the student artists.

Participating students were a part of the Big Picture Program and the Mural Corps, both are art education programs in the city-funded and non-profit Mural Arts Program.  The program is year round with classes in the school year and the summer time. For more information,  call 215- 685-0750.