Philadelphia Unveils SDG #5 Public Art Display

Step aside, Rocky. Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) and its partners unveiled a public art display at the opposite end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on October 3rd, in honor of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #5, “Gender Equality.”

Installed at the Friends Select School Plaza in Center City Philadelphia, and created by local artist Barbara Smolen, the artwork reflects the SDG #5 mission "to provide all genders with equal access to education, health care, decent work and representation in political and economic decision-making."

The event was made possible through GPA’s collaboration with many organizations representing the crossroads of Philadelphia’s diversity, including New Century Trust, Widener University, Friends Select School, and Mural Arts Philadelphia. Glenmede Trust Co. serves as the overall sponsor for the public art display program.

In 2015, the United Nations launched the SDG project as a platform to protect the planet and promote international prosperity across all socioeconomic backgrounds. Philadelphia has done more than just rise to the challenge; the city has chosen to create a piece of public art to commemorate each goal. At the heart of this mural arts campaign, each organizational sponsor (or indiivudal oontributor) will partner with and spotlight a non-governmental organization (NGO) whose work embodies the mission of the SDG being commemorated to help promote the local steps being taken to fulfill each goal. The SDG #5 unveiling featured New Century Trust, a local NGO dedicated to ending the political and economic inequality women face in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Powering through the rainy weather, GPA kicked off the event inside Friend Select’s auditorium as guests mingled and watched student performances. City Representative Sheila Hess welcomed guests as they settled into their seats, and Friends Select Head of School Michael Gary and student Mia Cohen further addressed the audience. GPA’s Board Chair Emeritus and Senior Counselor John Smith III then welcomed Glenmede’s Board Chair Rhonda Cohen to the stage to present her with a certificate honoring the company’s role as the first sponsor of Philadelphia’s SDG public art initiative. Following this, Cohen and GPA’s Executive Direcotr Zabeth Teelucksingh brought Farrah Parkes of New Century Trust to the stage to present her with a check. Finally, the event culiminated with the moment the audience was waiting for with plenty of ooh’s and ah’s as the new public art display was unveiled. 

Anyone interested in seeing the display for themselves can visit the Friends Select School Plaza as well as check out images of the unveiling event on GPA’s Flickr album.  

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Article written by Amelia Winger on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association