Iconic new art piece on East Passyunk

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A new public art project is lighting up one of South Philly’s most famous shopping corridors.

The grand opening of the “Rainbow Gate” at Mifflin Triangle along East Passyunk Avenue took place on May 22, highlighting the artwork of David Guinn. The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District proudly presented the new installation at 1845 E. Passyunk Ave. with a celebration and an afterparty. 

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“This project has meant a lot to me. It was funded through a grant from the Golden Rule Foundation with the mission to speak from the heart and push myself into new territory,” Guinn said. “This painting is my statement about the journey of life and especially mid-life, for me, for the world. With courage, positive transformation is possible. I wanted to manifest this, visualize it, in a painting. We can go through the Rainbow Gate.”

The multi-media installation represents the journey and the path taken to get to the present moment. Over the last 25 years, Guinn, a Philadelphia native, has has created public art across North America, Europe and the Middle East. He studied Architecture at Columbia University. 

Guinn’s work integrates traditional large-scale mural painting with LED lighting, creating iconic spaces that function around the clock.  

“Working on this was not easy, but it was exciting,” Guinn said. “It is the extension of a series of paintings and installations exploring environments of contemplation and transcendence, places to connect with oneself and to that which is greater than oneself. 

“I use elemental motifs, the staircase, the doorway, lights in the night. On a formal level, I wanted the brushstrokes to be visible. In the time of AI and ultra-slick experiences, I wanted the work to be clearly hand crafted. And yet I’m interested in technology and the potential of LED lights, to animate the painted surface, as well as the primal aesthetic pleasure of colored light. There was some trial-and-error, but it felt great to use LEDs on a shoestring budget.”

During the unveiling of the project, refreshments were served by local businesses P’unk Burger and FUEL, with live entertainment provided by Fred S. Acoustic. The afterparty took place at Nutmeg Bar & Market on East Passyunk Avenue, just a few steps away from the new addition.

The project was made possible through a grant from The Golden Rule Foundation, in partnership with the East Passyunk Business Improvement District.

“East Passyunk Avenue is honored to be the home for this iconic piece,” said EPABID Board Secretary and owner of Frame Fatale Elaine Johnson. “David Guinn is an international mural artist and also a member of our community.”

Mark Zimmaro
Mark Zimmaro
Mark Zimmaro is a reporter for the South Philly Review. Follow him on Twitter @mzimmaro or email at mzimmaro@newspapermediagroup.com

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