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Artist Steve Powers to transform bridges on Westside

In 2009, Powers created a mural project in West Philadelphia about the complexities and rewards of relationships called "A Love Letter for You." Powers and his crew painted 50 murals along the elevated train on Market Street. Inspiration for the murals came directly from residents who were canvassed about their feelings about the neighborhood. Powers translated those into largely text-based murals, focusing on the common struggles of the community and reframing them in a positive light.

Likewise, Powers and several artists have canvassed Near Westside residents for inspiration. They held neighborhood meetings and went door-to-door asking for input about the community. For the Syracuse project, he translated those ideas and words into positive messages that recognize the hardships and beauties of everyday life. The inspiration for the Syracuse murals include paying the bills, having nothing to do, the four seasons and people's ultimate view that the city is a good place to live and raise a family. Powers has created preliminary designs for the bridges and what they will look like on the actual iron girders.

The installation of "A Love Letter to Syracuse" began Tuesday Aug. 24. The first few days of the project consisted of Powers and his crew prepping the bridges for painting. Following their prep work, the murals will be painted onto the iron girders.

In addition, documentary filmmaker Faythe Levine will be in Syracuse beginning Aug. 27 to film Powers and his crew during the installation process for her new film about the American tradition of sign painting.

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