If you’re in West Philly, beeline to 4545 Girard Avenue right now to check out the brand new Will Smith mural being sketched and painted by London street artist Richard Wilson. According to a rep from Mural Arts Philadelphia, which broke news about the mural this afternoon on Twitter, Wilson was inspired to do the work after seeing some of Will Smith’s feel-good, togetherness-inspiring posts on Instagram.
This isn’t a Mural Arts Philadelphia project, but the nonprofit has helped Wilson with essential organization and connected him with a nearby school, the Global Leadership Academy Charter School, where he will teach some art-making classes in conjunction with the mural’s creation.
We haven’t been able to track down Wilson for comment, but this Instagram post from last week offers a few more clues in his own words as to what he has planned.
Beautiful day in Philadelphia! Ready to start sketching up tomorrow, and yes there is a reason why that brick at top right has no paint ☺️ This wall belongs to a warehouse but I’m working in and this view is from a school, its an amazing place and i’m pretty sure all the kids just think the walls getting a coat of paint and thats it! I’m going to do a class with some of the kids and an Art teacher here which makes this really special #spraypaint #murales
The work is going up on the side of the Gevurtz Furniture building, which sits across the street from a large concrete playground that’s attached to another school, Rudolph Blankenburg Elementary School.
Wilson, who works primarily with spray paint, has created large-scale murals in the U.K. and U.S.—including one of DJ Kamala in the Bronx and American soul-jazz great Roy Ayers in his native London. One work, in Liverpool, pays tribute to other black musicians, such as A Tribe Called Quest, Nina Simone, Fela Kuti and Stevie Wonder.