Category Archives: Mural Progress

Family Interrupted Exhibit at the Philadelphia History Museum at Atwater Kent

Family Interrupted is coming to the Philadelphia History Museum at Atwater Kent! The Family Interrupted/Community Connected Exhibition will be held in the Community Voices Gallery in the Museum, which is located at 15 South 7th Street. The exhibit will run from July 11, 2012 – December 31, 2012. The exhibit features a massive 14′ wide print on the finished mural; a print so large, you can scan the mural’s many QR codes using a smartphone. You can hear audio and interact with the project’s website on the SPOT! Those without a smartphone can still get involved by leaving a message in two of our featured mailboxes, which will get posted to the site. Visit the museum to see these and other artifacts from the year and a half long initiative. This exhibit is also features a video showing the history of the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, and its Restorative Justice Program, of which Family Interrupted is its newest project. Come out for the opening reception August 9th 5:30pm Photo by Michael Reali Originally posted at

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We wrapped up installation on the 23rd of May. Just over a month and a half’s time. Its hard to believe its all over, but the project site lives on at There will be a couple major updates and additions to the site right off the bat, along with any major project news, and the announcement of the dedication set for early fall. We have a number of mailboxes still in place, and we are relying on the good graces of the host sites to keep them for as long as they are willing. The largest QR code on the mural leads you to the “Share your Story” part of the site. Im excited to see the contributions it yields. A colossal amount of thanks to my assistants Briana Dawkins, Salaam Smith, Diana Gonzalez, Katie Lillard, Tjai, Abdullah, Koran Morris, Anthony Peel, Latasha Billington, and the men of my mural class at SCI Graterford. Additionally, a huge thank you to all of the volunteers, and families, that reached out, sharing their stories, pictures, writing, and time. Many people opened their homes to me, brought their children to our peer groups, and welcomed additional interviews and meetings. Im forever humbled by their strength and willingness to be heard. Wall Credits Click the Thumbs for a better view. All photos by Michael Reali (originally posted on 6/1/12 @

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Stained Glass Timelapse

Shot over 2 months, my assistants and I assemble the stained glass windows for my “Family Interrupted” project. For more info visit ,, (originally posted on 5/1/12 @

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Installation Progress

Its been a busy spring. Ive been hard at work installing and finishing Family Interrupted, while working on a large private commission, and co-designing my summer project for Mural Arts titled “How We Fish” alongside Social Impact Studios . Its been difficult to keep up with my regular updates, so here is a slideshow of images ranging from the wrap-up in the studio, to the installation of the cloth panels. click to enlarge

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Stained Glass Progress

Here are some progress shots of the glass work that is going on in my studio, as well as a few shots of the mural in progress both in the studio and at workshops. (originally posted on 3/20/12 @

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Family Interrupted Project

For the past year, I have been working in conjunction with my mural class at Graterford Prison, various ex-offender organizations on the streets and families of the incarcerated throughout the city. The theme of our collaborations, and my subsequent mural explores the impact of incarceration on Philadelphia families. Family Interrupted is my growing multidisciplinary project, that contains the input, stories, and hard work of over 100 contributors as of this date. Mural Arts and I have partnered with the Pennsylvania Prison Society and their facilitator Anne Shwartzmann, running workshops with groups of people and organizations (such as M.I.M.I.C. based in North Philadelphia) across the city, as well as in the Prison Society, Graterford, and St Gabriel’s Hall. These participants are impacted by incarceration at various levels. For example, The Graterford Class and their families are looking at 20 plus years of separation, one man in my class will be behind bars for his 40th year this year. These men have seen the face of their entire family change in that time, and yet there are dedicated family members that frequently visit and write out of loyalty, and responsibility. In St Gabriel’s Hall, youth can qualify for weekend furloughs to see their families, and then go back to jail during the week. Since the mid 90’s only 5 men have ever received commutations on their life sentences, we have worked with 3 of these men for this project as well as men who have served their time and have been released. They have shared their experiences about the reintegration process within their communities and their own families; most memorably to an audience of the teens and young adults of Mural Arts’ Youth Violence Reduction Program. These forums were not the only way in which people can become involved in the project. The Guild program under Janice Smith has constructed 12 mailboxes, painted by myself and the Graterford program. These boxes are placed in various Prison visit waiting rooms, the Prison Society, Main branch of the Public Library, City Hall, The Gallery at Market East and in the neighborhood of the mural. Each box comes with a questionnaire that invites the participant to share their experiences in having a loved one or family member incarcerated. We are aiming to hear directly from the families while they are waiting for their visitation, a time when they may just want to vent, and be … Continue reading

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