Countless brushstrokes – the work of many hands - combined to create Philadelphia’s newest public mural, a splash of color that celebrates the promise of biotech.
Designed by artist Eric Okdeh of Mural Arts Philadelphia, the city’s school children helped shape the mural by drawing antibodies and stem cells and then pitched in to paint the mural itself.
The world’s fifth largest biotechnology company, CSL Behring, which develops treatments for people with rare and serious diseases, served as lead sponsor of the project and its employees helped paint the 8,000-square foot mural at 1108 Sansom Street. The company has its operational headquarters nearby in King of Prussia. The soaring work of art pays homage to Philadelphia’s scientific achievements and presses on toward a tomorrow powered by scientists, doctors, nurses and patients – especially those awaiting breakthroughs.
“The truth is science can inspire art and art inspires questions and questions lead to learning about things we did not know or consider,” said Jane Golden, founder and executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia.
A June 2 celebration of the new mural drew city officials, members of the artistic community, health care leaders and representatives of global biotech, including James Greenwood, President and CEO of Biotechnology Innovation Organization, also known as BIO. This week, BIO 2019, an international conference, kicks off in Philadelphia.
Greenwood pointed to the diversity represented in the mural and said he hoped more young people would consider the profession. At the top left of the mural, a young woman reads a science text book.
“It’s a noble, noble thing to do,” Greenwood said. “We need everyone involved.”
The “breath-taking life science mural” is a tribute to both science and patients, said Dennis Jackman, CSL Behring’s Senior Vice President of Global Healthcare Policy and External Affairs.
“What we do is all about the patients,” Jackman said.