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For Its 30th Anniversary, Mural Arts Program to Host a World-Traveling Meal Event

(A previous "70x7" meal event, in Belgium.  Photo provided)

(A previous “70×7″ meal event, in Belgium. Photo provided)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Mural Arts Program has announced a new project that takes art “beyond the wall.”

It will celebrate food and history in a way that’ll make your mouth water.

Titled, “What we Sow,” the new project will create a half-mile long communal table at which hundreds will be able to sit and break bread together — right in the middle of Independence National Historic Park.

(The "70x7" events use plates designed for each installation by Lucy and Jorge Orta.  Photo provided)

(The “70×7″ events use plates designed for each installation by Lucy and Jorge Orta. Photo provided)

Artists Lucy and Jorge Orta are the lead artists for 70×7 The Meal, act XXIV.   The couple will create a table runner and special plates to decorate the community table, but others can participate.

“There will be food baskets distributed in the community,” says Orta, “and simultaneously restaurants will be hosting meals with segments of the runner.”

The Mural Arts Program will also collaborate with local food partnering organizations, such as SHARE Food Program, to provide the community with opportunities for food tastings and more.

“The theme of this meal is the importance of heirloom produce and cultural diversity and biodiversity,” says Orta.  She and her husband have created 34 community meal programs throughout the world.   “What We Sow” will be the first one in the US.

“Ninety percent of the heirloom fruit and vegetables have vanished in the US in the last century,” says Orta.  “So this is not a traditional mural project — we have brought the art from the wall to the table.”

Mural Arts executive director Jane Golden says the table will stretch from Chestnut Street to Arch Street, along Independence Mall.    She says the goal is to start a communitywide conversation.

“The meal is intended to bring together a diverse cross-section of Philadelphians to discuss heirloom food and food culture, and share in the communal act of dining,” says Golden. “We are going to be using heirloom ingredients and we will be reaching out to restaurants, organizations that feed the hungry, and individual families to bring this meal to their table.”

Golden says consulting chef Marc Vetri will work to help create the meal.   She says there will be a series of events scheduled throughout the summer, with the effort culminating in the communal meal on October 5th at 4pm to kick off Mural Arts Month and to celebrate the organization’s 30th anniversary.

One third of the 900 tickets will be distributed via lottery.  For more information, go to muralarts.org.

 

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