The Village of Arts and Humanities and The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program have joined forces to recreate The Village’s iconic Ile- Ife Guardian Mural, originally designed and created in 1986 by Village Founder Lily Yeh alongside neighborhood residents. The Guardian Mural adorns The Village’s main arts education building on Germantown Avenue, and serves as a focal point and back-drop to youth arts performances and community engagements in the adjacent Ile Ife Park “Center For Creation.” In 1986, the late Arthur Hall, renowned dancer, choreographer and civil rights activist, invited Lily Yeh to build an art park on the abandoned lot next to
his building which, at that time, housed Hall’s Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center. Yeh recruited the help of Jo Jo Williams, a neighborhood resident, mason worker and carpenter along with neighborhood children to design and paint the three-story high mural with a guardian bird beaming rainbow-colored light and life to plants, fish, and animals under its gigantic wings. The mural is a world-recognized icon that symbolizes the power of public art to inspire a community’s imagination of its better future.