Brilliant brush boosts street artist to job & home: Philadelphia

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 01:13:31 -0400


--============_-1300842877==_ma============
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

http://www.phillynews.com/daily_news/98/Nov/09/local/MALV09.htm
FWD  Philadelphia Daily News - November 9, 1998


BRILLIANT BRUSH BOOSTS ARTIST
by Joe Clark - Daily News Staff Writer


Every morning, Alvino Pearson, broke and homeless, would set up shop at the
top of the subway steps at Broad Street and Girard Avenue. And just about
every morning, people would pass the struggling young man without as much
as a nod.

Then one morning a couple of people on their way to work stopped to admire
Pearson's wares, a dozen or so paintings Pearson had painted over the
years. They were of places and things Pearson saw while fishing in
Fairmount Park.

The strangers who stopped that morning knew something about art. They
worked for the city's Mural Arts Program, the biggest program of its kind
in the country that transforms ugly scrawls into beautiful walls.

They asked Pearson if he'd like to be a volunteer, mixing paint, preparing
walls, maybe even do a little painting.

That was 12 years ago.

Today, Pearson works for the program, painting the town from one end to the
other ("I get to see a whole lot of the city"). He has a few bucks in his
pocket, lives in an apartment, conducts after school art workshops, even
has his own boat to go fishing.

Pearson is one of four full-time program employees. In addition to painting
and prepping walls, the 40-year-old bachelor erects and dismantles
scaffolding.

Pearson began painting as a hobby in junior high school. He remembers going
fishing with his father along the banks of the Schuylkill and Wissahickon.

"I'd always bring my sketch book," Pearson said. "I'd set my line down and
draw what was around me while waiting for the fish to bite."

Following graduation from Martin Luther King High School, Pearson held
several odd jobs: maintenance man, landscaper, swimming pool cleaner,
loading dock worker and janitor. This last job was part-time.

Unable to pay his rent, Pearson took up residence in a homeless shelter,
which is how he wound up hawking paintings of squirrels, turtles and
muskrats at Broad and Girard for $15 . . . and working for the Mural Arts
Program.

"Some days are better than others," said Pearson, noting how he often has
to clear trash-filled lots in front of some walls before he begins to
paint. "Sometimes you step in kitty litter. It has this smell. When you get
on the bus, you get funny looks from people."

END FORWARD
-
** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page
ARCHIVES  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN
TO JOIN  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <wgcp@earthlink.net>
--============_-1300842877==_ma============
Content-Type: text/enriched; charset="us-ascii"

http://www.phillynews.com/daily_news/98/Nov/09/local/MALV09.htm

FWD  Philadelphia Daily News - November 9, 1998 



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>BRILLIANT BRUSH BOOSTS ARTIST

by Joe Clark - Daily News Staff Writer 

</paraindent>


Every morning, Alvino Pearson, broke and homeless, would set up shop at
the top of the subway steps at Broad Street and Girard Avenue. And just
about every morning, people would pass the struggling young man without
as much as a nod.


Then one morning a couple of people on their way to work stopped to
admire Pearson's wares, a dozen or so paintings Pearson had painted
over the years. They were of places and things Pearson saw while
fishing in Fairmount Park.


The strangers who stopped that morning knew something about art. They
worked for the city's Mural Arts Program, the biggest program of its
kind in the country that transforms ugly scrawls into beautiful walls.


They asked Pearson if he'd like to be a volunteer, mixing paint,
preparing walls, maybe even do a little painting.


That was 12 years ago.


Today, Pearson works for the program, painting the town from one end to
the other ("I get to see a whole lot of the city"). He has a few bucks
in his pocket, lives in an apartment, conducts after school art
workshops, even has his own boat to go fishing.


Pearson is one of four full-time program employees. In addition to
painting and prepping walls, the 40-year-old bachelor erects and
dismantles scaffolding.


Pearson began painting as a hobby in junior high school. He remembers
going fishing with his father along the banks of the Schuylkill and
Wissahickon.


"I'd always bring my sketch book," Pearson said. "I'd set my line down
and draw what was around me while waiting for the fish to bite."


Following graduation from Martin Luther King High School, Pearson held
several odd jobs: maintenance man, landscaper, swimming pool cleaner,
loading dock worker and janitor. This last job was part-time.


Unable to pay his rent, Pearson took up residence in a homeless
shelter, which is how he wound up hawking paintings of squirrels,
turtles and muskrats at Broad and Girard for $15 . . . and working for
the Mural Arts Program.


"Some days are better than others," said Pearson, noting how he often
has to clear trash-filled lots in front of some walls before he begins
to paint. "Sometimes you step in kitty litter. It has this smell. When
you get on the bus, you get funny looks from people."


END FORWARD

-

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink.net>

--============_-1300842877==_ma============--