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Read "Brighter Day"

To kick off the Mantua Community Family Tile Project, residents collaborated on a poem about their neighborhood. Organizer Rebecca Rose says their intention was to honor the community’s past, present and future. Here’s what they came up with:

“Brighter Day”

Let us welcome new beginnings of friendships filled with happiness, respect, trust, and hope

Let us create loving bonds, accepting each other’s differences so that together we all can cope.

Let us enjoy life with an open heart as we open our minds to the reality of change and rebirth

Let us cultivate flowers, trees, plant, and seeds, so the spirit of love could sprout up from the Earth

As neighbors, we can be there for each other and value each other, as close-knit family and friends

Let us let go of the pass and press on toward that which is yet to come, as each old scar mends

Let us celebrate new neighbors as we cherish old ones, as we make sure their legacies never pass away.

We all desire to simply fit in and be greeted with a familiar face and a friendly grin everyday

Though you may have had to start all over again in a new environment and in a new place.

Every time you turn around, there’s a new construction – a new building and a new face

Yet at the end of the day, you just want to be comfortable in a safe space…and a place to call home

With the luxury of escaping to the peacefulness inside your mind, where we can sometimes be alone

The human spirit pushes us to be something bigger than ourselves, urging us to be all we can be,

To exist with integrity and humility amongst humanity peacefully and in harmony

Side by side as neighbors, we shall remain as one, while being a vital part of the global community,

We are beautiful like a rainbow for we represent various races, cultures, and religions living in unity.

Let us be brave and create path that leads us beyond the horizon as we embark upon a brand new way

For if we expand our imaginations, together, we can start a journey that could lead us to a brighter day


The Citizen Recommends: Mantua Community Family Tile Project Dedication

The Citizen Recommends: Mantua Community Family Tile Project Dedication

A community bands together to inspire revitalization efforts in a neighborhood park

Rebecca Rose remembers when Brandywine Pocket Park, at 34th and Brandywine streets, was a center of community life in Mantua. That was before the park, built in 1977, started its slow decline, with walls cracked and falling apart and areas that once hosted community events turned shabby.

Mantua Community Family Tile Project
Photo: Rebecca Rose

Parks in Center City, Rose notes, don’t fall into disrepair in this way. “They are full of major artworks and beautiful things,” she says. “We want our community to look as established as downtown.”

In that vein, Rose, founder of RoseBridge Community Arts and chair of the Mantua Beautification Planning Committee, orchestrated a community-based art project where she engaged locals to write a poem about the neighborhood and paint tiles that represent the people who live there.

Around 150 residents got involved, grabbing a brush and painting a ceramic tile for the project that Rose likens to those Paleolithic paintings that were discovered in France’s Chauvet Cave. “Mankind has always documented or made his mark in the world,” Rose says “This is an opportunity for our community to do the same thing … to identify themselves so they can say, ‘My life in this community is important, too.’ Community members rarely have an opportunity to do that.”

The ceramic tiles are emblazoned with symbols that characterize each person painting them. Some folks added their family’s names, the year they came to Mantua or the street live on. The tiles were then put through a preservation process and attached to a rod iron fence that spans 60 feet on each side of the park’s entrance gate. The first of the panels, she says, is the community poem, titled “Brighter Day:”

The wall will be dedicated on Saturday afternoon during a ceremony that will feature food, music and comments from Rose and other organizers of the project. They hope it will encourage funders to back their efforts to rehab the park so that they can not only have a thriving green space in the neighborhood but be able to host an array of community programming, like summer movie nights, kid talent shows and more creative arts projects.

“We are saying this ceremony is to initiate the revitalization of Brandywine Park,” Rose says. The Mantua Community Family Tile Project Dedication ceremony takes place Saturday, March 19 from 4 to 5 p.m.

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