Renowned Philadelphia Muralist to be at Newtown Quaker Meeting

Keir Johnston, Newtown Friends Meeting member and award-winning Philadelphia artist and muralist will speak on A Practice of Action: Supporting Communities with Creative Expressions at historic Newtown Friends Meetinghouse, Sunday, March 27, at 9:45 a.m.

Keir Johnston, former artist-in-residence for The Philadelphia Museum of Art and co-founder of Amber Art and Design based in Philadelphia, has been involved for nearly 20 years in creative social practice and collaboration in the arts in Philadelphia.

Keir will be accompanied by Sean Connolly, Director of the Historic Arch Street Meetinghouse Trust, who will speak about the collaborative creation of a new piece of public art by Keir Johnston that will be installed on the Arch St Meetinghouse grounds this spring or summer.

Keir Johnston is a community practice public art creator who has dedicated his career to elevating social issues that impact communities of Color through public art. He painted his first mural as a teenager while a student at California State University at Northridge, an experience that fostered an appreciation for the collaborative creative process as well as public art’s ability to affect viewers from all walks of life.

Johnston has helped guide diverse populations –including incarcerated youth, prisoners serving life sentences, elderly groups, elementary and high school students, and those with disabilities – in mural production, and has worked with Mural Arts Philadelphia to create Colorful Legacy, Remembering a Forgotten Hero, and The Color of Your Voice. 

A founding member of Amber Art & Design, Johnston has served as the artist-in-residence for The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The National Museum of American Jewish History, Mural Arts Philadelphia, The Village of Arts and Humanities, and University of Chicago’s Place Lab, Living Arts of Tulsa and others. 

In 2019, Johnston took part in a 114-mile walk across Puerto Rico.  The “learning journey,” titled Sin Cita, offered members of Amber Art Camp; Design an opportunity to gather feedback and refine the collective’s approaches to driving positive change through art.

Johnston is a lifelong member of Newtown Friends Meeting.  His grandparents, Ella and George Otto, are buried on the Meetinghouse grounds and his brother Haile Johnston and wife Tatiana Granados were married in the Meetinghouse in 2007.  Keir received his B.A. degree from California State University.

Newtown Friends Meeting co-founded by “Peaceable Kingdom” painter and Quaker minister, Edward Hicks, in 1815, is open to all who wish to attend.  Regular First Day Education classes (Sunday School) for all ages begin at 9:45 a.m. and Meeting for Worship (in person or on zoom) begins at 11 a.m. 

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