A few months ago, we reported on a much-needed mural coming to the side of a vacant building in Queen Village. That art project got underway last week, and the butterfly-themed painting will have lots of little eyes on it if/when a planned daycare opens next door.

The former Verte Couture Fabrics and Leather at 770 S. Fourth St., at Fulton Street, has been under construction on and off for several months, with permits pulled for electrical, plumbing, HVAC work and general interior and exterior improvements in the windows.

Months ago

In the meantime, Conrad Booker, the local artist whose work already decorates a few locations in Queen Village and Headhouse Square, began priming his canvas and painting a white frame on the north wall of the building where the daycare center will eventually live. The Queen Village Neighborhood Association in March called for donations to support Booker’s work to beautify the blank space; he started on September 10 underneath crystal blue skies, hitting the wall with a 12-foot paint brush.

Booker in action

Mockup of the mural

His piece, “Harmony and the Windows of Curiosities,” will pay homage to the history of the neighborhood. Fulton Street was once Harmony Street, in the mid-19th century. Booker was inspired by his inspection of Philadelphia maps and discovery that the nearby Weccacoe Playground was once an African-American church and burial ground. “I’ve always loved maps, and I’ve always loved butterflies as well,” said Booker, who consulted a Philadelphia atlas drafted in 1862 by surveyor Samuel L. Smedley. “We’re going to have the neighborhood children do their handprints in paint at the end of the wall.”

Old map of the neighborhood. Bohemia Place sounds pretty good, too

Between the new daycare center, the prospect of a vastly improved Weccacoe Playground, the prized Meredith School catchment, and a vibrant community art project, Queen Village should continue attracting parents looking for a family-friendly neighborhood just minutes from Center City. We’ll be sure to check back in once the mural is complete.

–Ashanti Martin