Martha Rich is our kind of rabble rouser, channeling her acerbic wit and aesthetic talent into happy-making art and do-gooder deeds. And she’s one productive sparkplug! Rich has kept the art coming from her quarantine hub. The projects she’s poured herself into are absolute eye candy, but they’re also reminders of art’s crucial role in public communication. For instance, a hot pink social distancing “Space Pad” she designed for Mural Arts Philadelphia (the nation’s largest public art program) reads “Spread Hope Not Germs” in funky green lettering, pictured above. It’s just one of the 1,672 Space Pads floor tiles Mural Arts has provided for grocery stores, pharmacies, food pantries, mini marts, and more, all designed by local Philadelphia artists. The eye-popping tiles are set at six foot intervals — an artful, upbeat way to remind folks to keep a safe distance from others.
Another morale-boosting Mural Arts project Rich participated in: the Storefront Artwork Initiative, in collaboration with Philly’s Center City District. After COVID-related temporary closures, plywood boards popped up across Center City storefront windows. A bunch of them are now doing double duty as mini public art installations, displaying 28 temporary artworks from 12 different artists from the area, including Rich’s quirky, colorful creations.
Apart from her characteristic quirk, Rich is also a connoisseur of sass, and her exquisite sense of humor persists even in a pandemic. Case-in-point: the flag she concocted for Portland, Maine’s Space 538, which says “I want to scream” on one side and “Always vote” on the other.
In the vein of voting, she also designed a free, downloadable poster for #VoteByMailPHL to help publicize critical election info and encourage mail-in ballots as a safe alternative to in-person voting in advance of PA’s June 2nd election. We vote in NYC, but you know we downloaded her design anyway — if you ask us, the striped, botanical beaut she dreamed up for her poster is pretty enough to frame. And speaking of all things electoral, Rich is the official artist for the Philadelphia Democratic Ward 2, and the elected (!) Democratic Committee Member for Ward 2, Division 10. On top of her committee duties, she makes posters and cards for every election. Martha Rich making sh*t happen!