Earlier this year, before the world slipped into a global pandemic, the neighborhood of West Philadelphia was brought together in celebration of a poignant mural painted by artist Faith XLVII on the University Square Complex building. The mural, named ‘Silent Watcher’ scales 19 stories high, across 11,000 square feet. The building that recently underwent a massive renovation by major real estate developer Orbach Affordable Housing Solutions was updated for the first time in 40 years. Containing 442 units in the building, University Square Complex was transformed into optimal living conditions to serve the needs of elderly families and senior citizens.
“We are committed to ensuring high-quality housing for all income levels and we pledge to continue preserving the affordability of these units for generations to come,” said OAHS Chairman, Meyer Orbach.
As Orbach and the reputable OAHS group have become strong advocates not just for community in each respective city they have made an impact in, but also for diversity, the ‘Silent Watcher’ speaks to history and wide demographic of the City of Brotherly Love. Orbach, who is also a partner in the Minnesota Timberwolves Organization has prioritized his work to facilitate community and unity in neighborhoods of all races and demographics through his affordable housing properties.
With nearly 4000 affordable units across the U.S., Meyer and OAHS continue to make major strides with additional developments in the works, including five new properties they acquired earlier this year—three in New York and two in Pennsylvania. By the end of 2020, OAHS will have acquired over 5000 families with affordable housing that is both accessible and comfortable.
The mural on the University Square Complex reflects the face of a beautiful woman of racial ambiguity, as she looks down at the neighborhood below, speaking to the diversity and demographic of the city. Beneath the woman, Faith XLVII consciously placed a quote by Philadelphia native, Noam Chomsky who was known as a philosopher and historian.
“Optimism is a strategy for a making a better future.”
And just above the Chomsky quote is an excerpt from the seal of Philadelphia that reads, “Philadelphia Maneto,” meaning “Let Brotherly Love Endure.”
In such a time of tension and turmoil, the mural demonstrates and encourages peace and unity in the city. Now more than ever, with such great relevance and applicability, the message of ‘Silent Watcher’ resonates with communities across the entire country among various ethnic groups.
To see the vast mural in person, it can be viewed in West Philadelphia at 3901 Market Street.