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"We are all Neurons" aims to educate & entertain riders' brains along the Market Frankford Line

Manuel McDonnell Smith
Public Information Manager

Whether it's catching up on a novel, or a quick textbook review for a test, there are many different ways that riders prefer to activate their Neurons (a.k.a "Brain Cells) while enjoying a trip on the Market Frankford Line (MFL). Some choose to stimulate them with conversation while others rock them out with tunes while aboard the train. But a new SEPTA partnership is challenging passengers to stimulate those cells even before they even board they board.

"We Are All Neuron's" is a brand-new moving mural on car #1156 sponsored by the City of Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program. It was designed completely by area school students with assistance from acclaimed public artist Ben Volta. The brightly-colored train wrap is meant to inspire thoughts about the Brain and how it works. "President Obama announced a new initiative to map the Human Brain" explained Mural Arts Director Jane Golden at the train's unveiling ceremony at 69th Street Transportation Center. "Then we began thinking about all we know, and still don't know about the Brain", said Volta about the inspiration for the project.

"Our special relationship with Mural Arts has allowed SEPTA riders all across our system to be entertained and inspired by Mural Arts projects installed throughout the city", boasted SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey as he discussed the Neuron's installation. While this brightly-colored mural is beautiful in its own right, Casey says there are plenty of Mural Arts displays to see across SEPTA's entire Philadelphia network. "Just this month, SEPTA allowed Mural Arts to install a beautiful two-sided mural on the Chestnut Hill West Line trestle over Mt. Pleasant Avenue, which serves as a gateway to the city's Mt. Airy section."

"SEPTA never says no", proclaimed Golden about her agency's partnerships with the Authority. In fact, SEPTA's biggest collaboration with Mural Arts "Love Letters" also involved the Market-Frankford Line and the residents of West Philadelphia. Seen by a majority of the nearly 200,000 passengers of the line who take a trip along the entire length of the western end of "the El", the installation has inspired real-life acts of love including proposals and even wedding plans. With such a great reaction to that project, Casey is even more enthusiastic about the potential for this rolling art installation, "What's especially cool is that 'We Are All Neurons' will be enjoyed not only by riders, but by neighbors and visitors on both ends of the elevated railway", he exclaimed.

So that the maximum amount of passengers will be able to see and enjoy the mural, it will be rotated across all of the schedules of the line. While you won't be able to necessarily schedule your Neuron -viewing experience, it will be sure to be a pleasant surprise when the rolling 55.5 foot mural comes rolling into your station.

The "We are all Neuron's" train awaiting passengers at 69th Street Transportation Center.

The general public & press photographers get snapshots of the brightly colored moving mural.

Mural Arts Program Director Jane Golden and Artist Ben Volta pose with students at the mural's unveiling event.

Market Frankford Car #1156 is serving as the rolling base for this special moving mural.