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Mural Arts program turns 200 columns in SEPTA concourse into socially distant canvases

For years, SEPTA’s South Broad Street Concourse was where Thomas Barrios, 47, slept. Now, it’s his workplace.

Involved in Mural Arts Philadelphia’s “Color Me Back” project, a program paying participants to turn about 200 columns in the concourse into bold, colorful displays, Barrios said that he enjoys showing his family the photos of art he’s helping to create in Center City’s underbelly.

The latest project, announced Tuesday by Mural Arts Philadelphia and Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, aims to give those “experiencing economic insecurity an opportunity to earn wages,” according to Mural Arts.

“I feel extremely good knowing that I can beautify some place that I used to live at,” said Barrios, who now lives in transitional housing in West Philadelphia. “It gives me motivation to come down here every morning, to come down here, feel like I’m doing something positive.”

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Mural Arts program turns 200 columns in SEPTA concourse into socially distant canvases