Grit & Beauty – Past Winners


2020 Winners

1640_after_emulsion – Devin Fitchwell

1640_after_emulsion Devin Fitchwell

When I think of grit I think of something with substance. I think of something with conceptual depth and texture. 1640_after_emulsion comes from a series of experimental photographs that I created to shift and challenge the typical viewing convention of imagery. This image in particular begins to capture the layers of Beauty and Grit in the layout of Philly by taking a scene of my mundane back alley in South Philly, and bringing it into this totally new and colorful way of looking created revealed by this experimental chemical process.


Graffiti Tunnel – Erin McDonald

 Graffiti Tunnel - Erin McDonald

People can have various reasons for creating graffiti. I think the one that stands out the most is the desire to create something beautiful for others to see. While this form of art may be frowned upon in many cases, I believe it can be something beautiful when looked at in the right light. These hollow cylinders near Graffiti Pier showcase the beauty of this art.


On the Broad Street Line – Alicia Rinier

On the Broad Street Line – Alicia Rinier

On the BSL, captures the grit and beauty of Philadelphia's subway system by depicting the bright colors and lights you see while passing underground. While riding the subway, you are in an almost pitch black tunnel lit only by the occasional work light. Through this painting, I wanted to showcase the interaction of the passing outside lights and the brightly lit interior of the subway car.


2019 Winners

City Seating – Lucienne Nowak

Lucienne Nowak

Decaying Sunset – Monica Pagán

Monica Pagán

2018 Winners

“O’ Mixed Grit and Beauty” – Kevin Crawson

O’ mixed grit and beauty, Philadelphia!
Home of hoagies, bastion o’ birds,
The shimmering beacon of Independence and
A long-standing tradition of electing Democratic Officials,
And stopping to take a selfie with Philly Jesus.
Quaker, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Freemason…
It don’t matter; the official cloth of Philadelphia
Is a Carson Wentz jersey.
(Or perhaps a Nick Foles sells more these days?)
It’s a beautiful thing, public transportation –
Submerged underground,
Smelling of piss,
Ceremonially late –
That is SEPTA: A splendid thing,
When the union is not on strike!
O’ mixed grit and beauty, is Philadelphia!
If you are driving like you’re from New Jersey,
Or mouthing off an inedible truth,
Criticizing our sports-teams,
Then a Philadelphian has a million ways to offend you…
It’s a mean, stubborn spirit that is in these People.
Wawa be a beautiful thing;
Run By The People, Cheesesteaks For The People.
When it’s Sunny In Philadelphia, children are encouraged to
Run around, play, MOVE (1985), get active!
Oft does the sun smile upon Our City,
Not upon a hill is it built, but on a slant into the ocean,
Pouring out what our hearts hold, polluting the Schuylkill…
So that as we may be most honest, most brave and most true,
We may also be one of the most toxic cities under the Red, White, and Blue.
O’ mixed grit and beauty, is Philadelphia!


Grind – Maya Minhas

Maya Minhas

2017 Winners

A New Perspective of Greens – Keary McKennon

I come from a little town with farms all around me
I hear no sounds at night except for the Amish Buggy rolling pass me
Now, I hear car horns and sirens all around me
I see less green but find it spiraling upward around me
Playing Eye Spy with the green
Because they are hidden in places that I have never seen

Keary McKennon

2016 Winners

@SavePhilly – Nick Canonica

Nick Canonica

Snapshots From My Travels – Meredith Getzfread

Meredith Getzfread