PRESS RELEASE: Temple University Office of International Affairs partners with Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) public art project on SDG #10 – Reduced Inequalities

As part of its overall commitment to anti-racism initiatives, Temple will install the mural, created by Temple alum, artist and muralist Mat Tomezsko, on its campus. Fulfilling a second aspect of the project, the university will also donate to its IDEAL (Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership) Office to help combat racism. 

PHILADELPHIA (June 7, 2021) – GPA has partnered with Temple University Office of International Affairs as part of its broad campaign to bring awareness to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a public art initiative.  Global Philadelphia will work with a Philadelphia non-profit sponsor for each of the 17 murals, each reflecting one of the SDG goals.  Temple chose to sponsor SDG#10 – Racial Inequalities.

"Temple’s collaboration with Global Philadelphia Association on this important expression of social justice has been welcoming and energizing, in stark contrast to so much of the injustice and suffering we have witnessed all around us for the past almost year-and-a-half.  Participating in this project allows us not only to highlight Philadelphia's place among world heritage cities and Temple's place in Philadelphia, but also to explore both how far Temple has come in its mission to provide access to excellence for all who seek on an education and, also, to envision how much further we can go," said Assistant Vice President of International Affairs Martyn Miller.  

To identify the artist for its mural, Temple University held a competition for students and alumni. The winner, artist Mat Tomezsko, a Temple Tyler School of Art alum, will paint the mural, which will be located on campus at Gladfelter Hall.  For the mural, Tomezsko will bring together the images of 10 Philadelphia high school students taking his University Community Collaborative course, Revolutionary Philadelphia. The University Community Collaborative offers a series of afterschool and summer programs, aimed at fostering confidence and self-esteem and keeping older high school youths engaged.  

“By giving voice to the work of Philadelphia public school students, the vision of the winning artist will add a whole other level of meaning to Temple’s mural,” said Miller 

For each SDG mural that will be created Global Philadelphia considers five partnership components: the sponsor, the host site, the artist, the giving of a project grant to an NGO, and an accompanying academic project.  Temple University chose IDEAL as the recipient of its project grant

“The conversation engendered by the sustainable development goal project is key to highlighting our globally engaged city and the many important partners involved in meaningful projects to improve Philadelphia for and with its citizenry,” said Zabeth Teelucksingh, Executive Director, Global Philadelphia Association.

About Mat Tomezsko

Philadelphia artist Mat Tomezsko creates public art installations and community art projects. His work was recognized by the 2017 Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review. His high-profile public art projects include: 14 Movements: A Symphony in Color and Words, a mile-long temporary mural installed in downtown Philadelphia during the 2016 Democratic National Convention; Look Long and Look Good, a series of 30 paintings currently installed along Main Street in Manayunk; and Flowering Axes, a mural in the 5th Street Vehicular Tunnel underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge. Read More

About Temple University and Its Office of International Affairs 

Temple University is a center of excellence in teaching and research, with an international presence and a commitment to community. 

Our talented faculty lead more than 500 academic programs across 17 schools and colleges, and on campuses and partnerships that span the globe, from Rome to Japan. While retaining our attention to the great city of Philadelphia that is our home, Temple draws students from the region, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the United States and around the world. 

Today, more than 38,000 dynamic and diverse students call Temple their educational home. Temple is among the nation’s largest educators in the combined fields of dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy, and podiatry. The university’s extraordinary faculty offer world-class teaching and experiences, while our researchers are engaged in solving the most difficult issues that we face today, from eliminating HIV/AIDS to helping communities deal with the impact of climate change. 

More than 130 years after its creation, Temple continues to carry forward the vision of founder, Russell Conwell, who made his university the embodiment of its motto, “Perseverance Conquers.”

The Office of International Affairs leads Temple's international initiatives, promoting globalization as one of Temple's core values. The office brings together various constituencies and units, working to integrate a global perspective throughout Temple's academic and co-curricular programs.

About Global Philadelphia Association and Summary of SDG Project 

The Global Philadelphia Association consists of more than 200 internationally involved organizations, businesses, and individuals in Greater Philadelphia. It was created to assist – and to encourage greater interaction among – the many organizations and people who are engaged in international activity in the Greater Philadelphia Region, to promote the development of an international consciousness within the area, and to enhance Philadelphia’s global profile. For more information, visit website:

In 2019, GPA completed its first mural, SDG#5 – Gender Equality with the sponsorship of Glenmede Trust. Well- known artist Barbara Smolen and her assistants, Brianna Hornberger and Ellis Rosenberg created the mural, which was installed on the 17th Street side of Friends Select School. The Gender Justice Fund, a Philadelphia-based organization devoted to empowering women and girls, received the non-profit donation.

GPA has secured support for four additional SDG murals: 

#1 No Poverty - This project is being sponsored John and Susan Smith.  John Smith, a former partner at Reed Smith LLP, and former GPA Board Chair, currently serves as GPA Board Emeritus. A Philadelphia artist, Gabe Tiberino, has been commissioned to create the work of art reflecting the No Poverty Goal.  When completed, the work will be sited in West Philadelphia.  The non-profit recipient has not been selected. 

#4 Quality Education - This project is sponsored by St. Joseph's University. Two murals will be painted – on the SJU campus and Samuel Gompers School walls. Artist Isabella Akhtarshenas has been commissioned.  The non-profit donation will go to Samuel Gompers School. 

#10 Reduced Inequalities - Temple University Office of International Affairs is the sponsor of this project.  Artist Mat Tomezsko has been selected. The artwork will be installed on the wall at Gladfelter Hall.  Temple IDEAL (Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership) will receive the project’s nonprofit donation.  

#11 Sustainable Cities and Communities  – TD Bank Foundation is the sponsor of this project. Artist and site selection are in discussion.  

#16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions – The Harry and Katherine Halloran Family Foundation is the sponsor for this project.  Harry Halloran is a well-known business executive and philanthropist. The Hallorans have specified Project Home for the non-profit donation. 


Media Contacts: 

Global Philadelphia Association
Graziella DiNuzzo
[email protected]