Real-estate developer Max Glass, who believes Bernie Sanders’ message is what the country needs, is decorating one of his properties in the candidate’s likeness.
As the sun began to set on the City, the scene at 22nd & Catherine Streets in South Philadelphia looked as it did when clocks were just passing noon: artists’ hands were busy crafting a masterpiece while passer-byers gawk at the work and cans of various paint sit on the steps of an unassuming building currently available for leasing. What’s being created is a tribute of sorts to one of the most memorable presidential candidates in modern history: Mr. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Senator who yesterday won the Michigan primary by roughly one percentage point.
Mr. Sanders, a 74-year-old with untamed hair that has been the butt of jokes, is, like Mr. Donald Trump, the candidate no one saw coming. And his cult following of largely millennials is equally as surprising to onlookers. The former civil rights activist connects with the somewhat hard to reach demographic due to his focus on tuition-free public college and income inequality. For a generation who cares deeply about solving social problems and positively impacting society, Mr. Sanders, a protester of sorts, is their candidate. If the Occupy Movement were a person, it would be Mr. Sanders.
“His message is what we need right now; and he is what we need right now as a country,” Mr. Max Glass, the owner of the building that’s hosting the Bernie mural, said this afternoon in an exclusive interview with Techbook Online.
Mr. Glass, a 28 year-old real-estate developer and life-long Philadelphian, is a “big Bernie supporter” and sees the presidential candidate as a “man of the people who is speaking for all of us.” When asked to respond to the criticism that Mr. Sanders doesn’t appear to have a broad enough message, Mr. Glass told me “I can’t think of a message broader than uplifting poor and working class people. I think the messaging for so long has been about the elites and the establishment. I can’t think of a broader message than Bernie’s message.”
A door knocker for the Nutter campaign years ago, Mr. Glass had never heard of Bernie Sanders until his presidential bid. Mr. Larry Lessig, a Harvard professor who was running for president to reform campaign finance laws, was Mr. Glass’ candidate of choice. When Mr. Lessig suspended his campaign, Mr. Glass gravitated towards Mr. Sanders.
“Bernie’s carrying that same flag,” Mr. Glass remarked, referring to the notion that big money in politics kills democracy.
I spent a few hours today with Mr. Glass, who when I came upon him was pausing a YouTube video of a Sanders v Clinton debate. We had espressos, talked about the presidential campaign and remarked often at the many people who stopped in their tracks to view the mural in progress. Mr. Glass was visibly joyous about the interaction with citizens and the mural. The desired outcome of art, after all, is for it to be engaged.
Around 5pm, I saw a different type of engagement. Folks were still walking by and snapping pictures, but now cars were driving by and beeping their horns in support of the artists who were elevated off the street by rented machinery. The creatives who are bringing to life the mural are a result of a fusion of networks and elated is Mr. Glass by the cognitive surplus dedicated to the Bernie mural.
“I love to work with amazingly talented people,” he said.
Mr. Glass, who launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project, was inspired to decorate his wall by a mural in South Philadelphia that also pays homage to the self-described Democratic socialist. The opportunity to “activate a vacant building” hopefully leads to the creation of local content and increased public awareness of Mr. Sanders.
This Friday is when Mr. Glass, a young man somewhat camera-shy but full of personality, hopes the mural is completed. To celebrate its existence, Mr. Glass is planning a sidewalk soiree that’ll take place at sundown Friday. The Bernie mural will last for as long as the building or the lands it’s on remains vacant. Long-lasting, however, will be the impact of Mr. Sanders on the voters across the country.
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