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Amid Government Shutdown, Mural Arts Forced to Move “70 x 7 The Meal” from Independence Mall to Thomas Paine Plaza

October 4, 2013 Category: ResultsUncategorized

The Mural Arts Program’s 70×7 The Meal, act XXXIV is an outdoor dining event bringing together 900 diners to the same communal table to discuss the importance of heirloom foods in preserving our cultural heritage and environmental diversity.

The event was originally slated to take place in one of Philadelphia’s most iconic public spaces, Independence Mall, but has since been relocated due to the federal government shutdown that began Tuesday.

Organizers did not know until Tuesday morning that the space would be unavailable and had to find another location within 48 hours, as supplies for the event were already beginning to arrive.

“We scouted probably a dozen locations,” said Cari Feiler Bender, spokesperson for the Mural Arts Program. “We had people looking all over the city to find a good second option.”

Given the size of the table, 904 feet long, and the anticipated number of diners, the location had to be large and accessible. So Mural Arts secured the courtyard of the Municipal Services Building, Thomas Paine Plaza, by working closely with the city’s Managing Director.

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 11.53.01 AM

Bender said that the location is actually a great alternative. “It’s accessible by public transportation. It’s in the heart of the city, and its got the wonderful backdrop of City Hall.”

The dinner will take place this Saturday. Internationally-renowned artists Lucy and Jorge Orta, who have held similar dinners around the world to spark conversation, will join Mayor Nutter and representatives of the local food community. About a quarter of the seats have gone to members of the public selected via a lottery system.

Attendees will get to keep their plates, designed by the Ortas, as a token of the event and as a way to keep the conversation about the importance of heirloom foods going.

For more information on the 70 x 7 The Meal, act XXXIV visit

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