At NET’s administrative headquarters at 5th and Spring Garden Streets in Philadelphia spans a nearly block-long mural with the George Bernard Shaw quote: “Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to this country and to mankind is to bring up a family.”
The mural, titled “The Value of Family,” captures the essence of NET’s services which seek to strengthen and stabilize families. Portrayed in the mural is the late Pat Henry, a much-beloved NET employee, who, along with her fiancé and teenage daughter, tragically lost their lives many years ago. Also memorialized on the wall for her support and involvement with NET is Dolores De Francesco, the late wife of former NET President and CEO Terence McSherry.
The mural was created in partnership with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and Philadelphia artist Eric Okdeh was selected to lead the team. For Okdeh, the appeal of mural making lies in the collaborative process, making him the perfect choice for NET’s project, which was designed to provide participants with a sense of inclusion and accomplishment. Many NET clients, including some youth from the In-Home Detention Program, did the actual painting on parachute cloth.
The NET mural is one of the highlights of the Mural Arts Center City Trolley Tour, according to Jane Golden, founding director. Philadelphia’s more than 3,000 murals “make our city unique,” Golden said. “Murals exist at the meeting point of our political, social and aesthetic worlds. They transform buildings and encourage those who create them and those who view them.”