Meet the Artist Behind Dense Block: A Q&A with Miriam Singer

On the Avenue of the Arts, there's a new piece of public art on the southwest corner of Broad and Chestnut. Created by local artist Miriam Singer and commissioned by the Center City District, Dense Block is a visual celebration of our organization’s new office in the heart of Center City.  

In this interview, learn more about Miriam, her approach to Dense Block, and other projects she is working on! 

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. 


Can you tell us a little about yourself?  

MS: Currently, I live in Philadelphia with my husband, son, and our cat Franklin, but I grew up in Buffalo, New York and attended Brandeis University and got my MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.  

My studio practice includes weekdays in my studio and artist collective building, Space 1026. In our building on North Broad Street (next door to The Met), we have screen printing facilities, a gallery, and I have a small etching press in my personal studio. I teach two classes a week to adults at Fleisher Art Memorial; one class is screen print on fabric and one class is Intaglio (etching and drypoint techniques). 

miriam singer

2023-2024 is the year of branching out and learning new techniques, and I’m getting off my phone and doing more in person connecting and learning. As a result, I am also taking adult classes at Fleisher as a student! This past fall, I took digital photography, and I am currently in my second session of ceramics. 

What is your approach to creating art?  

MS: I use a variety of media, including traditional printmaking, collage, markers, and acrylic paint to create small and large works on paper and panels. Most of the works are a response to a walk or daily travel through neighborhoods that I spend time in. I generally draw in a sketchbook or sometimes on a single sheet of paper while out in the field, and then bring the drawings into my studio where I add them to paper or panels. I draw or paint from sketches, memory, photographs, and by invention; these works are about physical materials, color, and line and a playful response to my daily experience in the built environment. 

What inspired Dense Block?  

MS: Aside from the prints hung in the windows, this design is a physical drawing inspired by the cityscape around CCD’s new offices.  

I took several walks around Broad and Chestnut streets as well as from my studio on Broad Street to Dilworth Park to create the piece, and since it was cold out, I even sat in La Colombe and drew while looking out the window at the park. I also have made several drawings and pieces about Center City, so I referenced some imagery from those works as well. 

img 2331 1

Can you talk about your process of creating this piece?  

MS: The team at Center City District shared images of work they were interested in, color palettes, and locations they wanted me to focus on, giving me a starting point. There was a lot of flexibility and trust from them in creating this drawing.  

I started this drawing in pencil (light sketches) and brought it to the large etching press at Fleisher Art Memorial where I printed using monotype techniques on a large piece of plexiglass. I printed color swatches all over the paper using Akua soy-based intaglio ink. When the ink dried, I worked into it with drawing media like water soluble pencils and markers. I also make my own markers using high fluid acrylic paint. When this piece was approved, I brought it to The Athenaeum of Philadelphia for a high-resolution scan. The scanned file is what was printed for this project! 

Aside from Dense Block, what other current projects do you have going on, and where can we see your work? 

MS: Right now, I have work on view in the show "A Shared Table.” A Shared Table highlights the work of Philly Dye Club, an informal monthly meet-up started in 2021, between local artists from a variety of disciplines with an interest in natural color. The show was curated by Samantha M. Connors and is currently on view at Da Vinci Art Alliance until April 21 and is also part of Everyday Futures Fest.    

I have a naturally dyed quilt included in the show, with a handbound process book. We have shared process work throughout the show including screen printed fabrics made collectively, jars of natural dye stuff, color samples, and more. My quilt is a patchwork quilt of screen printed naturally dyed fabrics called Yesterday Scraps. I used iron-based print paste and acrylic speedball fabric ink. The fabrics were naturally dyed using onion skins, marigold, madder root, hibiscus, goldenrod, and black bean dye. Most of the fabric was scraps from other projects.  

 I will also have printed merch and prints available at Space 1026’s table at Print Philly on April 20th at the University of The Arts.

singermiriam dense block

Dense Block by Miriam Singer

What would you do on your ideal day in Center City? 

MS: Honestly, just walking without a destination but enjoying the sights and sounds. I also love popping into galleries, shops, and bookstores without having to do errands. I also love being surprised by an unpredictable day of finding new things, like sitting in Rittenhouse Square or Sister Cities Park and having a picnic.  

During the summer, I love biking my 10-year-old son to the water park that is Center City: from Dilworth Park to Love Park, Sister Cities Park to the end at Logan Circle’s water fountain.

Learn More about Miriam 

If you’re walking by our future home, be sure to take a photo of Dense Block and tag @centercitydistrict and @miriam_singer on Instagram! 

To learn more about Miriam’s work, visit her website at