Murals in Philly

If you visit Philadelphia, you’re likely to come across at least one vibrant mural in the streets.  
Every wall in Philadelphia is a blank canvas, and magnificent murals decorate the city’s buildings. As of today, there are more than 3,600 murals painted by talented Philly people of Mural Arts Philadelphia. 
 
Philadelphia is home to more murals than any other city in the world. Schoolyards, community centers, businesses, and residences from Center City and the Avenue of the Arts to outlying districts that most tourists, and even some locals, are unfamiliar with are adorned with vibrant, huge wall works of art. It is a way for Philly artists to communicate their advocacies and feelings to the community. With that, It’s no surprise that Philadelphia was hailed as one of the best cities for street art!  

What’s Mural Art in Philadelphia?

Since 1984 of working with artists and communities, Mural Arts has created art that improves public spaces and individuals’ lives through a collaborative method founded in the traditions of mural-making. Let’s take a quick time travel to history! It was founded in 1984 as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network as a way to combat graffiti. Jane Golden, a graffiti artist, was engaged to reach out to street artists and encourage them to participate in public art projects instead. PAGN’s first mural, Life in the City, was painted on a 636-foot span of the Spring Garden Street Bridge in 1985. It marks the beginning of the organization’s history. A crew of around 100 young people and Jade Golden worked around the clock for four weeks to complete murals on both sides of this highway-and-pedestrian bridge that connects West Philadelphia and Center City. If you’re into arts, you probably heard about the term “parachute cloth method”. It is not painted on a wall, but rather on fabric that is combined into larger panels and then permanently bonded to a building wall. Dr. J (Julius Erving) mural at 1219 Ridge Avenue is the first mural constructed utilizing the parachute cloth technique. The artistic hand behind the painting is the well-known portrait muralist, Kent Twitchell. With this mural, the artist hopes to combine outstanding artwork with a subject that is important to the surrounding community. 

The Mural Arts Philadelphia organization creates hundreds of colorful murals throughout the city to highlight the work of professional artists as an anti-graffiti campaign. More than 100 public art projects are undertaken by Mural Arts each year. All previous mural collections are also maintained through restoration initiatives. Project-based learning experiences are provided to thousands of adolescents and adults through their three main program areas. Art Education, Restorative Justice, and Porch Light are the inclusion of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program. 

Their mission is for this participatory public art platform to encourage change in people and places to create a wider array of possibilities in promoting social justice and equity in Philadelphia. 

What are the touring options for mural watch?

Are you ready to take a tour and discover why Philadelphia is called the “Mural Capital of the World”? To be astonished by Philly’s murals, visitors can go on guided and self-directed tours, either by foot, trolley, train, or Segway.  

A tour with a knowledgeable guide is the greatest way to fully appreciate the museum’s treasures. Philadelphia’s largest art program offers trolley tours of various regions of the city on Saturdays and Sundays in May and September-November, as well as weekends from June to August. Tourists need to pay 30$ for adults, $28 for senior citizens, and $20 for children under 12 years old. Typically, they begin at 10 a.m. and last 1.5 to 2 hours. The Mural Mile Walk cost $20 per person. It takes place every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. from September to August. Mural Mile Walk encompasses two miles and 15 murals in Center City.  If the guided tour is sold out, you can borrow an MP3 player and headphones for $10 to take a self-guided tour of the grounds instead. No matter what the weather, all trips leave from Mural Arts at the Gallery, which is located at 901 Market Street. Here’s a tip for you! Make sure to book a reservation in advance. 

Nothing beats the breeze of fresh air while biking around the city and taking cute pictures of the magnificent murals. Need a bike? Good news because occasionally bike tours are offered which cost $25-per-person. Add to your mural tour list the newest Love Letter option. Get your eyes on the  50 rooftop murals painted by renowned graffiti artist Stephen Powers and his team. Participants view the artworks from the elevated train and many platforms on the SEPTA system. From April to December, the tour departs at 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays and at 1 p.m. on Sundays.

List of Famous Murals in the City

THE PHILLIES MURAL

Phillies-Mural-Final_SWeinik-768x1152

This painting showcases the most prominent sport in Philadelphia which is baseball. The first organized baseball club is in Philadelphia. It was crafted by David McShane. It commemorates the city’s hometown baseball team, the Phillies.  You can find this across the river from the Amtrak 30th Street Station, 24th, and Walnut streets.  

WE DID THAT

A powerful mural that fosters community care. It was painted by Symone Salib and Letisha Bindu Golafaie. This mural was made to honor the tenacious organizers of Philadelphia who work tirelessly to make their city a better place. It represents Rasheed Ajamu (Phreedom Jawn), Letisha Golafaie, Samantha Rise Roberson, Nikki Grant, and Nelini Stamp. Through this art, it shows that they are taking a stand for their city. The message of this painting is about bringing people together, raising money for mutual aid initiatives, fostering optimism, and, above all, fostering a sense of community. Spot this on 13th and Arch Street.

SANCTUARY

As part of the  Community Wellness Project, Artist Jame Burn painted this masterpiece. The goal is to raise awareness about mental and emotional health. This is a great reminder to Philly people that while physical health is crucial in keeping our bodies in good form and operating properly, we must not forget that maintaining our mental health is equally important in order to live a healthy and happy life. It is located at 13th and Chancellor streets. 

Mural Arts’ outdoor art display draws more than 15,000 visitors and residents each year, establishing Philadelphia as the “Community of Murals” and serving as a source of pride and inspiration for the entire city.

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