1984 - 2014

City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program: First 30 Years

Mural Arts Philadelphia

A Selection of Public Art Created by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

30 Years of Transformation
See how we've shaped neighborhoods, people and the landscape of Philadelphia for the past 3 decades. Video directed by Jon Kaufman
Music 'No Stoppin' (feat. Black Thought, Gene Mcfadden & John Whitehead) by Larry Gold

WE BELIEVE ART IGNITES CHANGE
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (Mural Arts) is the nation’s largest public art program. For 30 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives.
Mural Arts engages communities in 50–100 public art projects each year, and maintains its growing collection through a restoration initiative. Core Mural Arts programs such as Art Education, Restorative Justice, and Porch Light yield unique, project-based learning opportunities for thousands of youth and adults.

Jane Golden and Crew, 1988, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Image Courtesy of Temple University Libraries, Urban Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as part of the Philadelphia Inquirer Collection.

Mural Arts was first established in 1984 as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network. Artist Jane Golden was hired to reach out to graffiti writers and redirect their energies to public art projects.

Life in the City, Jane Golden, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

In 1985 PAGN painted its first mural, Life in the City, on a 636-foot span of the Spring Garden Street Bridge. Jane Golden and a crew of nearly 100 young people paint day and night for four weeks to complete murals on both sides of this highway-and-pedestrian bridge linking West Philly to Center City. Image Courtesy of Temple University Libraries, Urban Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as part of the Philadelphia Inquirer Collection.

Dr. J (Julius Erving), Kent Twitchell, Photo by Jack Ramsdale, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

1990: well-known portrait muralist Kent Twitchell is commissioned to paint the Dr. J (Julius Erving) mural at 1219 Ridge Avenue. The goal of this mural is to integrate superior artwork with a subject that is significant to the community. This is the first mural installed using the parachute cloth method.

Common Threads, Meg Saligman, Photo by Steve Weinik, 1998-01-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

In 1997, Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates, a private nonprofit, is incorporated to advise and support the program. The following year, Common Threads by Meg Saligman is painted. At eight stores it is the program’s tallest mural at the time.

Gateway to Chinatown, Josh Sarantitis, Photo by Jack Ramsdale, 1999-12-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Colors of Light © 1999 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Josh Sarantitis, Photo by Jack Ramsdale

Philadelphia Muses, Meg Saligman, Photo by Steve Weinik, 1999-10-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Philadelphia Muses © 1999 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Meg Saligman (restored 2012), Photo by Steve Weinik

Tree of Knowledge, Michael Webb, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2003-10-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Tree of Knowledge © 2003 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Michael Webb (restored 2014), Photo by Steve Weinik

A Celebration of Poetry, Parris Stancell, Photo by Jack Ramsdale, 2004-10-18, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

A Celebration of Poetry © 2004 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Parris Stancell, Photo by Jack Ramsdale

Lincoln Legacy, Josh Sarantitis, Eric Okdeh, Photo by Jack Ramsdale, 2005-01-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

In celebration of the Lincoln Financial Group’s 100th Anniversary in 2005, Mural Arts is commissioned to engage Philadelphia students in examining the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and to create a 10,000 square foot mural, Legacy, by muralists Josh Sarantitis and Eric Okdeh.

A Peoples Progression Toward Equality, Jared Bader, Photo by Jack Ramsdale, 2007-03-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

People's Progression Towards Equality © 2007 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Jared Bader, Photo by Steve Weinik

A Taste of Summer, Ann Northrup, Photo by Jack Ramsdale, 2008-06-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

A Taste of Summer © 2009 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Ann Northrup, Photo by Jack Ramsdale

The Evolving Face of Nursing, Meg Saligman, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2009-12-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

The Evolving Face of Nursing © 2009 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Meg Saligman, Photo by Steve Weinik

The Tuskegee Airmen: They Met the Challenge, Marcus Akinlana, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2008-10-30, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

2008: Mural number 3,000, Tuskegee Airmen: They Met the Challenge, by Marcus Akinlana is dedicated.

Garden of Delight, David Guinn, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2010-06-30, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Garden of Delight © 2010 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / David Guinn, Photo by Steve Weinik

Light Drift, J. Meejin Yoon, Image by Joel Avery, CREATiVNESS, 2010-10-15, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia
Light Drift, J. Meejin Yoon, Photo Courtesy of J. Meejin Yoon, MY Studio, 2010-10-15, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Mural Arts and artist J. Meejin Yoon create Light Drift, a temporary interactive lighting installation along the Schuylkill River banks. Thousands of visitors travel to the waterfront.

The North Philadelphia Beacon Project, James Burns, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2013-10-20, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

2010: Mural Arts collaborates with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility to launch the Porch Light program. This new initiative targets individuals struggling with mental health challenges, addiction, homelessness, and trauma. Mural Pictured: The North Philadelphia Beacon Project by James Burns

Philly Painting 3, Haas&Hahn, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2012-11-28, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

In 2012 Mural Arts hires renowned Dutch artists Haas & Hahn to create Philly Painting. During an 18-month residency, they work with the Commerce Department and local residents to transform a four-block stretch of Germantown Avenue. This project goes on to win a public art award from Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network. Check out our separate exhibition devoted to this project.

The Color of Your Voice, Keir Johnston, Ernel Martinez, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2012-10-03, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

The Color of Your Voice © 2012 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez, Photo by Steve Weinik

Peace is a Haiku Song, Josh Sarantitis, Parris Stancell, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2012-10-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Peace is a Haiku Song © 2012 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Josh Sarantitis and Parris Stancell, Photo by Steve Weinik

How to Turn Anything Into Something Else, Miss Rockaway Armada, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2012-09-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

How to Turn Anything Into Something Else © 2012 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Miss Rockaway Armada, Photo by Steve Weinik

How We Fish, Eric Okdeh, Photo by Mike Reali, 2012-10-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

How We Fish © 2012 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Eric Okdeh, Photo by Mike Reali

Personal Melody, How & Nosm, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2012-08-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Personal Melody © 2012 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / HOW and NOSM, Photo by Steve Weinik

The Father of Modern Philadelphia, Gaia, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2012-10-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Imagining a Modern Philadelphia © 2013 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Gaia, Photo by Steve Weinik

Philly Chunk Pack, Kenny Scharf, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2011-10-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

Philly Chunk Pack © 2012 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Kenny Scharf, Photo by Steve Weinik

Legendary, Amber Art & Design featuring Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2012-10-30, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

2013: Mural Arts completes a new mural project, Legendary, by Amber Arts & Design featuring Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, that honors GRAMMY Award winners, The Roots.

psychylustro: Warehouse, Katharina Grosse, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2014-05-15, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia
psychylustro: Drama Wall, Katharina Grosse, 2014-05-15, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

In 2014 German artist Katharina Grosse partners with Mural Arts to install psychylustro, an abstract work of color along a five-mile stretch of the Northeast Regional Rail Line.

psychylustro: The Hut, Katharina Grosse, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2014-05-15, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia
psychylustro: Great Wall Side B, Katharina Grosse, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2014-05-15, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia
All the Way Live from the 215, Chris Stain, Photo by Steve Weinik, 2014-08-15, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

All The Way Live From The 215 © 2014 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Chris Stain, Photo by Steve Weinik

You Go Girl, Jetsonorama and Ursula Rucker, 2014-07-01, From the collection of: Mural Arts Philadelphia

You Go Girl © 2014 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Jetsonorama and Ursula Rucker, Photo by Steve Weinik

Steve Weinik
Credits: Story

City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Compiler: Steve Weinik – Staff Photographer / Senior Manager for Digital Media and Technology | sweinik@muralarts.org

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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