The Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia, begun in 1984 to combat graffiti, has since taken on a life of its own. Currently, there are over 3600 murals, some celebrating the history of Philadelphia, some focusing on local legends and heroes and others offering social commentary. While you’ve definitely seen various murals here and there around the city, in different styles with different themes, they are not created “willy-nilly”. To the contrary, the Mural Arts Program, the largest public art program in the US is a very deliberate organization with new (some temporary, some permanent) installations being considered and created on a continual basis. In addition, the program offers lots of opportunity for community involvement and specific events as well as “always available” ways for residents and visitors to experience these murals.
If you’d like to take a walking, trolley or train tour, see the schedule of the guided ones offered here. Would you like to participate in the creation of a mural ( a great way to make sure a visit to Philadelphia is well-remembered by your guest!)? See all the upcoming events you can attend or be involved with here. Programs and initiatives offered include Restored Spaces, which focuses on effecting positive neighborhood change through community-involved art and The Guild which offers a chance for incarcerated people to learn job skills while connecting with their communities and Arts and Artists Outdoors which supports awareness of the environment and how it is affected by and can be incorporated in outdoor art. Their website is very user-friendly and has a lot of useful information and food for thought. Visit it!