Few pieces of art get the kind of exposure that outdoor murals in Philly do. These gorgeous pieces of art fill up spaces that would otherwise expose barren brick onto The City of Brotherly Love.
But the reach of these murals doesn’t stop at their proximity to the neighbors and pedestrians. Their beauty goes deeper, with strong messages about human rights and the wish to cement a beautiful spring day forever. And the biggest impact they all share? They change lives. Here’s how you can get the most out of the Center City’s Mural Mile.
Know Why They’re Around
These murals weren’t created on a whim. They were carefully designed, well-planned, and all have changed the lives of those who created them. From students that came from troubled backgrounds to actual prison convicts, the artists may be the most interesting parts of each story.
The Mural Arts Program was initiated in the 1980s to decrease crime and increase “bridges of connection and understanding.” And these artistic endeavors didn’t stop here—there are new projects happening every year, and new artists rising along with them.
Prepare for Adventure
You might walk past these murals every day, but how often do you really absorb them? One man noted, “Making the mural the destination changes everything about it. The work seemed important and vital—like I was in a museum I might not visit again.”
Put on your walking shoes, and get ready to walk or run. Side note: Philly’s Mural Mile is actually 2.5 miles, but “Mural 2.5 Miles” just isn’t as catchy.
Check out this custom Mural Mile Google map, download the official map if you’d like, and get educated on the nearest coffee spots (hey, you never know when you’ll need a recharge). Get deeper with the Mural Mile walking tours, or go it alone with a 5 km walking audio tour (English only).
There’s one mural you won’t see on your adventure—that’s the Autumn mural, which was covered by a new townhouse. Yes, it’s upsetting. But remember, these murals are essentially graffiti—beautiful, astounding graffiti that can take a special place in your heart, but can also disappear one day. The good news? New murals are created every day, and the ebb and flow of city growth is mirrored by this street art. Enjoy the current moment!
Join the Movement
Once you’ve experienced the Mural Mile, you may want to dive in and help mold the future of Philly artists! First, check out the Mural Mile Pinterest to revisit your favorite pieces, then add the organization on Facebook and Twitter to keep up on the latest news. Afterwards, check out the official Mural Arts website for information about getting involved.
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