The “Mural Capital of the World”
Mural Arts Philadelphia started as an anti-graffiti program in 1984 and has grown to be an international leader with over 4,000 works of community-based public art. The program has activated some of Philadelphia’s most unassuming locations and is part of a larger campaign by the city to repurpose public spaces and create positive dialogue in communities. The projects are driven by the residents who are involved in the development of neighborhood murals from conception to culmination.
The nation’s largest public art program offers visitors the opportunity to see some of these murals on guided and self-guided tours, by foot, trolley, train or Segway. Take a tour and find out why Philadelphia is called the “Mural Capital of the World.”
NOTE: A mobile app is also available from Mural Arts Philadelphia. Using the app, visitors have access to 40 Center City murals right at their fingertips. Text MURAL to 215-608-1866 to receive a link to the Mobile Smartphone Tour. From there, click on the Self-Guided Tour. Then, using your phone’s location, a map of Center City will appear showing you the closest murals to you. To learn more about Mural Arts’ tour program, their new mobile app, or to schedule a tour, click here.
Each year Mural Arts Philadelphia commissions 50–100 public art projects with murals popping up all over the city. In 2022, artists painted new murals in Kensington, FDR Park, and Brewerytown. Among these murals are images of Philadelphia icons, such as Tarik Trotter (better known as The Roots’ “Black Thought”), and community sustainability.
Murals Close to the Pennsylvania Convention Center
If you’re in Philadelphia for a convention and short on leisure time, you don’t need to travel to a museum to get your art fix. Around the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City are some of Philadelphia’s most iconic images. “We Did That” celebrates Philadelphia’s community organizes that advocate for voting rights and “Tree of Knowledge” depicts wildflowers representing the connection between Philadelphia’s rivers and local flora.
If there’s one thing Philadelphians are passionate about, it’s their sports teams. These murals honor the boldest Philadelphia legends like the World Series winning Phillies teams, the 2018 Eagles, and legacy Sixers like Dr. J and Allen Iverson.
Murals Highlighting Diversity
Since its founding by the Quakers, Philadelphia has been a city championing diversity. These murals highlight that history and influence.
Many of Philadelphia’s most prominent and influential citizens are those who are not household names. These murals honor those who have their imprint on Philadelphia’s history and culture. Artists depict Edmund Bacon, the city planner responsible for Love Park and protecting historical homes, and Alain LeRoy Locke, an influencer figure in the Harlem Renaissance born in Philadelphia.