City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
October 19, 2008
MURAL ARTS PROGRAM TURNS 25
Thirteen-Month Celebration Begins with Mural Arts Month in October
PHILADELPHIA – September 23, 2008 – Beginning during Mural Arts Month in October 2008, the Mural Arts Program will kick off a thirteen-month celebration with birthday parties, special exhibits, an array of tours, and a huge city-wide mural project. The celebration will last from October 2008 through October 2009, with each October encompassing a month of special events, mural dedications, and public engagement. A variety of projects, tours, and exhibitions will last throughout the year.
The Mural Arts Program 25th Anniversary Celebration will serve to raise awareness about the depth and complexity of the Mural Arts Program (MAP), and the impact that MAP has had on Philadelphia, its citizens, neighborhoods, and landscape over the past 25 years. MAP’s goals include increased involvement by all residents of Philadelphia in the mural-making process including public painting activities, art education initiatives, special events, and tours. Throughout the celebration, MAP will be focusing on opportunities to sustain and expand over the next 25 years.
The Mural Arts Program 25th Anniversary 13-month celebration is made possible thanks to the generous support of Bank of America. “We are excited to be celebrating this tremendous milestone,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director of the Mural Arts Program. “Bank of America’s sponsorship of our 25th Anniversary will enable us to reach even more Philadelphians, and will give us a great foundation for the next 25 years. They are an extraordinary corporate partner whose continued support has been critical to our success. ”
Thomas C. Woodward, Bank of America Pennsylvania state president and Philadelphia market president, stated, “Bank of America has been a proud supporter of the Mural Arts Program for many years, and we are thrilled that our presenting sponsorship of the 25th Anniversary can help take the program’s visibility to a new level. Supporting the Mural Arts Program is part of Bank of America’s overall commitment to providing the public with access to significant arts and cultural programs nationwide.
A Birthday Party for All Ages
On Friday and Saturday, October 10 and 11, 2008, there will be two events to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Mural Arts Program. On Friday, MAP will kick-off its anniversary year with a “Birthday Bash” celebration from 6-8 pm at City Hall. There will be light bites, champagne, birthday cake, and special invited guest Mayor Michael Nutter. It is free and open to the public, but reservations are required by Friday, October 3. Guests can RSVP to RSVP@muralarts.org or 215-685-0759. On October 11, MAP will host “Muralpalooza,” a family-friendly celebration with the first finger-painted mural, painting activities, crafts, fun, games, and the debut of the Mural Arts Program coloring book. Muralpalooza will take place 10am-11am with a Muralpalooza Trolley Tour, a one-hour family-friendly tour of Philadelphia’s murals on a double-decker bus. Afterwards, from 11am-2pm, the Muralpalooza Family Celebration follows with family fun and a free birthday party complete with music, refreshments, games, crafts, and plenty of fun. Both Muralpalooza events will take place at Benjamin Franklin High School, at Broad and Spring Garden Streets.
City-Wide Mural Project
For the first time in the history of the Mural Arts Program, the organization will involve the entire City of Philadelphia in a City-Wide Mural Project during the 25th Anniversary year. The ideas and imagery will come from a series of town hall-style meetings held in various communities in the city. Citizens will be able to vote on several ideas for the final design in a variety of ways. And throughout the year, a sequence of city-wide paint days will be held in central locations so that as many people as possible can literally have a hand in this unique mural project.
Tours, Exhibits, and Special Events
During the anniversary year, a series of special mural tours will complement the array of public and group tour offerings that already exist. Tours led by Philadelphia celebrities and free mural tours will be scheduled monthly. During Mural Arts Month in October 2008, there will be a Mural Bike Tour, with special guest 6ABC’s Don Polec, including lunch at the White Dog Café on Saturday, October 18 and a Best of Philly Trolley Tour with Philadelphia Magazine’s Larry Platt and Sam Katz, including lunch at Jon’s Restaurant & Bar, home of the Larry Fine mural on Saturday, October 25. For reservations, call 215-386-9224. In addition, between October 2008 and October 2009, four major art exhibitions will cover a variety of topics in different locations. Other special events will take place in spring 2009 including a Mural Scavenger Hunt hosted by the Young Advocates for Mural Arts.
Mural Arts Month Mural Dedications
October will be filled with a number of mural dedications. Among these new murals are Independence Starts Here; Behold, The Open Door; To Serve & Protect; and Restored Spaces. Independence Starts Here, a sweeping new work by Donald Gensler that celebrates the disabilities community will be dedicated on Saturday, October 4. Behold, The Open Door will be dedicated on Sunday, October 19 and is about the re-entry of ex-inmates into their communities. For this project, mosaics were used to depict flowers and vines, representing new growth and the ability to bloom again. To Serve &
Protect, a large scale mural project created by the Cops & Kids project to confront stereotypes and begin to build bridges between groups, will be dedicated on Thursday, October 23. Thursday, October 30, marks the dedication of Restored Spaces, a project for the transformation of the exterior of Hartranft Elementary School marked with intricate ceramic tiling, glass mosaic, sculptural metal work, and components of landscape architecture that will include flower beds and the planting of new trees.
The Mural Arts Program began in 1984 as a component of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, an effort spearheaded by then Mayor Wilson Goode to eradicate the graffiti crisis plaguing the city. The Anti-Graffiti Network hired muralist Jane Golden to reach out to graffiti writers and to redirect their energies from destructive graffiti writing to constructive mural painting. Today, MAP is a unique public-private partnership that uses art as a vehicle for real social change, and had developed into one of Philadelphia’s leading non-profits. MAP’s success is in large part due to its faith in three simple words, three words Jane Golden herself uses as a personal and professional mantra: Art Saves Lives.
Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy
Building on a long-standing tradition of investing in the communities it serves, Bank of America will embark in 2009 on a new, ten-year goal to donate $2 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the health and vitality of their neighborhoods. Funded by Bank of America, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave their neighborhoods. Funded by Bank of America, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave more than $200 million in 2007, making the bank the most generous financial institution in the world and the second largest donor of all U.S. corporations in cash contributions. Bank of America approaches giving through a national strategy called “neighborhood excellence” under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities. Through Team Bank of America, bank associate volunteers contributed more than 650,000 hours in 2007 to enhance the quality of life in their communities nationwide. For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visit www.bankofamerica.com/foundation.
The Mural Arts Program (MAP) is the nation’s largest mural program. Since 1984, MAP has created nearly 3,000 murals and works of public art, which are now part of Philadelphia’s civic landscape and a source of inspiration to the thousands of residents and visitors who encounter them, earning Philadelphia international recognition as the “City of Murals.” MAP engages over 100 communities each year in the transformation of neighborhoods through the mural-making process. MAP’s award-winning, free art education programs annually serve over 3,000 youth at sites throughout the city and at-risk teens through education outreach programs. MAP also adult offenders in local prisons and rehabilitation centers, using the restorative power of art to break the cycle of crime and violence in our communities. For further information, call (215) 685-0750 or visit www.muralarts.org.
25 YEARS OF THE MURAL ARTS PROGRAM
Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network (PAGN) is founded by Mayor W. Wilson Goode. Established as part of a city-wide anti-graffiti initiative, PAGN worked with young graffiti writers, redirecting their artistic energies into making art that would enhance rather than undermine their communities.
PAGN paints 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 from Mantua paint day and night for four weeks to complete murals on both sides of this highway-and-pedestrian bridge linking West Philadelphia to Center City.
PAGN begins its partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s (PHS) Philadelphia Green Program. As PHS’ “Greene Country Towne” expands, the PHS staffers bring PAGN artists along to negotiate murals for neighborhoods hardest hit by the city’s industrial decline.
Well-known portrait muralist Kent Twitchell comes to Philadelphia to paint the Dr. J mural. The goal of this mural was to integrate superior artwork with a subject that was significant to the community. This is the first mural installed using the parachute cloth” method.
PAGN completes its 1,000th mural, Pathology of Devotion by Vincent Desiderio, at 12th & Morris Streets.
Acclaimed artist Sidney Goodman paints Boy With Raised Arm. PAGN artists are thrilled to work with an artist of his stature. In 2002, the mural is obscured by new construction and a replacement mural is commissioned.
The Mural Arts Program is born when PAGN is restructured and the mural program is transferred to the Department of Recreation.
Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates, a private non profit, is incorporated to advise and support the program.
The Mural Arts Program is asked to complete six major murals in less than eight weeks for the Presidential Summit on Volunteerism. Al and Tipper Gore join us and hundreds of volunteers to paint murals along Girard Ave.
Peace Wall is painted, amidst racial strife, in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of Southwest Philadelphia. The mural helps divided residents find common ground through art and becomes a symbol of hope and unity.
Eight stories high, Common Threads by Meg Saligman is painted at Broad and Spring Garden Streets. The program’s tallest mural at the time, it remains one of the most beloved.
The Mural Arts Program implements Big Picture, an after-school and summer art education program for middle school youth.
The Mural Arts Program completes its 2,000th mural, Liberty by Peter Pagast, at 15th & Arch Streets. The mural is an 11-story tall figure carrying the world.
The Mural Arts Program becomes part of the city’s social services division, the Department of Human Services, and begins working in homeless shelters, prisons, youth detention centers, and with adjudicated youth.
The Big Picture program expands from five to 20 sites, serving more than 200 children and teens.
Mural Corps, an art education program designed to engage high-school youth in the mural-making process, completes three major sculpture gardens.
MAP begins mural workshops with inmates at the State Correctional Institute at Graterford, the sixth-largest maximum security prison in the country.
Over 2,300 murals later, Philadelphia is known as America’s “City of Murals.”
Pride & Progress by Ann Northrup is completed. It is the nation’s largest work of public art celebrating the LGBT community.
The Mural Arts Program hosts the National Conference on Mural Art.
The Mural Arts Program embarks on My North Philly, a three-year initiative which celebrates the lives of North Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods and culminates in a series of murals and a coffee table book of portraits and personal stories collected by an oral historian.
In collaboration with the Lincoln Financial Group, the Mural Arts Program uses art to engage Philadelphia students in examining the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, creating a 10,000 square-foot Venetian glass tile and painted mural, Legacy by Josh Sarantitis and Eric Okdeh.
The Mural Arts Program engages 26 schools across Pennsylvania in a state-wide mural-making project with each contributing an education-themed panel of a mural which is installed on the Department of Education building in Harrisburg.
The Mural Arts Program facilitates Metamorphosis, by Bob Phillips and Cheryl Levin, a series of fabricated steel sculptures and glass mosaics at Girard Crossing, our first major sculpture installation.
Their Royal Highnesses Charles, The Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, make an historic visit to Philadelphia and spend the afternoon with the Mural Arts Program, beginning with a personal viewing of Reading: A Journey at 40th and Pennsgrove in the East Parkside neighborhood of Philadelphia. After meeting the individuals involved with the creation of the mural, they participated with Mural Arts Program youth and muralists in an interactive painting activity and spoke directly with community leaders and key participants involved in some of our most successful neighborhood transformation initiatives.
The Mural Arts Program hosts a national conference on Arts in Criminal Justice which attracts more than 300 individuals, representing 35 states and nine countries. Attendees spend one full day of the conference at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford to allow participation by incarcerated men involved with the Mural Arts Program’s mural workshops there.
The Mural Arts Program embarks on its first youth-based international mural when youth from Big Picture collaborate with youth from the Dublin, Ireland-based Dophin Arts Group, resulting in the Common Ground: The Global Heritage Mural by James Burns which is installed on Olney High School West.
The Mural Arts Program begins celebrating its 25th Anniversary Year!
Mural Tour Information 2008
Take a public tour of the “City of Murals.” Each week an experienced docent explores a different neighborhood, providing a “behind the scenes” look at how murals are made. Join the city’s Mural Arts Program for a 2-hour trolley tour into the city’s neighborhoods to see some of Philadelphia’s most famous and colorful works of public art. Discover how murals are made and hear the inspiring stories of how some of these 3,000 murals changed their communities.
Tours are given on open-air trolleys (no air conditioning; they are heated when needed). Trolleys have roofs and pull-down windows and tours depart rain or shine.
Tour Day and Time
One trolley departs promptly every Saturday and Sunday at 12:30pm April through November and every Wednesday at 10:00am May through November. We recommend arriving 30 minutes early to purchase your ticket.
$25 per person for adults, $23 for seniors 65+, $15 for children 3 to 10, children under 2 are free. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and cash are accepted.
Tours depart from
The Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets (across from the Liberty Bell Center).
There is a public parking lot available underneath the Visitor Center.
Advanced reservations are STRONGLY recommended but not required. Call 215-389-TOUR or visit www.phillytour.com for reservations and tickets.
In addition, themed monthly Murals and Meals Tours depart from area restaurants. For a current schedule, visit www.muralarts.org/events.
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is one of the nation’s largest public arts initiatives of its kind. Our mission is to engage in art education and community public art collaborations, and to increase public access to art. Since the Mural Arts Program began, we have produced nearly 3,000 murals and educated over 20,000 underserved youth in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.
The Mural Arts Program began in 1984 as a component of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, an effort to eradicate the graffiti crisis plaguing the city. The Anti-Graffiti Network hired muralist Jane Golden to reach out to graffiti writers to redirect their energies from destructive graffiti writing to constructive mural painting. Mural-making provided a support structure for these young men and women to develop their artistic skills, empowering them to take an active role in beautifying their communities. In 1996, the City of Philadelphia announced that the Anti-Graffiti Network would be reorganized into the Mural Arts Program with Golden as the director. At the same time, Golden established a nonprofit organization, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates, to raise funds and provide other support to the nationally-recognized program. Today’s Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is an innovative and successful public/private partnership that encompasses both the city agency and the nonprofit.
The Mural Arts Program works with more than 100 communities each year to create murals that reflect the culture of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. Mural projects often include stabilization of abandoned lots and revitalization of open spaces. Our community partners include block captains, neighborhood associations, public schools, community development corporations, local nonprofits, and city agencies. We strive to coordinate mural projects with existing strategies for community development, thereby leveraging grassroots social capital to build positive momentum and stronger results.
The Mural Arts Program’s free, award-winning art education programs annually serve nearly 3,000 at-risk youth at neighborhood sites throughout the city. Our programs use an intensive curriculum that involves mural-making as a dynamic means to engage youth and to teach transferable life and job skills such as taking personal responsibility, teamwork, and creative problem-solving.
Employing over 300 artists each year, we are one of the largest employers in Philadelphia’s arts community. We provide opportunities for artists with a variety of skills to work together to create murals. We also strive to employ an ethnically diverse group of artists. Drawing on the styles of artists from different cultures, our murals reflect Philadelphia’s wonderfully diverse neighborhoods.
Our murals have become a cherished part of the civic landscape and a great source of pride and motivation to the millions of residents and visitors who encounter them each year. In fact, our unique efforts have earned Philadelphia international praise as the “City of Murals.” Every year more than 10,000 tourists and residents enjoy mural tours. In October, Philadelphia’s annual Mural Arts Month, over 5,000 people attend city-wide events such as mural dedications, lectures, and gallery exhibitions.
MAP’s success is in large part due to its faith in three simple words, three words Jane Golden herself uses as a personal and professional mantra: Art Saves Lives. It is with this conviction that MAP looks forward to continually enhancing its programs and embarking on special initiatives that will continue to challenge and inspire the many individuals whose lives are touched by Philadelphia’s murals.
City of Philadelphia
Mural Arts Program
Lincoln Financial Mural Arts Center at the Thomas Eakins House
1729 Mt. Vernon Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130