Famous Franks

artist David McShane

Famous Franks by David McShane. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • location Dirty Franks
  • Neighborhood

    Center City

  • completion date

    April 01, 2001

About the Project 

The Washington Square West Civic Association approached Mural Arts with a request to do a mural to brighten up Dirty Frank’s exterior. Selected artist David McShane felt his strength was in graphic style portraiture, and so proposed a collage of famous people named Frank or who had the word Frank in the name. Although many Franks were suggested, the artist chose those that had a connection to the city, or to him, or had interesting faces to paint.

Famous Franks by David McShane. Photo by Steve Weinik.

The Franks depicted are (from left to right): Benjamin Franklin, Frankie Avalon, the floral architecture design from PAFA by Frank Furness, Aretha Franklin, a frankfurter, Barney Frank, Frankenstein’s monster, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Frank Zappa, Frank Sinatra, actor Frank Morgan in a scene from Wizard of Oz (written by L. Frank Baum), St. Francis of Assisi (for whom the artist used his twin brother, Frank, as a model), Frank Oz—who was a French puppeteer, Frank Perdue, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Burns from M*A*S*H* and Tug McGraw (whose real name is Frank). There were intentionally no words painted on the mural to identify the Franks, which makes it more interesting for the viewers to guess how they are connected. There was intentionally no signage to identify the bar as Dirty Franks to preserve the quirky anonymity that patrons love.

McShane restored the mural in 2015. Pope Francis (who visited the city that year) and longtime Dirty Franks employee and one-time City of Philadelphia Poet Laureate Frank Sherlock, were added to the mural during its restoration.

McShane added Pope Francis to the mural in 2015. Photo by Steve Weinik.


Marc Ginsberg and the
Washington Square West Civic Association