Apr 27, 2015

Mural as a Trophy, Celebrating Philadelphia's Athletic Triumphs

by: Elise Stewart

On March 31, we dedicated City of Champions by David McShane at the headquarters of Spike’s Trophies Limited in Northeast Philadelphia. The dedication coincided with Spike’s annual trade show, which brought good food, added excitement, and a curious audience to hear about the heart behind the mural.

It took a team to make City of Champions happen, and that team, as well as the rest of the crowd in attendance, was eager to celebrate the strength of teamwork and the value of sports in Philadelphia. In addition to Mural Arts and Spike’s Trophies, our partners on the mural included Firstrust Bank, IBEW Local 98, and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, all of whom had a presence at the dedication. Even Mayor Nutter came and spoke to Spike’s Trophies iconic status in Philadelphia, and how the mural contributes to the unity of the city.

The brilliantly blue City of Champions mural tells the story of Philadelphia’s greatest sports triumphs. In the center of the mural is a trophy-like depiction of City Hall, flanked by more than a dozen portraits of famous local athletes who have contributed to outstanding moments in Philadelphia sports history. What strikes me the most about the mural is the unity that McShane created among such a diverse group of athletes, from boxers to baseball players, and even a rower. The concept was developed by Ken Avallon, President of the Board of Trustees for the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, Keith Baldwin, President of Spike’s Trophies, and David McShane, one of our staff artists with a long history of painting sports-themed murals.

While most of our murals are not lit at night, IBEW Local 98 came through and installed lights on City of Champions, which really make the mural pop. So, as you’re driving down Grant Avenue, keep an eye out, even after dark, for this inspirational mural.

McShane’s goal was to represent unity and the timelessness of sports. At the dedication, he spoke to the way that sports and teams bring people together. McShane said, “This passion is what really bonds us together. Race, religion, gender and class are no boundaries for this kind of passion; this bond that we have. So the successes of our teams and athletes are really our successes. This mural celebrates these moments because they are all moments that we share together.”

The dedication was a great reminder of the city’s accomplishments, talented atheletes, and the unendingly supportive fans. City of Champions is a proud trophy for the city and a token of appreciation for the sports that unite us all.

Last updated: Jan 27, 2016

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