Dec 28

Philly’s 15 Favorite Murals of 2016

by: Conrad Benner, Guest Author

Hey y’all, Conrad Benner from Streets Dept here for a special Guest Post exploring Philadelphia’s 15 favorite new murals of 2016. What a year it has been for muralism in Philadelphia!

The list below is ordered by the votes you’ve all been unknowingly (hehehe) casting all year long across Mural Arts’ social media channels with your likes, comments, clicks, and shares.  

So without further ado, let’s see what murals you all loved most this year…

The Circle © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Henry Bermudez. Photo by Steve Weinik.

15. Henry Bermudez at Circle Thrift in Fishtown 

Henry Bermudez’s mural outside Circle Thrift on Dauphin street at Frankford avenue adds some much-beloved color to the streets of Fishtown. Selfie, anyone?  

Instruction Sight © 2016 Isaac Lin. Photo by Conrad Benner.

14. Isaac Lin at Swanson Walk in South Philly 

In the late-summer of 2016, South Philadelphia’s Snyder Plaza underwent a metamorphosis into Swanson Walk: new buildings, new stores – and, in an exciting twist, a brand new art zone, thanks to a new partnership between Mural Arts and The Goldenberg Group.

Isaac Lin joined Steve Powers, Joe Boruchow, and Peter Ferrari as the first group of artists to bring bright colors and fascinating patterns to the walls of the plaza!

Untitled © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Ryan Beck. Photo by Steve Weinik.

13. Ryan Beck in the Spring Arts Mural District 

2016 also saw the creation of Mural Arts first-ever outdoor rotating gallery with the Spring Arts Mural District! The inaugural participating artists from this collaboration between Mural Arts and Arts + Crafts Holdings hail from Philadelphia and around the world, and represent a new wave of emerging talent, including this mural from Ryan Beck and others by Matt Moore, Kid Hazo, Miriam Singer, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Hawk Krall, and Martha Rich.

Untitled © Mural Arts Philadelphia / Sarah Folger. Photo by Steve Weinik.

12. Sarah Folger in the Navy Yard 

What happens when students from Mural Arts’ Art Education Program combine forces with artist Sarah Folger? This beautiful shipping container mural outside Franklin Square Capital!

Aissulu Kadyrzhanova on Pearl Street in Chinatown North. Photo by Emma Fried-Cassorla.

11. Aissulu Kadyrzhanova on Pearl Street in Chinatown North 

In a collaboration between Mural Arts and the Asian Arts Initiative, artist Aissulu Kadyrzhanova painted this brilliant temporary street mural along Pearl Street in Chinatown North… More street murals please, Mural Arts – I absolutely love this!

Under the Interstate © 2016 Joe Boruchow. Photo by Steve Weinik.

10. Joe Boruchow at Swanson Walk in South Philly 

Created by long-time South Philly resident and legendary street artist Joe Boruchow, watch a little video here to learn more about the inspiration behind this six-panel series paying tribute to that stretch of South Philadelphia under I-95!

Untitled © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Andrew Jeffrey Wright. Photo by Conrad Benner.

9. Andrew Jeffrey Wright in the Spring Arts Mural District 

A mural on stairs?! Who knew such an unusual location for a mural could bring so much joy. But that’s what Andrew Jeffrey Wright’s stair mural behind 990 Spring Garden street in the Spring Arts Mural District has done. Honestly, it’s hard not to see a person react instantly with a smile when they first come across it.

© 2016 NDA. Photo by Conrad Benner.

8. NDA at The Fillmore in Fishtown 

Easily one of my personal favorite rising stars in the muralism world, NDA can paint no mundane mural. And his temporary piece outside The Fillmore in Fishtown last winter can speak to that!
Check out some behind-the-scenes photos of the creation of this mural here.

City Kids Speak on Liberty © Keith Haring. Photo by Steve Weinik.

7. Keith Haring at 990 Spring Garden for Truth to Power 

Brought to Philly by Arts + Crafts Holdings, Mural Arts partnered for the temporary install of this iconic Keith Haring banner titled, “City Kids Speak on Liberty”, for Rock The Vote’s ‘Truth To Power’ art exhibit during the DNC. Naturally, it quickly became an Instagram favorite.

Tell the Truth © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Martha Rich. Photo by Steve Weinik.

6. Martha Rich in the Spring Arts Mural District 

Titled Can we call this life?, artist Martha Rich took quotes from fans off Instagram to add to the pieces’ speech bubbles. So many awesome new selfie-height murals in 2016, hope y’all are ready for a new Facebook profile pic!

Sanctuary © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / James Burns. Photo by Steve Weinik.

5. James Daniel Burns Above 13th Street in the Gayborhood 

Found nested above 13th street (near Locust) in the Gayborhood, this stunning mural by artist James Daniel Burns is titled Sanctuary and it quite literally sends my heart aflutter. Amazing!

The Atlas of Tomorrow © 2016 Candy Chang. Photo by Steve Weinik.

4. Candy Chang on South Street 

The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection is an interactive installation on South Street by artist Candy Chang that translates the I Ching into a public tool to help people examine their lives.

Click here to learn more about this insightful mural and how it works!

Rhythm and Hues © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Brad Carney. Photo by Dave Tavani.

3. Brad Carney at The Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway 

Titled Rhythm and Hues, this 25,000 square foot temporary mural painted at The Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was the winning design of Philadelphia-based artist Brad Carney and for a couple of months this summer was the talk of the town!

Electric Street © 2016 David Guinn and Drew Billiau. Photo by Conrad Benner.

2. David Guinn and Drew Billiau on Percy Street in South Philly 

The mural that broke the Internet. What started as an artistic answer to a neighborhood’s concerns over the safety of a narrow alley in South Philly became much more when art and civically-minded websites across the country started to hold up David Guinn and Drew Billiau’s Electric Street installation as a great example of the positive effects of art can have in our public spaces.  


  • 14 Movements: A Symphony in Color and Words © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Mat Tomezsko. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • 14 Movements: A Symphony in Color and Words © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Mat Tomezsko. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • 14 Movements: A Symphony in Color and Words © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Mat Tomezsko. Photo by Steve Weinik.

1. Mat Tomezsko on the Avenue of the Arts 

Of course, THE most talked about and photographed mural of 2016 was without a doubt the awe-inspiring, mile-long mural that Mural Arts installed with artist Mat Tomezsko down South Broad Street for the DNC.

Titled 14 Movements: A Symphony in Color and Words, after its completion Mural Arts filmed a poetic video with Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher walking up the mural which you should definitely watch here.

Can’t wait to see what Mural Arts does in 2017!  

Last updated: Dec 22, 2016

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Melanic says

I love some of these murals! There is nothing like adding color to plain white canvases! Not only colors but different artist craft of creativity! Can’t wait to see murals throughout the city!