Art Ignites Change: 35 Years of Impact

Convergence © 2019 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Rebecca Rutstein, 27th and South Street. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Art Ignites Change

Thirty Five Years

We started with a spark and a mission to ignite change through the power of public art. Art that empowers communities, transforms spaces, and brings people together.

Art that ignites change in people, in neighborhoods, in our city, and beyond.

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In 1984, Mural Arts is established as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network.

Artist Jane Golden reaches out to graffiti writers in order to redirect their energies into constructive public art projects. Mural Arts’ collective mural-making process proves to be a powerful tool for generating dialogue, building relationships, empowering communities, and sparking economic revitalization.

Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network (PAGN) team painting over graffiti at Broad and Spring Garden streets.


Well-known portrait muralist Kent Twitchell creates Dr. J at 1219 Ridge Avenue, integrating superior artwork with a subject significant to the community. This is the first mural installed using the parachute cloth method.

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Dr. J by Kent Twitchell. Photo by Jack Ramsdale.


Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates, a private nonprofit, is incorporated to advise and support Mural Arts Philadelphia. Within the municipal government, Mural Arts is transferred from Anti-Graffiti to the Department of Recreation.

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Amidst neighborhood tensions in Grays Ferry, Peace Wall is painted. The mural helps residents find common ground through art, becoming a symbol of hope and unity.

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Meg Saligman paints Common Threads at Broad and Spring Garden Streets. Soaring eight stories above Broad Street, it remains one of the most iconic mural images.

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Common Threads by Meg Saligman


Their Royal Highnesses Charles, the Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, make a historic visit to Philadelphia and spend the afternoon with Mural Arts.

Photo by Jack Ramsdale


Mural Arts collaborates with internationally-renowned artist Steve Powers on A Love Letter For You, a series of more than 50 rooftop murals and street-level signs along the Market Street corridor in West Philadelphia.

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A Love Letter For You. Photo by Adam Wallacavage.


Mural Arts completes a new mural project, Legendary, by Amber Arts & Design featuring Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, that honors GRAMMY Award winners, The Roots.

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Legendary by Amber Art & Design featuring Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Photo by Steve Weinik.


Mural Arts celebrates 30 years of participatory public artmaking with an exhibition, events, and a special edition book.

Beyond the Paint
Beyond the Paint: Philadelphia’s Mural Arts at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts


Open Source, the largest outdoor public art exhibition in Philadelphia, engages artists from across the globe, including JR, Shepard Fairey, SWOON, the Dufala Brothers, Sam Durant, and more.

Learn More About Open Source


In the fall of 2017, Monument Lab presented a guiding central question to more than 20 of the most dynamic contemporary artists working in Philadelphia and around the world: What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia?

Monument Lab


In a partnership with Mural Arts, artist Amy Sherald brought her work to Center City Philadelphia.

Untitled Amy Sherald Project


Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park, a unique festival that combined audio-visual art installations and diverse music performances, all shaped by their surroundings. Above and below the city streets, the installations celebrated and imagined the past, present, and future of Philadelphia’s Rail Park.

Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park
Moon Viewing Platform by Nadia Hironaka, Matthew Suib & Eugene Lew, October 5, 2019. Photo by Steve Weinik.