I recently had the opportunity to take a mini version of the Philadelphia Mural Arts program walking tour. Did you know, Philadelphia is home to the world’s largest outdoor mural collection? As a native to the city/area I didn’t; there are 3,800 of them! We saw about 10 on our abbreviated tour—all different, all with a very unique story behind them.
From a child’s mural allowing kids to express their creativity, to the one honoring Philadelphia native and former executive director of city planning, Edmund Bacon (yes, Kevin Bacon’s dad!). From one honoring Philadelphia’s long history of music and arts, to one helping and working with the homeless. I learned that the Eagles help paint them and that all citizens can too, plus so much more! Many are in parking lots because they offer such great space and views, but the parking lots must be emptied while painting and the mural arts program needs to pay the lots for lost revenue. In addition to expenses like these, the cost of the paint is extraordinary due to the special paint needed to keep them vibrant and weather resistant as long as possible.
The largest mural can be seen at Philadelphia Airport. It’s a fascinating tour that gives you great insight into Philadelphia’s robust history, arts and social causes. There are two different methods used to create these fascinating murals, but I’ll leave that out to entice you to sign up for the tours. You can choose from a walking or trolley tour and in different sections of the city. They offer self-guided ones, but I highly recommend a tour guide as they are well versed and give great sidebars into the murals themselves. If your next meeting or event needs an activity for your group, give the Philadelphia Mural Arts program a go—you or your attendees won’t be disappointed!