Mural Arts Philadelphia (formerly Philadelphia Mural Arts Program) is the largest public art program in the US. Mural Arts engages communities in 50–100 public art projects each year and maintains its growing collection through a restoration initiative. Its core program areas—including art education, community murals, and environmental justice—yield unique, project-based learning opportunities for thousands of youth and adults.
Quite possibly the largest single-artist mural project in the United States, Steve Powers' Love Letter comprises 50 painted walls along a line of rooftops running parallel to the Market-Frankford elevated train line in West Philadelphia. The murals—which evoke vintage, hand-painted signs—constitute a public love letter from a guy to a girl, from an artist to his former hometown, and from local residents to their neighborhood of West Philadelphia. Ironically, Powers got his start as a graffiti writer in Philadelphia before moving to New York and his tags were precisely the sort of unauthorized "defacement" that Philadelphia Mural Arts Program was founded to combat. That they joined forces years later is a testament to the mainstreaming of such artistic acts.
Love Letter is documented in a film, directed Joey Garfield, and a catalog. Powers has since realized Love Letter projects in Dublin, Johannesburg, São Paolo, Syracuse, and New York. Powers' new book, featuring all of these projects, was recently highlighted in The Guardian.
The Philadelphia Love Letter project received press in the Wall Street Journal, Juxtapoz Magazine, NewsHour on PBS, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and many other major news outlets.