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.
Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates established a new curatorial residency program that looks to the future of mural-making. In order to move out of its comfort zone and develop a culture of innovation, Mural Arts recruited curators-in-residence from outside the region, who looked at the organization's work through a fresh lens, with the aim to advance its artistic practice and community impact. Each curator is working side-by-side with Mural Arts staff and leadership in a six-month residency period, conducting research on mural-making in the 21st century, identifying artists of high artistic caliber, and developing a full concept for a project or exhibition, as well as complementary interpretive programming for the public. The first curator, Elizabeth Thomas, helped the organization prepare a successful public art project by Katharina Grosse, which received Center support in 2013. The second curator, Lucia Sanroman, is helping the organization internalize the systems by which they identify and work with contemporary artists. A third curator is in the process of being selected. The visiting resident curators will advance and renew Mural Arts' work as an established leader in both mural-making and the transformation of Philadelphia's public spaces. [fn]Management grants, through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, were awarded from 2009 through 2013.[/fn]