Mural Arts Philadelphia

1 Dec 2016


Michael Rakowitz, Enemy Kitchen, 2003-Present. Cooking workshop and ongoing public performance. Most recently commissioned by Smart Museum of Art for Feast exhibition. Courtesy of the artist.


Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge Neighborhood Convening, June 29, 2015. 632 Jackson Street. Photo by Steve Weinik. Courtesy of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.


Love Letter by Steve Powers, produced by Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Photo by Adam Wallacavage.

An outgrowth of the anti-graffiti network, Mural Arts Philadelphia (formerly Philadelphia Mural Arts Program) has produced over 3,700 works of public art since 1984, making it the largest public art program in the US and earning Philadelphia the nickname "City of Murals." Mural Arts projects supported by the Center include Radio Silence, a participatory performance and radio project with artist Michael Rakowitz; a 50-mural "love letter" along an elevated subway line by New York-based street artist Stephen Powers; Journeys South, a project that unearthed the immigrant histories of South Philadelphia neighborhoods; and psychylustro, a massive episodic painting along a five-mile stretch of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, by Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse. Center support has also funded the Visiting Curators Initiative, which brings contemporary art curators into conversation with Mural Arts, and in 2014, Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge, which staged "cultural interventions" such as pop-up markets or staged public performances in Philadelphia neighborhoods. In 2016, Mural Arts received Center support to present Monument Lab: A Citywide Public Art and History Exhibition, a series of temporary public artworks created by artists Zoe Strauss, Kara Crombie, Kaitlin Pomerantz, and Alexander Rosenberg that will interrogate notions of civic monumentality.