Fall in Philadelphia has proven to be, twice now, my favorite season of the year. While I initially had to mourn the passing of summer, I am full steam ahead about all that fall has to offer. I decided to ring in this beautiful weather by checking out Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program. They offer a self-guided “Mural Mile Walking Tour” that I took full advantage of!
The Mural Arts Program has a fascinating history which began in 1984 as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network. In hopes of creating empowering neighborhood murals, graffiti artists were hired to inject color and life into an industrial city. Local prisons and rehabilitation centers offer educational programs on mural arts, and incarcerated individuals are hired to paint murals for schools and community centers in the area. Mural Arts even has a re-entry program for recently released prisoners.
Today, Philadelphia is home to 3,500+ murals. These murals give local residents a voice and a medium with which to communicate stories and traditions. The Mural Arts Program has expanded to working with children and youth, helping them to develop a sense of community and belonging.
To any Philadelphia-goer: Don’t forget to look UP!