Everyone knows you go to Philly for a great cheesesteak and some stellar United States history lessons. But not everyone knows that Philadelphia is the unofficial mural capital of the world. Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program. For over 30 years, Mural Arts has brought together artists and communities to truly transform public places. Nothing brightens up buildings and streets quite like colorful, inspiring murals. Needless to say, there is plenty of public art near Philadelphia apartments, which is a huge draw. Each year, 60-100 public art projects get underway, and 15,000 residents and visitors tour these spectacular sights.
One such piece is called Watchtowers, by Joe Boruchow. Boruchow has several murals to his name, but Watchtowers is his first permanent mural and is located on Dickinson Street between 9th and 10th streets. His style leans toward social justice, and his visuals uniquely contrast the use of simple colors with highly detailed imagery.
Electric Street by David Guinn and Drew Billiau is also something to actively seek out. These two artists manage to create an illuminated neon mural on Percy Street between Reed and Wharton. It’s in an alley, and is kind of hidden by the unusual way the block curves. It’s a permanent installation that aims to turn a neglected South Philly block into a major civic landmark. The attraction started as a 30×15 foot wall and continues to grow to soon incorporate an entire block.
The public art near Philadelphia apartments isn’t restricted to just walls though. Check out Andrew Jeffrey Wright’s Stair Mural located at the back entrance of 990 Spring Garden Street. “X-Waves,” as it’s called has actually enhanced safety because of how much pedestrian traffic is attracts to a previously under-used space. The brick building whose stairs are now adorned with colorful art is approximately 100 years old and was vacant for decades before this project began. Now, it’s a social hot spot that even attracts food trucks.
Self-guided tours and public group tours are available at various times in the city. With very little effort you’ll be able to find vehicle, bike, and walking tours. One such weekly tour takes you in and around the Market Street corridor in West Philadelphia to view Love Letter, a series of over 50 rooftop murals and street-level signs. This series has been part of the city since Summer of 2009 and was created by Stephen Powers. A tour guide accompanies you on the El train to discuss the details of Love Letter project and much more.
Public art serves many purposes, and bringing beauty and intrigue to urban areas is just one of them. Art of all kinds inspires and enlightens everyone it touches. Art is a personal expression of feeling, and when it becomes a public fixture, then it stops belonging to the artist and starts taking on a life of it’s own. The public art near Philadelphia apartments is plentiful, and well-worth checking out. Visiting is a treat, but living in it is sublime.
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