Back in 1984, when Philadelphia was rife with crime and the city was covered in graffiti, Philadelphia's then-mayor, Wilson Goode, decided that it was time to make a change.
So he teamed up with some artists and instituted the Mural Arts Program, a program that encourages aspiring artists to leave their mark on the city.
Since then, the program has grown into a thriving network of muralists, youth, local businesses, and Philadelphia residents all seeking to add more beauty to the City of Brotherly Love. More than 3,000 murals have now been painted all around the city, and many more are in progress.
We've heard some incredible praise for the program, so we decided to go see it in person. We took the self-guided walking tour of Mural Mile in the Center City neighborhood, and thought it was astounding. See for yourself.
Photographs by Melissa Stanger/Business Insider
'A People's Progression Toward Equality'
Location: S. 8th Street & Ranstead Street
Artist: Jared Bader
This mural represents the ascent toward equality, with each level representing a step forward and the top level being the most progressive. Naturally, Abraham Lincoln—a symbol of emancipation—is depicted. Artist Jared Bader worked with the community to create this mural.
'Pride & Progress'
Location: S. Juniper Street & Spruce Street
Artist: Ann Northrup
Located in the heart of the Philadelphia "gayborhood," "Pride & Progress" is the largest gay-themed mural in the world. It captures the progress of the American gay rights movement, which began in Philadelphia in the 1960s. Protesters began gathering outside Independence Hall on July 4, 1966 (depicted in the painted poster on the left), and have been doing so every year since.
'Garden of Delight'
Location: Locust Street & Sartain Streeta
Artist: David Guinn
This mural is a tribute to the garden it stands over. The space was once a dirt lot used to store concrete, but the community worked together to transform it into a luscious flower and vegetable garden. The artist, who played in the garden as a child, captured the space in a peaceful, almost dreamy style.
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