As we started traveling around the city, it seemed like everywhere we went, there were walls covered with murals.What better way to see them but by tour! The tour only offers a section of the city per tour, wanna know why?
Well, it is the Mural Capital of the World!! Ok, just playing with you some, but that is why. There are over 3000 indoor and outdoor murals throughout Philly.
(Indoor mural - made completely of Tiffany Glass)The tour they offered the day we could go was the Broad Street tour. It covered, if I have my bearings right, Center City and South Philly. We saw sections I would not have felt very comfortable going to on our own, but what a great way to see more of Philly and get the stories behind the art.
The project began in 1984 as a part of an anti-graffiti initiative. This program approached the graffiti artist and provided an outlet for them to turn their art into something positive rather than the negative aspects of graffiti.
As The Man and I listened, I was amazed how, on many of the streets we traveled, the murals overshadowed the gloom of the neighborhoods. There would be a block after block of slums, and then a wonderful mural depicting a message of hope or success or paying tribute. Old architecture, painted expressions in bright colors and the wear and tear of time.
The cost and time dedicated to the project is amazing. Some murals took years just to get approved. Neighbors have to agree to what will be painted, money raised, volunteers gathered.
I loved the colors in this one:
This one hovers over a spot of land that once held a green space, a community garden I believe. It was bought and turned into a parking lot – gee, that makes a song come to mind! The guide commented on the colors, having us note the grey background, representing the pavement. The cost of this mural was between $18,000-$20,000. The investment being made by this organization to add beauty to the city and also tell its stories is amazing.
Several added layers and extended away from the building it was painted on…
Many of the murals contain the faces of those that lived or worked in the neighborhood.
The young lady in the middle is now a 24 year old college student…