Jane Golden’s Top 7 Picks for Public Art in Philadelphia

Jane Golden’s Top 7 Picks for Public Art in Philadelphia

WITH COOL FALL weather just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to get out and about to explore your city. And what better way to get to know a city than through its public art? There is astonishing art happening across the world, from Malta to Atlanta to Rio. But I think the scene in Philadelphia is just extraordinary. So, I’d like to share my top picks for a fantastic day of seeing public art in Philadelphia.

Untitled © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Claudia "MadC" Walde. 2601 Girard Ave. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Untitled © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Claudia “MadC” Walde. 2601 Girard Ave. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Over the spring and summer, students in Mural Arts’ Art Education classes studied street art and graffiti around the world. Local favorites and international superstars joined students in the classroom, with some stunning results. This vibrant, joyous mural, courtesy of our students and MadC, is in the Brewerytown neighborhood, just off Girard Avenue.

Industrious Light © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Phillip Adams. 1241 Carpenter Street. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Industrious Light © 2016 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Phillip Adams. 1241 Carpenter Street. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Philip Adams’ gorgeous Industrious Light series has a new addition: 1241 Carpenter Street. Investigating the industrial history of Philadelphia, Adams’ series melds past and present, revealing our forgotten stories and reflecting our roots as the finely etched drawings curl around the corner of the building.

Philadelphia © 2015 Stephen Powers. Old City Tattoo, 44 North 2nd Street. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Philadelphia © 2015 Stephen Powers. Old City Tattoo, 44 North 2nd Street. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Steve Powers gets to the heart of Philadelphia in his bold, graphic murals. He touched up the poignant A Love Letter for You in early 2016, and then added this playful collage of Philadelphia-centric images to a blank wall in Old City.

Common Threads © 1999 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Meg Saligman. Broad and Spring Garden Streets. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Common Threads © 1999 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Meg Saligman. Broad and Spring Garden Streets. Photo by Steve Weinik.

At the corner of Spring Garden and Broad Streets, the vivid blue takes your breath away. Meg Saligman’s Common Threads, as striking as when she first painted it in 1999, has a luminous quality, figures and figurines so bright and nuanced that you are drawn to the image again and again.

Water Under the Bridge © 2015 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Beth Clevenstine and Paul Santoleri. Manayunk Tow Path. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Water Under the Bridge © 2015 Mural Arts Philadelphia / Beth Clevenstine and Paul Santoleri. Manayunk Tow Path. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Cool off by the river with Paul Santoleri and Beth Clevenstine’s Water Under the Bridge, a verdant mosaic-and-mural extension of the river that touches Manayunk’s Fountain Street Steps. The flowing, flora-filled mural enlivens this popular pathway with compelling imagery, paying tribute to the spaces and places we travel each day.

Electric Street © 2016 David Guinn and Drew Billiau. Percy and 9th Streets. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Electric Street © 2016 David Guinn and Drew Billiau. Percy and 9th Streets. Photo by Steve Weinik.

To finish off your day of sightseeing, go to the East Passyunk neighborhood of Philadelphia, just after dusk. In a curving back alley in Philadelphia, artists David Guinn and Drew Billiau flooded this darkened street with light and color. Electric Street electrifies the area, drawing neighbors into conversation and brightening a shadowy street corner.

Swanson Walk, September 2016. Pictured: Steve Powers and his assistant. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Swanson Walk, September 2016. Pictured: Steve Powers and his assistant. Photo by Steve Weinik.

And no mention of my favorites list would be complete without a special hint of what’s about to come to Snyder Plaza… If you’re in Philly, come by the plaza on September 30 for the Mural Arts Month Kickoff Party (hosted with The Goldenberg Group), and you’ll be among the first to see four phenomenal new murals by megawatt artists Isaac Lin, Steve Powers, Peter Ferrari, and Joe Boruchow.

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