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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.