Taking a causal walk or elevated train ride in Philadelphia, it’s almost impossible not to notice the more than 3000 murals displayed on walls all over the city adding a beautiful and thought provoking array of color to this blue collar metropolis. Philadelphia has always been a colorful city when it came to art (or vandalism; depending on what inclination your art taste climbed from) on walls. As it was in New York, Chicago, and other big cities the wall art was know as graffiti. Though the lower form of graffiti called tagging (where someone would spray paint their name on a wall or mailbox or whatever) was nothing more than vandalism destroying people properties, the more artistic and ambitious graffiti artist would make their form of pop art on wall, in subways, on trains, and other public venues to the dislike of residents, property owners, and the city law makers. Whatever way one views graffiti it is an art form. That could be the reason why the city begun The Mural Arts Program in 1984 as a wing of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network. The Anti-Graffiti Network led by than Mayor Wilson Goode hired muralist Jane Golden to connect with graffiti artists. The idea was a success, causing Mayor Ed Rendell in 1996 to reorganize the Anti-Graffiti network into The Mural Arts Program and making Jane Golden it’s director.
Now you can tour the city and admire the wall art. The Mural Arts Program (known also as M.A.P) has been so successful with their beautifying campaign the city of brotherly love is now not only known for our sports teams, rude fans, pretzels, or cheese steaks anymore. Now donning the new moniker ‘City Of Murals’ with the help of Jane Golden, ex graffiti artists, and other traditional artists Philadelphia has aspired other cities to follow it’s paint brush.
By Christopher Reel