Mural Arts celebrates Mural Month, 30th Anniversary

This October marks the beginning of a double feature for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. On Oct. 1 Mural Arts will kick off both its annual Mural Arts Month and the beginning of a year long celebration in honor of the Mural Arts Program’s 30th anniversary. 

This year Mural Arts Month is largely based around foodie events and mural dedications (and re-dedications). Here is a preview of what’s in store: 

Open house

This past summer, Public Workshop worked with students of Mural Arts’ Artrepeneurs Program to “hack their classroom” at the Asian Arts Initiative. The students, ages 14-18, imagined a new future for the studio. On Oct. 17, Mural Arts invites guests to the Open House: Hack This Classroom, where they can visit the new space and explore the youth-designed public art, workshops and performances. 

Murals and meals

Mural Arts celebrates its 30th anniversary beginning Oct. 1
Mural Arts celebrates its 30th anniversary beginning Oct. 1

One of the Mural Arts @ 30 signature events, 70 x 7 The Meal, act XXXIV, will invite 900 guests to Independence National Historical Park for a meal around one large, communal table. The collaboration between Mural Arts and artists Lucy + Jorge Orta will engage guests in conversation about the issues of heirloom foods and their role in creating a healthier food system. The Meal will feature a simple menu of heirloom produce created by Chef Marc Vetri. The event is invite-only and scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5. 

A second foodie event, Experiential Tour: Southeast by Southeast, will be held on Oct. 12 in South Philadelphia, where Mural Arts will celebrate the area’s diverse and creative immigrant populations. Guests will screen print tee-shirts with traditional Burmese, Bhutanese and Nepali patterns, sample Nepali cuisine, watch a traditional Karen weaving demonstration and shop for handmade crafts. A guided walking tour will lead attendees past some of the neighborhood’s most prized public art pieces. 

What could be better than pizza and ice cream? Pizza, signature Mural Arts @ 30 ice cream and public art. On Oct. 26, Mural Arts will host its third foodie event, the Murals & Meals Tour. Hosted by Philebrity’s Joey Sweeney, the tour will begin and end at Pizza Brain, where for participants will get a slice of artisan pizza, a fountain drink and the first taste of Mural Arts’ signature 30th Anniversary ice cream flavor – currently being crafted by the team at Little Baby’s Ice Cream. Tickets are $35 per person and may be reserved by calling 215.925.3633 ext. 13 or emailing

Mural dedications

On Friday, Oct. 11 Mural Arts will dedicate Black Holesa series that explores how ideas of “outer space and mind space” can intertwine. The evening of art, music and light fare will take place at the University City Science Center. 

In South Philly, the Fleisher Art Memorial recently received a western facade face lift thanks to artist David Guinn’s Autumn Revisited mural. The bright mural that stands next to Palumbo Park will be dedicated at a family-friendly event on Oct. 19

Now that Mural Arts is 30-years-old, restoration is a necessary element of the program. Fourteen years after Philadelphia Muses was painted on a bare stucco wall overlooking a public parking lot, muralist Meg Saligman had the opportunity to revisit and restore the piece. The newly restored mural will be rededicated on Oct. 21

Later, on Nov. 2, mural arts will celebrate the restoration of the 1987 We the Youth mural, the only Keith Haring Foundation mural remaining intact on its original site. This celebration hopes to draw the community together for festivities including live music and food. In collaboration with this mural restoration project, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is renovating the adjacent garden space as well.

Mural Arts @ 30

What’s in store for the rest of the yearlong 30th-anniversary celebration? In November, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts will launch Beyond the Paint: Philadelphia’s Mural Arts at 30, a reflection on the program’s work over three decades and the impact it has had on the city. Other anniversary highlights will include the release of the Mural Arts Program’s book, Mural Arts at 30 as well as a regional convening about Art and Restorative Justice, a gateway rail project with Berlin-based Katharina Grosse and a Street Art Festival in October 2014. 

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