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The B Street Bridge in Philadelphia which has a mural painted on it depicting a connection between cultures and the past and present. Photo by Melissa Romero

13 powerful new murals to check out in Philly right now

From a haunting portrayal of lost time in prison, to a mural on identifying culture through clothing

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Editor’s note: This article was last published in July, 2018, and has been updated with the most recent information.

Since we last published this map of must-see murals more amazing pieces have popped up in Philly—many of which have addressed topical, difficult issues. This time around we examined not only the newest murals, but also the ones that have the most powerful impact on their viewers.

A lot of the murals are part of the city’s Mural Arts program, which is the largest public arts program in the country, but there are a few extraordinary pieces by independent local artists and other art initiatives worth a visit, too.

Regardless of the program, they all tell a story and should be must-visits for your winter bucket list—some of them won’t be around after this season, so start exploring! They’re listed here from North to South.

Know of another new mural you want to share? Leave a comment or email us a tip!

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1. “Transformations”

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E Gurney St
Philadelphia, PA

In Kensington, artist Calo Rosa has also brought more color to the B Street Bridge, which is situated above the Conrail train tracks. The mural, titled “Transformations,” serves to highlight the metaphorical and literal connection in the community between cultures, as well as the past and present. The bridge is located at between Gurney and Tusculum Streets in Kensington.

The B Street Bridge in Philadelphia which has a mural painted on it depicting a connection between cultures and the past and present. Photo by Melissa Romero

2. Families Belong Together

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2536 N Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19133

One of the most chilling and topical murals of the past few years, has to be this one, called “Families Belong Together” that was finished in mid-July. Chilean artist Ian Pierce created this mural in response to “harsh immigration laws,” according to the Philly mural arts page, and to pay homage to Philly’s newly cemented status as a sanctuary city.

3. Waterloo Playground

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2502-12 N Howard St
Philadelphia, PA 19133
(215) 685-9891
Visit Website

This isn’t a mural in the traditional sense; rather than painted on the side of a building or parking lot, it’s laid across the basketball courts at Waterloo Playground. It’s just one part of a larger effort to beautify the once-run down West Kensington playground and bring it back to life. The design took inspiration from members of the surrounding community, and was completed late last summer

4. Dreams, Diaspora, Destiny

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5300 Lansdowne Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19131

This project, which wrapped up in late 2018, brought something entirely new to the world of mural arts in Philly—augmented reality. Download the free MuralArtsAR app and listen to an original score that’s paired with this West Philly mural, which is meant to start a conversation about the future of the neighborhood.

5. Still Life

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2828 W Thompson St
Philadelphia, PA 19121

Like “Portraits of Justice” (#10), this Brewerytown mural deals with issues in the criminal justice system, except this mural takes a more metaphorical (and hauntingly beautiful) look at the system with a traditional still life painting. It’s meant to reflect the freezing of time that comes with incarceration.

“Still Life invites viewers to slow down and contemplate temporality, incarceration, and freedom, while challenging mainstream ideas about who gets to make and experience fine art,” Mural Arts writes.

6. Ed Bradley

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949 Belmont Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19104

60 Minutes correspondant Ed Bradley was a Philly native, and the first black television correspondant to cover the White House, so it’s no surprise his home neighborhood of West Philly wants to honor him. Sadly, Bradley died in 2006, but his stunning journalism legacy—marked by awards and international reporting—made him a clear candidate for a hometown mural.

7. Rippling Moon

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1080 N Delaware Ave #600
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 496-0707
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Mural Arts contributor Meg Saligman (of the “Bird Feed” fame) painted this mural on the side of the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, representing both trauma and resilience.

8. Legacy

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125 S 52nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19139
(215) 685-7433
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With this mural, which looks like a tapestry, artists ask, “how do we create our own cultural identities?” Students in the Artrepreneurs program examined uniforms and textiles, “through the lens of global inclusivity and the stories of African immigrants in the West Philadelphia community,” with a project that culminated in this stunning and detailed piece, according to Mural Arts

9. Water Gives Life

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A beautiful and vibrant painting in the heart of the city, this mural examines the connection between plants, wildlife, and water. It’s meant to open up discussions about sustainability in the midst of an urban landscape.

10. Portraits of Justice

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1401 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 686-8686
Visit Website

There are several murals around the city dealing with the criminal justice system, but this one really made a splash when it premiered during Mural Arts Month in November. It’s part of a larger initiative that looks at ways to combat prison overpopulation and reform the criminal justice system.

“The initiative engages the public in reimagining the criminal justice system through the lens of art, advocacy and policy reform,” Mural Arts wrote. Read more about the program here.

11. Octavius Catto

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1427 Catharine St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

Octavius Catto is an incredibly important historic figure in Philly. In the mid-to-late 1800s, he pushed for voting rights for black citizens, he worked closely with Frederick Douglass, and fought (and won) to desegregate Philly’s public trolleys. He was assassinated in 1871 at just 32 years old, but has since become one of the most prominent figures in the history of Civil Rights in Philly. This mural, which follows a memorial statue erected at City Hall in 2017, went up in Catto’s old South Philly neighborhood in late 2017.

12. ‘Migrating Home’

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1000 Dickinson St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

‘Migrating Home’ by artist Shira Walinsky adorns a rowhome at 10th and Dickinson and is an homage to the many cultures and communities that call South Philly home. One look at the mural shows the many nods to various to the countries from which residents have migrated.

13. Philly Special

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1831 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

To anyone outside of Philly this may not seem “powerful” (or even make much sense) but to Eagles fans, it means a lot. It’s a recreation of the play that won the underdog team their first Super Bowl, and it’s a reminder of the grit, hope, and Philly pride that came with the final game. Plus, as a city, we love our Eagles murals.

1. “Transformations”

E Gurney St, Philadelphia, PA
The B Street Bridge in Philadelphia which has a mural painted on it depicting a connection between cultures and the past and present. Photo by Melissa Romero

In Kensington, artist Calo Rosa has also brought more color to the B Street Bridge, which is situated above the Conrail train tracks. The mural, titled “Transformations,” serves to highlight the metaphorical and literal connection in the community between cultures, as well as the past and present. The bridge is located at between Gurney and Tusculum Streets in Kensington.

E Gurney St
Philadelphia, PA

2. Families Belong Together

2536 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19133

One of the most chilling and topical murals of the past few years, has to be this one, called “Families Belong Together” that was finished in mid-July. Chilean artist Ian Pierce created this mural in response to “harsh immigration laws,” according to the Philly mural arts page, and to pay homage to Philly’s newly cemented status as a sanctuary city.

2536 N Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19133

3. Waterloo Playground

2502-12 N Howard St, Philadelphia, PA 19133

This isn’t a mural in the traditional sense; rather than painted on the side of a building or parking lot, it’s laid across the basketball courts at Waterloo Playground. It’s just one part of a larger effort to beautify the once-run down West Kensington playground and bring it back to life. The design took inspiration from members of the surrounding community, and was completed late last summer

2502-12 N Howard St
Philadelphia, PA 19133

4. Dreams, Diaspora, Destiny

5300 Lansdowne Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19131

This project, which wrapped up in late 2018, brought something entirely new to the world of mural arts in Philly—augmented reality. Download the free MuralArtsAR app and listen to an original score that’s paired with this West Philly mural, which is meant to start a conversation about the future of the neighborhood.

5300 Lansdowne Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19131

5. Still Life

2828 W Thompson St, Philadelphia, PA 19121

Like “Portraits of Justice” (#10), this Brewerytown mural deals with issues in the criminal justice system, except this mural takes a more metaphorical (and hauntingly beautiful) look at the system with a traditional still life painting. It’s meant to reflect the freezing of time that comes with incarceration.

“Still Life invites viewers to slow down and contemplate temporality, incarceration, and freedom, while challenging mainstream ideas about who gets to make and experience fine art,” Mural Arts writes.

2828 W Thompson St
Philadelphia, PA 19121

6. Ed Bradley

949 Belmont Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

60 Minutes correspondant Ed Bradley was a Philly native, and the first black television correspondant to cover the White House, so it’s no surprise his home neighborhood of West Philly wants to honor him. Sadly, Bradley died in 2006, but his stunning journalism legacy—marked by awards and international reporting—made him a clear candidate for a hometown mural.

949 Belmont Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19104

7. Rippling Moon

1080 N Delaware Ave #600, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Mural Arts contributor Meg Saligman (of the “Bird Feed” fame) painted this mural on the side of the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, representing both trauma and resilience.

1080 N Delaware Ave #600
Philadelphia, PA 19125

8. Legacy

125 S 52nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19139

With this mural, which looks like a tapestry, artists ask, “how do we create our own cultural identities?” Students in the Artrepreneurs program examined uniforms and textiles, “through the lens of global inclusivity and the stories of African immigrants in the West Philadelphia community,” with a project that culminated in this stunning and detailed piece, according to Mural Arts

125 S 52nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19139

9. Water Gives Life

Philadelphia, PA 19107

A beautiful and vibrant painting in the heart of the city, this mural examines the connection between plants, wildlife, and water. It’s meant to open up discussions about sustainability in the midst of an urban landscape.

10. Portraits of Justice

1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102

There are several murals around the city dealing with the criminal justice system, but this one really made a splash when it premiered during Mural Arts Month in November. It’s part of a larger initiative that looks at ways to combat prison overpopulation and reform the criminal justice system.

“The initiative engages the public in reimagining the criminal justice system through the lens of art, advocacy and policy reform,” Mural Arts wrote. Read more about the program here.

1401 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19102

11. Octavius Catto

1427 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19146

Octavius Catto is an incredibly important historic figure in Philly. In the mid-to-late 1800s, he pushed for voting rights for black citizens, he worked closely with Frederick Douglass, and fought (and won) to desegregate Philly’s public trolleys. He was assassinated in 1871 at just 32 years old, but has since become one of the most prominent figures in the history of Civil Rights in Philly. This mural, which follows a memorial statue erected at City Hall in 2017, went up in Catto’s old South Philly neighborhood in late 2017.

1427 Catharine St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

12. ‘Migrating Home’

1000 Dickinson St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

‘Migrating Home’ by artist Shira Walinsky adorns a rowhome at 10th and Dickinson and is an homage to the many cultures and communities that call South Philly home. One look at the mural shows the many nods to various to the countries from which residents have migrated.

1000 Dickinson St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

13. Philly Special

1831 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19148

To anyone outside of Philly this may not seem “powerful” (or even make much sense) but to Eagles fans, it means a lot. It’s a recreation of the play that won the underdog team their first Super Bowl, and it’s a reminder of the grit, hope, and Philly pride that came with the final game. Plus, as a city, we love our Eagles murals.

1831 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19148