January 31, 2023
As part of its Black History Month celebrations, Mural Arts Philadelphia will host two trolley tours of murals depicting iconic Black figures, civic leaders and social justice issues.
The Civic Heroes Trolley Tours will run from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 5 and Feb. 25. There, a professional tour guide will take participants on a 90-minute journey through Philly neighborhoods to showcase some of the most impactful public art in the city.
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Tours will begin and end at 128 N. Broad St., near PAFA's Lenfest Plaza Paint Torch Sculpture. There will be no bathroom breaks during the tour, so guests should plan accordingly.
As guests stare out the window, they will hear the stories behind each mural on the tour, as well as each muralist and details about the art-making process.
One of the first stops is "Cecil B. Moore Freedom Fighters," located at the intersection of N. 22nd Street and N. College Avenue near Girard College in North Philadelphia. The mural celebrates the efforts to desegregate Girard College in the 1960s, following a series of demonstrations under Moore's leadership. It was dedicated in November 2021.
In past years, the trolley tours have also visited "Staircases and Mountaintops: Ascending Beyond The Dream," at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center in North Philadelphia. The mural, based on a photograph by William Lovelace, depicts King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, leading a voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
Another past stop is "Remembering A Forgotten Hero," located at the Universal Charter School in South Philadelphia. This mural, dedicated in 2018, is the first mural to honor the life and legacy of Octavius V. Catto, an early civil rights activist, educator and athlete who was assassinated on South Street in 1871 after pushing for Black voting rights.
In previous tours, the trolleys have also headed to West Philadelphia to view Mural Arts' 3000th mural, "Tuskegee Airmen: They Met The Challenge." The mural was dedicated at 39 S. 39th St. in 2008, and pays homage to the Tuskegee Airmen and their message of perseverance in the face of racism and unfair treatment in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Tickets are $28 for children aged 12 and younger, or $38 for adults. All tickets must be purchased in advance of the tour, though there is no need to print a confirmation. All paid participants will be added to a will call list and can simply walk up to confirm their ticket purchase before boarding the trolley.
For more information about the Black History Month tour and other tours planned for the next few months, check out Mural Arts Philadelphia's website and Instagram.
Feb. 5 and Feb. 25, 2023
10 to 11:30 a.m. | $28 kids, $38 adults
Departs from Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
128 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19102