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May 27, 2021

Philly named among the Top 5 Best Cities for Street Art — Here's a look at the city's latest pieces

USA Today ranked Oklahoma City as the top city, followed by Cincinnati and Richmond

Arts & Culture Mural Arts
Philadelphia Street Art Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphia was ranked among the top five cities in the country for street art by USA Today, which the publication attributes to the robust mural scene created by the Mural Arts Philadelphia organization.

In Philadelphia, it's hard to walk around the city without spotting at least one vibrant, colorful mural.

So it's no surprise that Philly was named among the Top 10 Best Cities for Street Art in USA Today's annual rankings, along with places like Houston and Miami.

There are thousands of colorful murals scattered across the city, which were commissioned by Mural Arts Philadelphia, an organization founded originally as an anti-graffiti campaign in 1984 to empower professional artists by showcasing their talents to the city.

Since its founding, there have been more than 3,600 public murals created in Philadelphia, most of which are still visible today.

While there is seemingly an infinite pool of art in the city to find, here are some of the latest murals to be added to the city's collection:

We Did ThatPhoto by Steve Weinik/Mural Arts

“We Did That” by Symone Salib and Letisha Bindu Golafaie can be found at 13th and Arch Street.

"We Did That" 

13th and Arch streets, by Symone Salib and Letisha Bindu Golafaie

This mural was created to commemorate the resilient organizers of Philadelphia that improve the community. It depicts Rasheed Ajamu (Phreedom Jawn), Letisha Golafaie, Samantha Rise Roberson, Nikki Grant, and Nelini Stamp.

"This mural is about showing up for the community. It’s about rallying together, raising funds for mutual aid efforts, hope and, above all, community care," according to Mural Arts.

CrownPhoto by Steve Weinik./Mural Arts

“Crown” by Russel Craig is located in the Thomas Paine Plaza.


Thomas Paine Plaza, by Russel Craig

This mural was unveiled earlier this month as a response to the summer of 2020 protests against police brutality and the ongoing fight to end systemic racism and inequality.

The first phase of "Crown" is a re-envisioned version of "Liberty Leading the People" by Eugène Delacroix, set in Philadelphia. It incorporates modern images of the Black Lives Matter Movement and marches and references the COVID-19 pandemic.

Floating DogwoodPhoto by Steve Weinik./Mural Arts

“Floating Dogwood” by Michele Tremblay and Polly Apfelbaum can be found at 1102 Chestnut Street.

"Floating Dogwood" 

1102 Chestnut St., by Michele Tremblay and Polly Apfelbaum

This mural was inspired by artist Michele Tremblay's experience in the oncology ward fighting cancer.

"Those on the oncology wing are not allowed flowers, so the artists wanted to provide beauty to them in a different way," according to Mural Arts. "The mural includes ladybugs hidden throughout as a way to continually engage those who are in the hospital long-term; they can discover new images in it as they look at it daily."

This Deep DesirePhoto by Steve Weinik./Mural Arts

“This Deep Desire” by Danny Simmons and Gabe Tiberino can be found at 5604 North Marvine Street.

"This Deep Desire" 

5604 North Marvine St., by Danny Simmons and Gabe Tiberino.

This mural, created from the collage "This Deep Desire," is about longing for an attachment to a lost or hidden history that one can be rooted in, Mural Arts said.

"While this type of desire can be found in all peoples around the world in this moment the emphasis of African Americans connecting to Africa as a motherland particularly in this moment of Black Lives Matter in the here and now but that these lives mattered even when they were involuntarily separated from their people their histories and their countries all over the continent of Africa," the artists stated on Mural Arts' website.

To find more art around the city, Mural Arts has a tool on its site to find artwork near you.

Residents and visitors can take a mural scavenger hunt through the Northern Liberties neighborhood in Philadelphia, as well. The contest starts Friday and runs through July 5.

There's also Mural Mile, which takes pedestrians on a guided walking tour of the city through a podcast.

To name the nominees for top cities for street art, a panel of art experts teamed up with the 10Best editors. From those, the top 10 winners were ranked by popular vote.

USA Today's Top 10 Best Cities for Street Art are:

Oklahoma City - Oklahoma

Cincinnati - Ohio

Richmond - Virginia

Houston - Texas 

Philadelphia - Pennsylvania

Reno - Nevada

Detroit - Michigan

Miami - Florida

Atlanta - Georgia

Baltimore - Maryland

This isn't the first time Philly was named a top spot for street art. The Huffington Post ranked Philadelphia as one of the best cities in the country to spot murals.

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