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November 17, 2020

Neon 'Electric Philadelphia' mural lights up I-676 underpass

Artists team up to give bright new look to stretch of 6th Street

Public Art Murals
Neon mural 676 Source/Visit Philadelphia

"Electric Philadelphia" is a new mural located on 6th Street between Race and Wood streets. Artists David Guinn and Drew Billiau gave a neon flare to the I-676 underpass.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been easy to lose track of what's new and what's sadly gone in Philadelphia during the course of 2020.

But there is one thing you can't miss if you're headed to the Schuylkill Expressway from 6th Street.

A long-awaited mural from artists David Guinn and Drew Billiau is finally complete between Race and Wood streets, lighting up the underpass of I-676 in bold, vibrant colors.

The 8,500-square-foot project was supported by Visit Philadelphia and Mural Arts Philadelphia, with an original completion date targeted for last summer. It was held up by delays, and was further pushed back by the pandemic.

“The site presented an amazing opportunity to me to represent the overlap of tremendous history with the energetic forward-looking Philadelphia of today,” Guinn said of the mural when it was first approved. “Neon-like LED lights integrated into the mural will transform the underpass into a beacon attracting visitors from all directions and boldly proclaim the city’s industriousness and creativity, both past and present.”

If the mural seems reminiscent of the "Electric Street" project that went up on Percy Street in South Philly in 2016, it's because Guinn and Billiau were behind that one, too.

The project joins other eye candy to pop up in recent years, including the Spring Garden Connector Project at the SEPTA stop in Northern Liberties. You can also expect a different look one stop south on the El after years of renovations at 5th Street Station

And if you follow I-676 West onto I-76 West, you might spot the colorful "Bad Things Happen in Philadelphia" graffiti that recently popped up along a wall at the merger. 

Between all this and the revamped crown lights atop the PECO building in Center City, Philadelphia's getting a bit brighter.