Over the years, Philadelphia has acquired a number of affectionate nicknames—Philly, the City of Brotherly Love, and the Birthplace of America, to name a few. But in recent years, the city has earned itself a new moniker: the City of Murals. With over 3,500 pieces of art adorning walls and buildings around Philadelphia, these murals provide a unique showcase of the area’s rich culture and history.
For the past 35 years, Mural Arts Philadelphia—the nation’s largest public art program—has taken charge of connecting the Philly community to these works of art. Aside from commissioning between 50 and 100 projects every year and maintaining existing pieces, Mural Arts puts on a variety of tours meant to engage the public with the city’s outdoor art gallery.
Throughout February, Mural Arts is offering two public tours on a weekly basis, both of which help patrons celebrate significant events this month.
The first is the African American Iconic Murals Trolley Tour. Offered in honor of Black History Month, this route explores murals around the city that were inspired by the ideas of freedom, civil rights, and racial equality. Experienced tour guides will discuss the background of each mural while highlighting how each piece of art ignited change in its community.
The second is the Love Letter Train Tour, an experience that—as its name suggests—is a perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Visitors will ride along Philadelphia’s Market–Frankford elevated train line and be taken through A Love Letter for You, a series of 50 murals created by street artist Steve ESPO Powers in collaboration with the West Philadelphia community. Each work is an open–ended love letter written in homage to various people, places, and things.
Tickets for the African American Iconic Murals Trolley Tour and the Love Letter Train Tour are available online for $28 and $23 respectively.