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Discover Philadelphia - Spotlight on Street Art

4th June 2020 - 4:00pm

The Phillies Mural by David McShane

The Phillies Mural by David McShane

#Traveltradetogether #discoverphl #wewillbeback

Philadelphia held the first ITAA travel agents conference outside Europe and Travelbiz can't wait to revisit this amazing destination and sample more of its everlasting charm.  Once you are able to travel again, Philadelphia is ready to welcome you in this walkable city with over 10,000 acres of urban parks to explore, renowned arts and culture including the world’s largest outdoor art gallery with more than 4,000 public sculptures and murals, two riverfronts, fabulous food and iconic, unmatched historical attractions in the first World Heritage City in the US. Discover Philadelphia’s everlasting charm.


Philadelphia’s Street Art - Philadelphia has been called the world’s largest outdoor art gallery due to its robust city arts programs including Mural Arts Philadelphia, Association for Public Art, and a 60+ year old local law requiring developers to use 1% of a project to commission a new public work. Philadelphia’s unofficial public arts scene is similarly rich.


Mosaic Art - Isaiah Zagar has been creating mosaics in Philadelphia since the 1960s. The epicenter of his art today is what he calls his “labyrinthine mosaic museum,” Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, spanning 3 city blocks at 1020 South Street. Begun as a way to revitalize his neighborhood with public art installations, his and similar works can now be found on hundreds of surfaces in the city. Zagar’s work usually includes cut mirror, tiles and “found objects” including dishes, bicycle wheels and bottles. The mirror often outlines painted images, usually people or words. The mosaic pieces are held in place by a rainbow of brightly colored grout. He is also known for putting self-portraits in his work.


Toynbee Tiles - These linoleum sidewalk plaques with oft-cryptic messages are in about two dozen U.S. cities, but first noticed in Philadelphia in the 1980s. There is also a tile in Santiago, Chile, that gives an address in South Philadelphia though the original creator remains unknown. They are named for historian Arnold Toynbee as one of the earliest tiles reads, “TOYNBEE IDEA IN Kubrick’s 2001 RESURRECT DEAD ON PLANET JUPITER.” Toynbee, who died in 1975, wrote “A Study of History” that included the idea of regeneration. In author Arthur C. Clarke’s short story “Jupiter Five,” the spaceship is named the “Arnold Toynbee.” “Kubrick’s 2001” is a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001,” which features a man reborn on a mission to Jupiter. It seems the original creator stopped creating new tiles in 2003, but similar tiles by different artists have appeared. Photographer Steve Weinik’s website maps the original tiles.


Yarn/Textile Art - Yarn bombing or storming or graffiti knitting is textile art that is put on display in a public place, to send a political message or to simply entertain with whimsical subjects. Residents noticed trees and sign poles wrapped in knit or crochet around 2005. Today’s works are more elaborate. Popular “bombing” targets include Starr Garden Park, 600 Lombard St., the Callowhill neighborhood (particularly N. 11th St. & Spring Garden St.), and the Reading Viaduct.


Wheatpasting and Sticker Art - is creating posters and affixing them to public spots including mailboxes, trash cans, construction site walls and light poles. While popular, it’s also considered vandalism. Amberella (@amberellaxo) is a nationally recognized wheatpaste artist best known for “power hearts” meant to uplift and inspire. Sticker art is also a phenomenon and Philadelphia has a hand-drawn sticker tradition. Conrad Benner, who documents Philadelphia’s street art culture (website - StreetsDept) hosts an annual show that attracts thousands of submissions from all over the world.


Street art can be found throughout Philadelphia with a concentration in the Northern Liberties, Spring Arts and Fishtown sections. In nearby Port Richmond, Graffiti Pier, a popular artist enclave and Instagram spot shut down in 2018, is set to open again. Pennsylvania has announced a one-million-dollar grant to be used to create a public park on the 6-acre stretch along the Delaware River. See HERE.

Click thumbnail to see a larger image

The Phillies Mural by David McShane
Josh Sarantitis and Eric Okdeh’s mural near Independence Hall
Artist James Burns’ Sanctuary

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