Murals of Philidelphia.

19 Jan

Every so often I develop an almost irrational hatred for some form of public art. A few weeks ago it was kinetic sculptures, and this week it is murals. I can only assume my distrust of murals stems from the view from my desk at work:

Sorry, Amber. I’m sure you’re a nice girl, but I can’t think of anything more irrelevant to my everyday existence than New Zealand’s quaint-to-the-point-of-naive position on its nuclear policy. In fact, the picture you drew of yourself with four massive arms and no legs only makes me think you might not have all the information needed to call yourself an authority on the issue.

I was sure that there must be some form of public mural I could relate to. Something that would redeem the medium, at least in my mind. Somewhere in the world there had to be at least one mural that spoke to me on a personal level, that could remind me of how wonderful life might be sometime in the future, or how rewarding it will be when this silly limbo of youth is done with, how we can draw pleasure and meaning from even the most insignificant moments in life, or how nice it will feel to one day be in love again. Those are the things that resonate with me, and I like to think, with most people.

That’s when I stumbled upon the motherload:

This is a love letter project run by the Mural Arts Program for the City of Philidelphia. Public and private donations are channelled to a collective of artists who create enormous murals in places you’d probably expect to see a billboard claiming that Coca-Cola is the beverage equivalent of a nice sunny day. Shut up, Coca-Cola.

You can imagine the cumulative effect of discovering dozens of love letters around the city. It’s also reassuring to know these (admittedly very twee) romantic sentiments can live outside of those heart-tugging little pictures you download from Not only has this wonderful project restored my faith in murals, it’s given me the impetus to pursue a public art project I’ve had in mind for some time now. Nice work, City of Philidelphia. This is one of the most refreshing things I’ve seen in a public space in ages.


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