Mural Arts Program

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The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is an anti-graffiti mural program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1986 and directed by Jane Golden as a division of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network. Its roots began in a 1984 meeting between Tim Spencer and Golden. Golden asked to run a program within the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network. Spencer envisioned a program that would entice kids towards other arts and crafts, but Golden envisioned what is now the current Mural Arts Program.[1]


In 1984, Golden met with Tim Spencer, who was head of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, in hopes of creating a program under the umbrella project. Spencer had originally envisioned a program that would rehabilitate graffiti artists and into other arts and crafts. Golden's vision won out and the Mural Arts Program was created. The Mural Arts Program works with community groups to educate and involve children in arts and in creation of murals throughout the city.[2]

In 1986, the Mural Arts Project, headed by artist Jane Golden,[1][2] was founded as a division of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network.[3][4] In 1991, Philadelphia was awarded the Innovations in American Government Award due to the success of the Mural Arts Project and Mural Arts Program in surrounding communities.[4][5][6] In 1996, the Mural Arts Project was split off into a separate program and placed under the umbrella of the Philadelphia Recreation Department.[3][4]

In 1996, the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network was merged into the Philadelphia Recreation Department and the Mural Arts Program was elevated as an independent entity.[3][4] The Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates was founded as a nonprofit corporation to raise funds for the Mural Arts Program.[7] Tim Spencer, who founded of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, died that same year.


The Mural Arts Program is responsible for the largest mural painted in Philadelphia at 600 feet (180 m) in length. Titled History of Immigration, the mural displays settlers of different ethnicities who have settled in Philadelphia over time. The average mural painted by the program is approximately the height of a three-story row house and 35 feet (11 m) wide. The average cost of each mural is $10,000–$15,000, which includes artist commission and supplies.[8]

The program is currently one of Philadelphia's largest employers of artists, employing over 300 artists a year. The Mural Arts Program also hires prosecuted graffiti vandals at a rate of over 100 per year and involves them with the creation of murals around Philadelphia. Currently[when?], the program employs 36 former graffiti artists as staff members on permanent payroll and serves more than 300 children a year with arts programs.[3] During the 2001–2004 Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, the Mural Arts Program had painted over 600 murals around Philadelphia.[9] In February 2006, the city of Watertown, New York asked Jane Golden to speak in hopes of creating a similar program in their community.[10]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Philadelphia Weekly Online: Hit the Wall". Philadelphia Weekly Online. October 18, 2006. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Jane Golden, Robin Rice, Natalie Pompilio: More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell". Temple University. Retrieved November 14, 2006. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Mural Arts Program: About Us". Mural Arts Program. Retrieved November 14, 2006. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Philadelphia Department of Recreation: Cultural Programs: Mural Arts". Philadelphia Department of Recreation. Retrieved November 14, 2006. [dead link]
  5. "Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network (PAGN)". United States Department of Agriculture: National Agriculture Library. Archived from the original on August 27, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006. 
  6. "Government Innovators Network: Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network". John F. Kennedy School of Government. Retrieved November 14, 2006. 
  7. "Mural Arts Program: About Us: Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates". Mural Arts Program. Archived from the original on October 14, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2006. 
  8. "Philadelphia in color". Temple News. October 10, 2004. 
  9. "Philadelphia Neighborhood Transformation Initiative 2004 Report" (PDF). City of Philadelphia. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2006. Retrieved November 15, 2006. 
  10. "Press Release". Watertown Downtown Development. Retrieved November 14, 2006. [dead link]

External links

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