The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is launching two new trolley tours that will visit some of the city's nearly 4,000 murals this spring and summer.
On Wednesday, Mural Arts announced two new tours - Journey South, a tour of murals in South Philadelphia, and Looking East, featuring new pieces near Spring Garden.
To start off this year's tour season, Mural Arts is hosting Mural Arts on Wheels on Saturday, featuring a bike tour led by Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Connor Barwin and organized in partnership with Indego Bike Share. There will also be walking and trolley tours and other free activities near the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
"Art has a profound impact on people's lives," said Jane Golden, executive director of the program. "We feel absolutely privileged and honored to be doing this extraordinary work in an extraordinary city like Philadelphia."
Twelve thousand residents and visitors take Mural Arts tours annually, and the program employs more than 200 artists and teaching artists a year while maintaining the largest outdoor mural gallery in the world, Golden said.
This year, the program will also restore the flag mural on Columbus Boulevard erected in memory of the events of 9/11, and it will hold a Paint Day, at which people will be invited to help create a new mural at Malcolm X Park on May 21.
Mural Arts is known for its restorative justice program, which gives prisoners and parolees the chance to create their own murals and other art projects. Mural Arts is also running an art program with inpatients at Kirkbride Center once a week that will culminate in a large-scale mural at 56th and Chestnut Streets.
"There are people there who have struggled for years and years and who feel there is no light," Golden said. "And yet through their creativity that is now being recognized . . . there was just tremendous beauty."