Philadelphia - January 6, 2014
Philadelphia is a hard core, blue collar city well-known for its working-class heroes like Rocky Balboa and the legends of the NFL’s Eagles. However, in recent years, the city has also become a destination for art enthusiasts. These days, Pennsylvania’s metropolis is chock full of public art exhibits created under the Mural Arts Program, set in motion by the city’s government back in 1984. In 30 years, over 3 800 murals have been erected. The project first started as a way to combat graffiti and channel young people’s energy and inspiration toward the public good, and continues to be a vehicle to promote urban harmony and creativity. Notably, Jared Bader’s larger-than-life tribute to Abraham Lincoln, showcasing the American president’s quest to abolish slavery in the U.S, became a fixture in the city’s landscape back in 2007.
While Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, it’s fair to say that the urban concrete jungle is not always the friendliest or warmest of environments. Near the Liberty Bell Center, however, we found an artificial urban oasis by the name of Tree Walk. Street artists managed to turn a block’s worth of concrete walls into an outdoor arboretum which thrives year-long, even with the harsh winter weather afflicting most of the United States currently. Not only can visitors admire artist Paul Santoleri’s work for its visual beauty, but they can also learn a great deal about the vegetation depicted in the gallery, since each type of plant is identified by name for future reference.