In June, 1984, Jane Golden, a young muralist from Margate, New Jersey, headed up a project that was originally planned as a six-week youth program in the fledgling Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network. This small exercise in fighting graffiti grew into the most vibrant public art project in the United States. Lead by Golden and dozens of artists, neighborhood residents, and volunteers, the Philadelphia Murals Art Program has adorned the city with over two thousand murals. In the process, this vibrant art, painted mostly on city walls, helped to change the look of the city, creating an enduring legacy in all of the neighborhoods in which the murals were added.
In this lushly illustrated chronicle of the Mural Arts Program, readers are now able to see the murals in all of their beauty, and how the work of the program leaves its mark on neighborhoods. We read of the often complicated negotiations required to make murals, in neighborhoods where such work is the product not only of doing the work of painting, but also of bringing neighbors together to agree on the art and put larger, historical disagreements aside. And we see, through pictures and text, how, in a city in which people define their communities by streets and intersections, murals have helped bind people together through a common vision of public art.
Author Biography: Jane Golden is executive director of the Philadelphia department of recreation's Mural Arts Program.
Robin Rice is an independent artist and writer in Philadelphia.
Monica Yant Kinney is the "Metro" columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer.