This World Called Philadelphia and How the Arts Thrive Within It:You and the World

“I’d like to see Paris before I die. Philadelphia will do.”
-Mae West, actress

This is the city that we live in, the city that many of us were born in and the city that many of us will die in. Philadelphia. On corner after corner there is a fusion of cultures, a melting pot of languages and accents. There are those who are old and those who are young, people all around the city with varying ages and points of view. There are the rich, the impoverished, the spoiled, the rewarded, the honored, the shunned, the beloved, the disgraceful. For nearly 330 years, this city has been thriving, bustling every day with something new for the Inquirer to touch base on.

It’s a gorgeous city; not just because Fairmount Park is the largest urban park in the world (and people think Central Park is something special...), or because we have one of the most beautiful city skylines, or because we have architectural feats such as Liberty Place and the Comcast Center. These are all credible sources of endearment for the Cradle of Liberty, but not the ones I’m thinking of.

For my You and the World Project, I am thinking of the arts in Philadelphia. I am thinking of me in this world we know as Philadelphia, and what a foundational part of my life has to do with it. Philly has the most outdoor murals and statues among all of the American states. Known for it’s public art, our city boasts projects and feats such as the Comcast Center and the ‘Comcast Experience HD Video Wall’ inside the building itself. An architectural wonder, it is one of only four buildings in America taller than 900 feet. Within the building, in what is called the “Winter Garden” (the main lobby), there is an artistic and technological wonder. This is the Comcast Experience HD Video Wall that I mentioned.

This 2,000 square foot wall stretches minds as it is the world’s largest 4 millimeter screen. At 24.5 feet high, it allows for everyone that walks into the Comcast Center to see the displays of anything from smiling businessmen and women, to a picture of a nebula, to pirouetting ballerinas. Look here for more about the Comcast Experience:

and learn more about the Comcast Center itself here:

(above) visitors watching in awe the Christmas Spectacular on the video wall in the Comcast Center.

The Comcast Center is obviously not the only spectacle our city has to be proud of; it’s known across the country that Philly is a city of art and culture. The beauty we have to offer is always moving, being rejuvenated, refreshed, and resurfaced. Bustling and busy are we. However high this city holds it's halo, though, it still has flaws. And the arts are bringing the beauty back. Especially with the Mural Arts Program. Started in 1984, Jane Golden, muralist and painter, made friends with graffiti artists around the city. Impressed by their ability to create, she recruited them to make murals across the city, covering up the ruinous work done by vandals, and creating beautiful, sky-high masterpieces that spoke volumes about Philly’s history and culture. Because over 3,000 murals have been born from the Program, our city has been give another nickname, “The City of Murals”, around the world. You can view many of these murals and the one below (N. 17th Street, done in 2004) in this slideshow on



Yet, it’s not just beauty that the Mural Arts Program roots for. About 1,500 youths in neighborhoods around the city have benefitted from the Program. They cater to at-risk youths, especially. Kids who wouldn’t have exposure to the arts on such a grand scale are given the opportunity to paint and, in the end, create a masterpiece for the entire neighborhood, city, country, and even world to see.

Educational programs use an intensive curriculum that involves mural-making as a dynamic means to engage youth and to teach transferable life and job skills such as taking personal responsibility, teamwork, and creative problem-solving,” says a bit I retrieved from the information page on the Mural Arts Program’s web site. Explore more of the Mural Arts here:

Philadelphia is a city with a past, but also a city with a future. The arts, as they thrive in our metropolis, are certainly a driving factor in this future that we possess. In my next update, I will hopefully have contacted and spoken to some of the directors of the Mural Arts Program. Please stay tuned for my next update on my project.

Click the following link for my bibliography:
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(above) a screenshot of an interactive part of the Mural Arts Program website and below is a video from the mural arts program that shows just a little bit of what they do in-depth as they work on a piece called "The Roots"

Comments (1)

Stephanie Dyson (Student 2016)
Stephanie Dyson

Sorry the video is blocked if you're on a specific network. It works just fine at home or on a different wi-fi connection. Please watch it to see what the MAP (Mural Arts Program) is all about as they work/worked on a project (that is actually done now. It's a beautiful piece)! Thanks! -Steph