In the summer of 2008 I earned the honor of becoming an intern for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. The organization  “unites artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives.”

The program is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was started in 1984 as a component of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network driven by Jane Golden, a visionary, an expert in urban transformation through art and a MacArthur Foundation recipient. Known as MAP, Mural Arts Program, over the past 3 decades the program has grown into arguably the nation’s premiere public art program beautifying the walls of Philly. If you are ever in Philadelphia, I recommend you take the mural tour the organization offers and become overwhelmed with how well by the beautiful paintings, graphic designs, realistic paintings, landscapes, abstract art works against the urban, historic and modern landscape of the city. More than just plastering pretty paintings on random walls, MAP uses mural making to facilitate comprehensive development which is community owned. I love that the non-profit and the city recognizes the value of each community, of the city’s youth, of those incarcerated and gives them a sense of worth and value through mural art making. I could go on all day, but you just have to check them out.

Recently they curated The Roots Mural Project and Peace is a Haiku Song, both genius and innovative. These are some murals I love, two of which are by artists I also had the pleasure of interning with.

Betsy Casañas

© 2012 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program/ Betsy Casañas. Photo by: Steve Weinik
© 2012 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program/ Betsy Casañas. Photo by: Steve Weinik

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